Tokyos coolest kakigori

15 refreshing frozen desserts to beat the summer heat

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Tokyo’s coolest kakigori

Summer’s officially arrived in Tokyo, and we're already checking the prices of plane tickets to the southern hemisphere. If you can't afford a trip to Antarctica in the coming months, you can get some frosty relief courtesy of one of Japan's favourite summer sweets: kakigori. Made from shaved ice doused in syrup and various other toppings, it can be a sublimely refreshing treat – or a sickly-sweet, Slush Puppie-esque disaster. As cafés and convenience stores throughout the capital start offering their own versions (look for a banner marked with the character for ice, 氷), we've picked 15 of our favourite Tokyo kakigori...

Kori gyunyu (ice and milk) at Imojin, ¥450

There's no fussing around at this century-old sweet shop in Nezu. Fluffy ice shavings sit atop a glass of sweetened, lemon-flavoured milk, which you can slurp up with a straw once you're finished eating. Simple, and simply delicious. Full review


Kori mirufuru (ice, milk‘n’fruit) at Mitsubachi Honten, ¥500

Dig into that dome of ice doused with condensed milk and you'll find chunks of mandarin, peach and pineapple hidden underneath, their citrus tang offsetting the sweetness. And we thought that ‘mirufuru’ meant ‘mille-feuille’... Full review


Himitsu no ichigo miruku (strawberry milk) at Himitsudo, ¥700

The ‘secret’ specials change every day at this kakigori shop, open year-round in Yanaka, but you can always get their signature strawberry-milk version. Sweet – but not too sweet – it'll keep you slurping until the very last drop. Full review


Kori shiratama at Hatsune Chaya, ¥550

Sweet shiratama dumplings pop up repeatedly on the menu at Asakusa dessert merchants Hatsuna Chaya, and the kakigori is no different – though they serve them on the side in order to stop the ice from making them go hard. Full review


Nama golden kiwi at Hokusai Sabo, ¥840

The summer-only kakigori lineup at this stylish Kinshicho café is full of delights, including desserts made with strawberries or kinako flour and molasses. Our favourite comes topped with a chunky sauce of fresh kiwi fruit. Full review


Otona no kakigori (kakigori for grown-ups) at Uogashi-Meicha Cha Ginza, ¥500

Living up to its name, this refined take on the classic kakigori will appeal more to parents than their kids. The ice is flavoured with a not-too-sweet tea syrup, and accompanied by Japanese-style wagashi sweets. Very classy. Full review


Ujikintoki at Funabashiya Koyomi, ¥750

Ujikintoki is one of the classic kakigori flavour combinations, mixing tart matcha tea with sweet adzuki beans. Funabashiya serves the constituent parts separately, so you can douse that snow-like ice dome in syrup yourself. Full review


Kori nama ichigo (ice and fresh strawberries) at Shimura, ¥800

It looks enormous when it arrives at the table, but Shimura's famous strawberry kakigori – smothered in a sauce that's laden with fresh fruit – manages to be sweet but never cloying. Trust us: you'll have no problem finishing it. Full review


Kocha kori miruku-gake (ice with tea and milk) at Kori Kobo Ishibashi, ¥650

Quite a few customers end up ordering two portions at this Sangenjaya kakigori shop, and after trying them you'll understand why. This is one of our favourites, topped with tea syrup and milk to create a taste reminiscent of milky tea. Full review


Kuromitsu (black syrup) kakigori at Gion Tokuya, ¥900

Just because you're in fashionable Harajuku doesn't mean you can't pig out. Gion Tokuya serves enormous mounds of ice with a side order of syrup – complete with a few sweet shiratama dumplings – that customers can pour on themselves. Full review


Akazumitsu-duke natsu mikan (summer tangerine in red vinegar and honey) at Sake Shop Fukumitsuya, ¥600

If you can resist the urge to start sampling the saké on offer, Fukumitsuya also does some thirst-quenching kakigori in unusual flavour combinations – all of it made with the same top-notch water that goes into the nihonshu. Full review


Uji milk shiratama at Amanoya, ¥1,560

You won't find kakigori on the menu at Amanoya, but they're happy to make it if you ask nicely – and this mountainous portion of shaved ice topped with green tea syrup, milk and small shiratama dumplings didn't disappoint. Full review


Tennen kori nama ichigo (natural ice with fresh strawberries) at Darumaya Mochigashiten, ¥880

Kakigori fans can get their fix all year round at this wagashi shop in Jujo. This almost spherical offering comes with a jam-like strawberry topping, though it's best enjoyed with an additional helping of milk (¥100 extra). Full review


Strawberry milk shiratama at Amaikko, ¥950

Scoring full marks for presentation, Amaikko's kakigori comes piled on a shallow dish, crowned with strawberry syrup and condensed milk and with eight dumplings sitting neatly to the side. It's also delicious – and not as sweet as it looks. Full review



By Time Out Tokyo Editors
By Yuki Takahashi
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.

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