Kakigōri is a Japanese dessert made of shaved ice, traditionally flavoured with syrup, condensed milk or an, a sweet bean paste.
In Japan it is considered a fuubutsushi, a term used to designate items that evoke memories of specific seasons, in this case Summer. Other edible fuubutsushi representing Summer include sōmen (thin noodles made of wheat flour), hiyashi chūka (chilled ramen noodles) and watermelon.
There is an abundance of Kakigori shops in Tokyo so choosing my top 10 was difficult, but here they are, in alphabetical order.
- Bum Bun Blau Cafe with Beehive (Hatanodai)
- A range of relatively light kakigori to match their famous spirolina infused ramen.
- Cafe Lumiere (Kichijoji)
- Flaming Kakigori with a baked Alaska exterior! I personally love the one with lots of berries in the centre, served with condensed milk, chocolate and berry sauce on the side.
Flaming mixed berries
- Gari-Garilège (Gaienmae)
- Although this shop only operates when owner chef Kawate is out of town, I had to include it in my top 10 because Horio-san puts patisserie level cookies & meringue in the kakigori and the Florilège counter is, without doubt, the most beautiful spot you will ever find for the icy treat.
Pumpkin & Caramel sauce
- Haimuru Coffee (Musashi-Koyama)
- Another spot I frequent because I often want some hot, soupy & savoury ramen after consuming kakigori.
- Kooriya Peace (Kichijoji)
- The kakigori here are often a little too sweet for my taste but sometimes they do incredible flavours like the Orangette one pictured below, where you get a refreshing, tangy orange sauce with slight bitter tones, sweet light airy cream, orangette like strips of sunshine in chocolate coated candy form – truly a dream come true!
- Kuriyakashi Kurogi (Hongo-Sanchome)
- Michelin starred Jun Kurogi’s wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop designed by famed architect Kengo Kuma. Beautiful, massive kakigori that never fail to elicit equally massive guilt.
- Mamatoko (Nakanoshimbashi)
- Run by a young kakigori loving lady. Portions are relatively small, which is great when you want to try a few flavours at once! Love the kinako & miso cream.
Kinako Miso Cream, Kuromame
- Mayoor (Miyazakidai) A little far out but if you enjoy milky kakigori, this is the place to go.
Sesame & Avocado milk
- Minatoya* (Sasazuka) Decadent oimont-blanc, portmanteau of Japanese “oimo” meaning (sweet) potato and “mont-blanc” available here alongside a range of fresh fruit kakigori and takoyaki for savoury breaks.
- Shimokitachaen Ooyama* (Shimokitazawa) Matcha lovers should visit for the signature matcha espuma kakigori. Sakura is also a seasonal favourite in Spring.
Thanks for reading and I hope you get some nice kakigori this summer.