As summer is arriving and the temperatures rise day by day, our body starts to crave for something to help our body stay cool. Shaved ice or kakigori (かき氷) is the perfect treat to beat the summer heat and humidity. Shaved ice is available all year round at some places, but when the temperatures rise, you’ll see the sign ‘氷’ hung in front of many shops everywhere. There are endless variations in arrangement, taste, and ingredients; with fresh fruits and hand-made syrups, and much more. Along with ice creams and refreshing beverages like iced coffees and iced teas, shaved ice is a popular summer treat among Japanese people. The soft and fluffy texture created by natural ice is always a favorite for everyone. When you travel to Japan, you will be surprised by the large number of shops selling shaved ice during the summer season. So it’s easy to believe that Tokyo is home to some of the best shaved ice spots in Japan where you can easily find long lines of people waiting for hours to get a taste of the photogenic summer treat. Here is a list of some of the best shaved ice shops in Tokyo!
Himitsudo is a popular shaved ice spot nestled in the Yanaka area, a peaceful district with a nostalgic atmosphere in Tokyo dating back to the pre-WWII era. The small and cozy café is always packed with customers enjoying the fluffy shaved ice which comes in a wide variety of fruit syrups. They use 100% pure and natural ice which is made in the Nikko area in Tochigi prefecture. The fluffy, incredible shaved ice is shaved not by machine, but hand, which makes it much more special!
Himitsudo (Japanese only)
10am – 7pm (weekdays), 9am – 7pm (weekends)
2. Atelier Sekka
If you want to try shaved ice with some unique flavors, head to Atelier Sekka in Sugamo. Their shaved ice features special ice which is made with natural water coming from the Mt. Fuji area. The water is stored in a beautiful natural pond for a couple of weeks, until they are naturally formed into an ice cube. Choose your favorite one out of the wide variety of flavor options ranging from all-time popular ones such as strawberry to pistachio milk. Their offer varies on the weekdays, so make sure to check their menu for the daily offerings.
11am – 5pm ※closed on Monday
3. Wa Kitchen Kanna (和kitchenかんな)
Tucked away in a residential part of the popular Sangenjaya, Wa Kitchen Kanna is a modern cafe popular especially among young women since its opening in 2013. More than 10 flavors and syrups such as shiruko (Japanese-style sweet syrup made from Azuki beans) are available throughout the year. All the syrups are handmade with carefully selected ingredients, such as fresh seasonal fruits, to perfectly match the soft natural ice. The ice will immediately melt away in your mouth. Strawberry Milk and Special Vanilla Milk are popular flavours to try for foreigners and kids!
Wa Kitchen Kanna
11am – 7pm ※Closed on Wednesday
Shimura is a traditional Japanese sweets shop, not far from Mejiro Station, and is one of Tokyo’s most popular kakigori shops. They also serve shaved ice made with natural ice from the Nikko area, but what sets them really apart from other popular shops is the attractive appearance of the giant ice cream that almost looks like a white mountain. The handmade syrups contain fresh fruits that doesn’t just look amazing but will help you cool down in Japan’s hot and humid summer. Strawberry is always the most popular one which features fresh and luxury strawberries purchased from famous local producers in Shizuoka prefecture!
10am – 7pm ※closed on Sunday
5. Kaminarimon Matoi
Widely known as one of the most popular tourist spots in Tokyo, Asakusa is home to not only symbolic historic sites such as Sensoji Temple but also traditional Japanese restaurants and sweets spots! Kaminarimon Matoi specializes in serving a wide range of traditional Japanese sweets mostly featuring high-quality matcha produced in the Uji area in Kyoto, one of the most famous matcha producing areas across Japan! Besides matcha sweets, Strawberry Milk shaved ice can be enjoyed only during summer season. Another popular one is Shirokuma shaved ice, which resembles a white bear covered with rich milk syrup and served with toppings such as vanilla ice cream!
12:30am – 6pm
6. Toraya Ginza
Toraya is a traditional Japanese sweets shop with more than 80 locations across Japan. With a history of over 500 years, they offer a range of traditional Japanese desserts along with shaved ice that look like pieces of art. Ujikintoki is one of the most popular flavors which consist of rich matcha syrup and red bean paste called anko in Japanese. Ichigo Mizore is a special treat which can be found only at the Ginza location. Don’t miss the incredible taste brought by fresh strawberry syrup which perfectly goes with white sweet bean paste.
10am – 8pm (Mon-Sat), 10am – 7pm (Sun & Holiday)
A short walk from Sasazuka station is Minatoya, a local lively shop specializing in takoyaki. Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese food that looks like a sort of meat ball with a bite-sized octopus inside. Minatoya is also renowned for their refreshing shaved ice served in summer time. The giant shaved ice is served is fermented rice syrup which is naturally sweet, so no sugar is added and fresh fruits and/or vegetables. It is a great spot to try your first bite of shaved ice in Tokyo!
11am- 7pm ※closed on Wednesday
A stone’s throw away from the famous Shibuya crossing, Daikanyama is a high-class residential area in Tokyo. In the popular upscale neighborhood you will find Urara. Urara is a small garden cafe located at the back of a traditional Japanese house with a lovely garden. In summer time, their shaved ice is super popular, together with soft drinks, beer, and organic wines. Their kakigori is also made from naturally frozen ice cubes from the Nikko area and there are several flavours to choose from. Outside tables and seats in the small garden, offer a super relaxing experience and while enjoying the comfortable summer breeze you’ll almost forget that you are in Tokyo.
12pm – 4:30pm ※Open only weekend & holiday
Located in a peaceful Shitamachi neighborhood, Sunamachi-ginza shopping street stretches approximately 670 meters with about 180 local shops with a traditional atmosphere. Gofuku is a cozy café-style shop which opened in 2017. They mainly serve Yakisoba, traditional Japanese stir-fried noodles and shaved ice topped with handmade syrup made from seasonal fruit such as strawberries. A great variety of toppings are available including chocolate, yogurt, granola and caramel.
11am – 6pm
10. Gion Tsujiri
Saryo Tsujiri is a popular Japanese-style cafe specializing in matcha sweets and light meals featuring top-quality matcha produced in the Uji area in Kyoto. They have several shops located in Kyoto and two outlets in Tokyo. One is is conveniently located on the 10th floor of Daimaru Tokyo, a giant shopping mall which is directly connected to Tokyo station. The second shop is located on the 6th floor of Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo’s tallest observation tower! Tokusen Matcha Kohri is a special edition of matcha shaved ice featuring gorgeous toppings such as matcha and vanilla ice cream. Their matcha parfaits offer a rich, unforgettable taste – a must try too!
Opening times differ per shop
Chimoto is a small traditional Japanese sweets shop located near Toritsu Daigaku station in Meguro. They are widely renowned for Yagumo Mochi, a classic Japanese dessert loved as a perfect gift or souvenir for everyone. Summer is when they get pretty busy with an increasing number of customers craving their shaved ice. Popular flavors include strawberry, lime, milk and matcha. Extra toppings such as Anko and Shiratama (small sweet rice ball) are also available. Omakase is a special one which features a giant shaved ice mountain with matcha and condensed milk. As you dig down the ice mountain, you will find tasty treasures such as Yagumo Mochi and other Japanese sweets hidden inside!
10am – 4pm
12. Kakigori Cafe & Bar Yelo
Wouldn’t it be great to go to a place where you can enjoy shaved ice along with some wines or cocktails? Kakigori Cafe & Bar Yelo offers a perfect space where you can treat yourselves to both shaved ice and refreshing drinks. Their drink menu options range from coffee and soft drink, which is easy to enjoy during daytime, to wine, cocktail and beer brands which can be an ideal choice at night time. Their must try shaved ice flavor is Tiramisu which features a rich, creamy taste like a cake. Mascarpone whipped cream is another must-try topping which adds an extra texture and surprising taste to any flavors!
Kakigori Café & Bar Yelo
11am – 5am (Mon – Sat)
11am – 11pm (Sun & holiday)
13. Sakano ue Cafe
Sakano ue Cafe, which literally means “a cafe on a hill”, is located on a hilly area in north Tokyo, near Yushima Tenjin Shrine and Kanda Myojin Shrine. Regular shaved ice menus include 5 – 7 different flavors which mainly feature syrup made from fresh fruit in season. Their Panda serving is a popular one that is served along with different syrup that varies depending on each season. Enjoy the sweet collaboration of rich whipped cream decorated like a panda on a fluffy shaved ice. The small cafe is mainly known for their kakigori, but also offers some savoury lunch plates.
Sakano ue Cafe
11am – 5pm (Mon – Wed & Weekend)
11am – 7pm (Thu & Fri)
Momijiya is a small, cozy shaved ice shop nestled in a peaceful residential area in Adachi-ku. Their shaved ice features naturally frozen ice and customers can choose either pure ice (made from normal water) or the special one (made from natural water in Nikko). Popular flavors include peach, mango, and strawberry shaved ice served with homemade syrup topped with bite-sized pieces of fresh fruits. They offer some flavours all year round, like milk tea, cocoa and kinako (roasted soybean powder). However, before ordering you’ll also want to check their seasonal menu, there is always something new on the menu!
11:30am – 5pm ※closed on Tuesday
15. Funabashiya Koyomi
Funabashiya Koyomi is a modern cafe-style shop opened by Funabashiya, a traditional Japanese sweets shop located in Adachi-ku in 2005. Funabashiya has more than 200 years of history and is widely renowned for its Kuzumochi, a traditional Japanese dessert made from arrowroot starch cake. They offer their refreshing shaved ice series only in the summer season, and what makes them special is their healthy syrup containing lactic-acid bacteria. It will help you enjoy the cool shaved ice while protecting your stomach. If you want to try fruit shaved ice, pick up peach flavor with extra toppings such as Shiratama (sweet small rice ball). Ujikintoki is a matcha-flavored one with Anko bean paste, especially popular among Japanese!
11am – 7pm
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
Kakigori is just one of the many traditional Japanese snacks to try when you visit Japan. Join our food tours and learn all there is to know about the Japanese food culture and try some typical treats like tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet), sushi, sake and green tea. We offer different tours at several places like Tsukiji market or Shinjuku Golden Gai in Tokyo or go on a food adventure at Nishiki Market in Kyoto. All of our tours are with local Japanese guides who’d love to show you around!
One of Japan’s oldest refreshing treats, kakigori is now more popular than ever in Japan and a must try when you find yourself in Japan in summer. The popular summer treat is the perfect way to survive the hot and humid summer days in Japan and a must try for anyone visiting Japan in summer. With several variations in looks and taste you’ll find yourself craving for some kakigori soon! Because of its popularity, we recommend you to visit the shaved ice shops early – at closing time the popular serving will be sold out!
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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.
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