Kakigori かき氷 or shaved ice is the quintessential summer treat in Japan. The dessert can be as simple as a cup of plain shaved ice flavoured with syrup or be as elaborate as one with fancy flavours and luscious toppings that look too beautiful to eat.
In Tokyo, shops that sell kakigori are numerous, and many of them actually offer shaved ice not just during summer but throughout the year. Here are some of the most popular and interesting kakigori places in Tokyo which you should definitely try. Be warned though, long queues are a common sight at these shops!
1. Himitsudo ひみつ堂
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This hugely popular shop in the nostalgic Yanaka district may prepare their kakigori in a traditional way, but the flavours available are certainly new and trendy. Only quality ingredients are used in their ice desserts: natural ice from Nikko, shaved manually using the hand-operated machine and covered with housemade additive-free syrups. Their signature is the Strawberry Milk kakigori which uses fully ripe seasonal strawberries, though the yoghurt series and other limited-time creations are very popular too.
Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM (vary depending on the season)
Closed: Mondays (Oct to May: Mondays & Tuesdays)
Address: 3-11-18 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Access: 4 minute walk from Nippori Station west exit (Yamanote line)
2. Kuriya Kashi Kurogi 廚菓子くろぎ
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This wagashi (Japanese sweets) cafe is located on the University of Tokyo Hongo campus, designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and owned by Iron Chef Jun Kurogi. Its signature Kuromitsu Kinako kakigori is a voluminous treat topped with black sugar syrup, toasted soybean powder, azuki red beans, and a soy sauce infused cream sauce! Divine desserts aside, coffee lovers should definitely try also their coffee, which comes from the famous Ebisu-based Sarutahiko Coffee company.
Hours: 10 AM -7 PM
Address: Daiwa Ubiquitous Research Building 1F, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 3 minute walk from Hongo-Sanchome Station (Oedo line).
3. Sebastian セバスチャン
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Here, you can have kakigori that looks like a cake but filled with shaved ice instead of sponge cake! Known as “dolce kakigori”, the ice desserts come in many flavours including seasonal favourites like Mango Shortcake and Strawberry Shortcake. Watching the staff assemble the treat before your eyes is also interesting, it is a process many customers enjoy doing.
Hours: 1:30 PM – 5 PM (opens 11 AM on weekends and holidays)
Address: 7-15 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 10 minute walk from Yoyogi Koen Station (Chiyoda line).
4. Chimoto ちもと
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Kakigori is available only from mid-July to mid-September at this traditional Japanese confectionery shop. Its most popular item is the “omakase kakigori” – brilliantly contrasting matcha and condensed milk covered shaved ice that is filled with red beans and assorted wagashi such as yakumo mochi, kanten jelly, shiratama dango and more. With fluffy shaved ice and chunky sweets, eating it feels like a treasure hunt, as you never know exactly what’s hiding inside!
Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM, closed on Thursdays
Address: 1-4-6 Yakumo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 2 minute walk from Toritsu Daigaku Station (Tokyu Toyoko line).
5. Azabu Yasaigashi 麻布野菜菓子
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A shop specialising in sweets and desserts made from fresh vegetables, Azabu Yasaigashi also sells kakigori during the warm summer months. Its tomato kakigori which features cream cheese, condensed milk, and a compote made with mini tomatoes, lemon and sugar are one of the best sellers. If you wonder how vegetables like pumpkin, spinach, avocado and even celery can be turned into servings of delicious kakigori, why not try it yourself?
Hours: 11 AM -7:30 PM, closed on Tuesdays
Address: 3-1-5 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 1 minute walk from Azabu Juban Station exit 1 (Oedo, Namboku lines).
6. Café Lumiere カフェ ルミエール
Image: cafe_lumiere_kichijyoji on Instagram.
If you are after a gorgeous dessert that can wow your followers on social media, this is the place. Café Lumiere is well-loved for its fun kakigori creations, especially the “moeru kakigori” which is literally a shaved ice on fire! The kakigori is covered with meringue, and the staff will light it up by pouring ignited rum over the surface. Inside, there are layers of ingredients accompanying the fluffy ice – fruit pieces, nuts, caramel, housemade syrups, and so on.
Hours: 12 PM – 8 PM (Mon to Thu), 12 PM – 6 PM (Fri to Sun)
Address: Higashiyama Building 4F, 1-2-2 Minamicho, Kichijoji, Musashino, Tokyo.
Access: 1 minute walk from JR Kichijoji Station south exit.
7. Atelier Sekka かき氷工房 雪菓
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Sekka serves ice that is made with natural spring water from Mt. Fuji, doused with the syrups that are made fresh daily on the premises. Popular menu items here include the Anno-imo sweet potato kakigori, and the non-bitter matcha kakigori which is covered in matcha milk, matcha chocolate and matcha cream. The fruity kakigori featuring seasonal fruits like mikan, cherry and peach are also customer favourites. If you are an adventurous foodie, there is the Natto Kinako kakigori awaiting you to take up the challenge!
Hours: 11 AM – 5 PM, closed on Mondays
Address: 3-37-6 Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 5 minute walk from Sugamo Station (Yamanote, Mita lines)
8. Yelo イエロ
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The owner of this stylish kakigori speciality shop is a kakigori fan who sure knows the tricks to tasty shaved ice! The menu consists of a variety of flavours, with popular ones include Tiramisu with mascarpone, Berry4 that uses 4 kinds of berries, and Organic Carrot Mascarpone. You can decorate and customise your bowl with a wide selection of toppings available, most notably is a traditional candy from Kagawa prefecture called “Oiiri”. There are also various limited-edition treats and night-only items which contain liquor, the so-called kakigori for grownups!
Hours: 11 AM – 5 AM (until 11 PM on Sundays and holidays)
Address: Patio Roppongi 1F, 5-2-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo.
Access: 5 minutes walk Roppongi Station exit 3 (Hibiya, Oedo lines).