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


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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.

Here is our lowdown of where to grab some of the city’s most refreshing and instagrammable shaved ice.



Palace Hotel | The Palace Lounge (seasonal 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 & coconut with yogurt cream and shaved milk ice topped with azuki beans, soybean flour, warabi mochi (bracken rice cake). 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.

¥1,500
︎Kakigori served until August 31 2019
︎Palace Hotel Tokyo, 1st floor “The Palace Lounge”
︎Open Every Day: 10:00-24:00
︎Google Maps
︎Website


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).

¥1,200~
︎Kakigori served all-year around
︎Shibuya
︎Open Sat-Thur: 11:00-18:30 (opening times vary, check on twitter for details), Closed on Fridays
︎Google Maps
︎Twitter/Menu (Japanese only)



Higashiya | Ginza (seasonal 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 until end of summer
︎Higashiya Ginza
︎Open Every Day: 11:00-19:00 (last order 18:00)
︎Google Maps
︎Website (Japanese only)





Sulbing | Harajuku (all-year)




With its superbly soft kakigori, its unbelievably tasty toppings, groovy K-Pop music in the background and modern interior overlooking Harajuku Station, Sulbing knows how to make Tokyo’s young and kakigori-hungry crowds line up for some Korean-style shaved ice. Indulge in the uber-delicious Mango-Cheesecake Sulbing, or go for other popular variations such as Berry-Yoghurt or Triple Chocolate - either way Sulbing will make you want to come back for more. 

Note: Visit on weekdays or late evenings for shorter waiting times. 

¥850~
︎Kakigori served all-year around
︎Sulbing, Mejiro
︎Open Every Day: 10:30-20:00 (Last Order 19:30)
︎Google Maps



Funabashi-ya Koyomi | Hiroo (seasonal 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. 

¥850~
︎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)





Kuriya Kashi Kurogi | Tokyo University Campus (all-year)




Photo by Kuriya Kashi Kurogi
Housed in a beautiful construction by reknown Japanese architect Kengo Kuma lies Wagashi Kurogi, sister to the high-end washoku restaurant “Kurogi” in Shibakoen, which is said to be one of the best Japanese restaurants in town. Wagashi Kurogi is a café specialising in Japanese traditional sweets and also serves some of Tokyo’s best kakigori with its staple kuromitsu-kinako and seasonal flavours such as milk and five grain, or sakura-ko. As with other shaved ice cafés on this list beware that Wagashi Kurogi can get very crowded on weekends so be sure to arrive early or be ready to wait in line. 

¥1,400~
︎Kakigori served all-year around
︎Wagashi Kurogi, Tokyo University Hongo Campus, near Kasuga Gate
︎Open Every Day: 10:00-19:00 (Last Order 18:00)
︎Google Maps
︎Website



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.

¥800~
︎Kakigori served all year around
︎Himitsudo, Yanaka
︎Open Every Day: 10:00-18:00
︎Google Maps
︎Website (Japanese only)




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