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Cool off with some shaved ice (a.k.a. kakigori)


Want to escape the humid summer heat or just having a sweet moment? Luckily Japan has yet another genius seasonal food that helps to keep your body temperature down: kakigori.

From summery fresh fruit kakigoris to traditional matcha or kinako - Here is our lowdown of where to grab some of the city’s most refreshing and eye-popping shaved ice.

Kuriya Kashi Kurogi | Yushima (all-year)

Photo by Kuriya Kashi Kurogi
If it’s traditional japanese flavors that you are after, look now further than Kuriya Kashi Kurogi. This café specializes in Japanese traditional sweets and also serves some of Tokyo’s best kakigori with its staple kuromitsu-kinako and always changing seasonal flavours such as milk and five grain, red bean sweet potato, yuzu or sakura-ko. As with other shaved ice cafés on this list beware that this kakigori hotspot can get very crowded on weekends, so be sure to reserve a seat in advance, or otherwise arrive early and be ready to wait in line.

︎Kakigori served all-year around
︎Kuriya Kashi Kurogi, Yushima
︎Open: 10:00-20:00 (Last Order 19:00) Closed on Wednesdays
︎Google Maps

Palace Hotel | The Palace Lounge (summer only)

Photo by Palace Hotel
One of our favorite lounges to take a break from this busy city, Palace Hotel’s “The Palace Lounge” rings in the summer season with two mouthwatering kakigori flavors: mango with yogurt cream and coconut powder, and matcha green tea & azuki beans with rice-flour dumplings . Served in the superb ambiance of this lofty lounge with a beautiful view of the imperial palace, we have no excuse not to keep coming back. Advance reservations recommended.

︎Kakigori served durin summer season only (until August 31)

︎Palace Hotel Tokyo, 1st floor “The Palace Lounge”
︎Open Every Day: 10:00-24:00
︎Google Maps

Sebastian | Shibuya (all-year)

Located about a 10min walk north of Shibuya Station in a small, non-descript building, Sebastian might not shine from the outside, but upon second look you will discover that it might just be one of Japan’s best kakigori spots. What makes Sebastian unique is that they don’t just serve regular shaved ice with syrup, but that the shaved ice gets molded and transformed into extraordinary dessert creations such as Mango-Yoghurt Tarts (pictured), Crème Brûlées or Strawberry Shortcakes which all magically contain shaved ice on the inside.

Note: Upon arrival, you will have your name put down on a reservation list and will be asked to come back at a later time for your table. Be sure to arrive early to secure a table at your desired time. Menu changes daily is in Japanese only but can be checked beforehand on Twitter (link below).

︎Kakigori served all-year around
︎Open Sat-Thur: 11:00-18:30 (opening times vary, check on twitter for details), Closed on Fridays
︎Google Maps
︎Twitter/Menu (Japanese only)

Saka No Ue | Yushima (all-year)

In the otherwise quiet neighborhood in between Ueno and Akihabara, you can spot this Kakigori gem first and foremost by the long line that usually stretches along its building. Saka No Ue is certainly not an underdog in Tokyo’s competitive shaved ice community, but few do the mouthwatering summer dessert as well as this café. With its milky, smooth shaved ice, its deliciously creamy yoghurt toppings and constantly changing seasonal varieties such as apricot pistachio, pineapple, pumpkin, or pear earl grey - Saka No Ue is sure to stun just about anyone with a perfect kakigori selection. If you’re worried about the wait, stop by outside of weekends or the hot season, and be sure to put down your name at the entrance before queuing up.

︎Kakigori served all-year around

︎Weekdays: 10:00-19:00, Weekends and Holidays: 11:00-18:00, Closed on Mondays
︎Google Maps

Higashiya | Ginza (summer only)

Photo by Higashiya
Brainchild of Shinichiro Ogata, Higashiya Ginza is one of Tokyo’s most sophisticated modern tea houses offering a selection of delightful Japanese tea blends and tradtional wagashi sweets. It comes as no surprise then, that Higashiya also offers some of our favorite kakigori this summer which comes cut from an old-fashioned ice shaving machine. Higashiya serves three styles of shaved ice: Kintoki Green tea with red beans and rice balls, summer citrus, and honey plum.

︎Kakigori served during summer season only
︎Higashiya Ginza
︎Open Every Day: 11:00-19:00 (last order 18:00)
︎Google Maps
︎Website (Japanese only)

Funabashi-ya Koyomi | Hiroo (summer only)

Photo by Funabashi-ya
With a history that spans over 200 years, Funabashi-ya has long established itself as one of Tokyo’s most venerable confectioners, specialising in Japanese traditional sweets. During the summer months, Funabashi-ya’s café serves up some of Tokyo’s most sought-after kakigori such as strawberry-milk, peach, pineapple - and of course, green tea. 

︎Kakigori served June 20 - September 30 2019
︎Funabashi-ya Koyomi, Hiroo

︎Open Every Day: 11:30-18:00 (Last order 17:00)
︎Google Maps
︎Website (Japanese only)

Himitsudo | Yanaka (all-year)

Photo by Tak H.
Himitsudo is located in Yanaka, a district of Tokyo known for its old shitamachi atmosphere. True to its location, the staff at this café prepare the shaved ice by hand, using traditional machines, and ice from Nikko, making for a special experience that has become rare to witness in Tokyo. Himitsudo has a daily changing menu which is published on their Twitter account, and is said to have one of the best strawberry-milk kakigoris in town. Beware however, that this café is extremely popular and lines sometimes form around the block, with people eager to get their hands on some of the famous kakigori.

︎Kakigori served all year around
︎Himitsudo, Yanaka
︎Open Every Day: 10:00-18:00
︎Google Maps
︎Website (Japanese only)

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