And of course, we went to check it out.

U.S.-based ice cream shop Cold Stone Creamery was once pretty easy to find in Japan, with over two dozen stores across the country selling their tasty, creamy concoctions. Many of those branches were in busy Tokyo neighborhoods too. Unfortunately, as COVID swept across the world, more and more of their Japanese shops closed until only two remained at the start of 2023, and neither was in Tokyo. No longer could we at the Tokyo-based SoraNews24 headquarters indulge in their delicious Japan-only flavors and special options like all-you-can-eat ice cream. It was a tremendous shame.

But things are looking up for the popular ice cream shop and its Tokyo fans, because, in March of this year, they opened a new branch in the Tokyo area, in a building shared with a Tsukiji Gindako takoyaki shop in Machida by Tamasaki Station, west of the Tokyo city center.

For those living and working in central Tokyo, that wasn’t close enough, but luckily, just last month a new Cold Stone Creamery seemed to appear out of thin air in Harajuku, one of Tokyo’s biggest shopping areas, smack in the middle of the city! We didn’t even know about it until after the fact. If we had, our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato would have lined up hours ahead of time.

Nevertheless, when he did hear about it, he had to go check it out immediately, especially since he heard that the new branch has exclusive menu items inspired by Japanese flavors.

The ice cream on the menu was basically the same as the Tamasaki Branch, but the special, Tokyo-only dishes were “Roasted Sweet Potato” and “Uji Matcha Azuki”, which was flavored with Kyoto green tea and red beans.

On the crepe menu were unique items like “Roasted Sweet Potato Creme Brulee”, “Uji Matcha Cream”, “Tiramisu”, and “Uji Matcha Shiratama Kintoki”, which comes with rice flour dumplings and red beans. They also had three exclusive matcha-flavored drinks. One of them was “Matcha Green Tea” (400 yen [US$2.89]), which is what Mr. Sato decided to order. It was blisteringly hot that day, and an ice-cold matcha drink felt like it would be the cooling rush he’d need.

Ordinarily, Mr. Sato would order ice cream since that’s what Cold Stone is famous for, but for some reason, the Tokyo-only Roasted Sweet Potato Brulee crepe (800 yen) was calling to him, so he chose that instead. Since sweet potato-flavored sweets are all the rage among street food fans these days, Mr. Sato had to applaud the Harajuku Cold Stone for incorporating it into their menu.

The visual impact of the crepe was highly appealing, with a beautifully caramelized slice of sweet potato sticking out of the top. Underneath was a rich roasted sweet potato-flavored cream, and inside the cream-based dough was plenty of whipped cream.

It looked super sweet, and it was pretty rich, but the aftertaste was surprisingly refreshing. It was the perfect size for when you’re just a little bit hungry, and the perfect flavor for the moment. It also paired really well with the Matcha Green Tea, so Mr. Sato felt like he was having quite a luxurious afternoon tea time.

Like at other Cold Stone Creameries, they do sing at this shop when you order ice cream, which Mr. Sato witnessed while he was there. Since they’re new, some of the staff did appear a bit reserved in their singing, but he didn’t doubt they would find their confidence soon and bring back the lively, welcoming atmosphere that Cold Stone Creamery fans love.

Here’s to hoping that the company’s new start in Tokyo goes smoothly and we can see more and more Cold Stone shops around town!

Restaurant Information
Cold Stone Creamery Harajuku Branch / コールドストーンクリーマリー原宿店
Tokyo-to Shibuya-ku Jinju-mae 6-6-6 Harajuku TS Building
Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Images © SoraNews24
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