These shops also showcase the immense variety of flavors and ingredients that go into the making of individual shaved ice recipes.

When the scorching days of summer hit Japan, there’s only one appropriate solution: go out and eat a ton of kakigori, or flavored shaved ice. Eating a heaping mound of kakigori should definitely be on any visitor’s bucket list when traveling through the country in the summertime. Shops selling the treat are easily recognizable by their classic red and blue banners with the kanji for “ice” (氷) hanging outside of the door.

▼ Keep your eyes out for a banner like this as a sign that kakigori is sold inside.

Image: ©SoraNews24

That said, there’s tons of variety in the world of kakigori when it comes to flavors, from classic fruit syrup toppings to more novel and solid toppings. Here are nine particular shops throughout Japan selling their own unique take on the dessert that you may want to check out before the summer heat causes you to melt. One thing to note is that in Japan, kakigori desserts are often limited-time summer menu items. Though some of the places listed below have announced the sales period for their kakigori, others haven’t, so it’s usually best to get in before the end of August to ensure you’ll be able to try all of the ones that you want.

1. Kyo mo Imo (きょうもいも) / Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture

Interestingly, Kyo mo Imo is actually a store that specializes in Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo). The kakigori here is as fluffy as a cloud and makes use of traditional Japanese ingredients. Popular flavors from last year have returned, including “Sweet potato, milk, and organic maple syrup” for 950 yen (US$6.73) and “Purple sweet potato, azuki, and refined Japanese sugar” (950 yen), along with new ones such as “White peach, jasmine, and mascarpone cream” (1,100 yen). Kakigori will be available at the shop until August 31.

Kyo mo Imo
Address: Osaka-fu, Sakai-shi, Kita-ku, Higashi-Asakayama-cho 4-1-12, Aeon Mall Sakai Kitahanada, 3rd floor


2. Kominka Cafe Okamedo (古民家caféお亀堂) / Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture

This cafe has been run by a beloved maker of traditional Japanese sweets for over 70 years. It’s especially well-known for the traditional “Uji kintoki” flavor made using matcha and azuki bean paste (1,080 yen). You may also want to try the shop’s original “Thick warabi-mochi and brown sugar syrup” flavor (1,280 yen) as well.

Kominka Cafe Okamedo
Address: Aichi-ken, Toyohashi-shi, Minami-Koike-cho 164


3. Nanaka (なな菓) / Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Nanaka offers a unique take on kakigori with its self-described blended “ice cream kakigori.” The kakigori is available for a limited time until August 31 outside of the Kin no Kura Izakaya in the popular Sunshine Street area. “Condensed milk and strawberry milk,” “Rich Uji kintoki,” and “Snow white milk and yogurt” flavors are each 1,045 yen. You can also get a 100-yen discount by sharing a post about the shop on Instagram using a provided hashtag.

Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-21-11, Oak Ikebukuro Building, B1F


4. Mont St. Clair (モンサンクレール) / Jiyugaoka, Tokyo

This famous patisserie combines peach and yogurt for its refreshing, almost cake-like version of kakigori called “Awa ko-ri momo” (1,400 yen). The ice is shaved extremely thinly for a luxuriously soft texture and topped with homemade yogurt sauce, meringue, and various forms of peaches, from chunks of fruit to infused sauce.

Mont St. Clair
Address: Tokyo-to, Meguro-ku, Jiyugaoka 2-22-4


5. Koe Donuts (コエ ドーナツ) / Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

This popular donut shop has collaborated with kakigori specialty shop Hyosha Mamatoko (氷舎 mamatoko) for a unique take on the dessert that’s said to pair perfectly with donuts. The two flavors are “Genmaicha [roasted green tea], puffed cereal, and sweet bean paste” (1,100 yen) and “Grapes and elderflower” (1,650 yen), which includes whole Kyoho purple grapes and Shine Muscat grapes on top.

Koe Donuts
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Shinkyogoku-tsu, Shijo-agaru, Nakano-cho 557, Kyoto Shochiku Sakaiza Building, 1st floor


6. Bono Bakery (ボーノベーカリ) / Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture

Sold at a popular bread bakery, this kakigori is only available for dining in and is limited to 10 customers per day. The “Dongari [pointed] ice strawberry” flavor (1,650 yen) is composed of perfectly ripe, frozen strawberries and fruit puree. You can also add as much condensed milk as you’d like. Of course, the really unique thing about this shaved ice is its pointed tip, which measures in at over 20 centimeters (7.9 inches).

Bono Bakery
Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Nishi-ku, Minami-Horie 2-9-16, 1st floor


7. Sushiro (スシロー) / Sushiro locations around Japan

Shaved ice isn’t something you’d normally think of getting at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, but the chain is currently offering a “Peach kakigori parfait” and a “Soda kakigori parfait” for only 280 yen each through August 18. Both flavors come with a dollop of ice cream on top and some fruit on the side. With a price like that, we’ll make it a habit to order kakigori parfaits after every sushi meal! Note: Beef bowl chain Sukiya also currently has similar kakigori on the menu.

Location list


8. Vanilla Beans the Roastery (バニラビーンズ ザ ロースタリー) / Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Chocolate specialty store Vanilla Beans has branched into shaved ice this summer with its unique “Vanilla Beans Glace Pilée [crushed ice] Mango and Orange” flavor (1,980 yen). Made using a rare variety of cacao pulp, it’s a thick but refreshing treat. While this artistic eye-and-stomach candy is available through August 31, please be aware that the number of dishes sold per day are limited–so you might want to get there early when you visit.

Vanilla Beans the Roastery
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Naka-ku, Shinko 2-14-1, Yokohama Hammerhead, 2nd floor


9. Matsuzakaya Ueno (松坂屋上野店) / Ueno, Tokyo

Various food shops are nestled in this department store right next to Ueno Park. Matsuzakaya has revamped its grand kakigori menu together with three of these shops for a total of 15 different varieties. Prices begin at 580 yen. This shaved ice is also available later than most other places, with the curtain closing on September 12.

Matsuzakaya Ueno
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Ueno 3-29-5

Any of the above seem like a great way to cool yourself down over the next month, but here’s a second suggestion as well if you’re looking for even more ideas.

Reference, images: PR Times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
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