Japan’s latest sweets trend finally reaches Mr. Sato’s neighborhood!

There’s been a new trend in Japan that’s been quietly gaining popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s late-night ice cream stores. Sure, ice cream at any time of the day is great, but there’s something almost naughty about going out to get ice cream when the sun has set.

Mr. Sato has been longing to get his mitts on some late-night ice cream for a while now. There were a bunch of late-night ice cream stores that had opened up elsewhere in Tokyo, but unfortunately the trend had taken some time to reach his neighborhood of Koenji.

Koenji is an area of Tokyo that’s known for its good food, and has plenty of bars and izakaya to keep you fed and watered. But there was simply nowhere to get a late-night post-bar ice cream — even the local Baskin-Robbins had closed down.

So Mr. Sato was delighted to see that a store called Yolu Ice had opened up in the area, just in time for the summer.

This ice cream shop offers a total of 13 different flavors on their menu, which come in beautifully presented cups adorned with chocolate, fruit, Mont Blanc, and other exquisite toppings.

The prices range from 680 to 730 yen (US$4.80 to 5.15), which is a bit high compared to ice cream you get from Lawson or 7-Eleven, but considering their late-night hours of operation, it seems reasonable.

For our resident chocolate lover, it wasn’t hard to choose which flavor to go with, and Mr. Sato decided to go with the homemade ganache chocolate ice cream (720 yen). But he was a little disappointed when he got it…

Not because of the taste — the chocolate-y flavor was rich, and the ice cream itself was light and delicious.

No, the disappointment came from how it looked. It was very dark and not particularly photogenic. “I should have gone with mango or something more colorful,” Mr. Sato thought to himself.

Mr. Sato felt a further twinge of regret when the staff pointed out a perfect photo spot in the store: an illustration of a girl, reaching out saying “ice cream please!” so that customers could offer her their own ice cream in their snapshot.

Unfortunately, Mr. Sato had already polished off his ice cream, but the staff kindly offered him a stand-in strawberry ice cream for the occasion.

So Mr. Sato’s dream of indulging in trendy late-night ice cream had finally come true. This would definitely not be the last time he came to treat himself, and he’d have to be careful not to make late-night ice cream a nightly occurrence, especially as the summer nights are getting hotter.

Fear not, Mr. Sato! There are other ways to keep cool in the summer that don’t involve eating tasty ice cream — take this portable shower, for instance!

Shop Information
Yolu Ice
Address: Tokyo, Suginami-ku, 4-25-9 Koenji-Minami
Open 5 p.m.-midnight (weedays), 3 pm.-midnight (weekends)

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[ Read in Japanese ]