Kakigori – a Japanese Summer Treat

One of the things I love most about living in Japan is the seasonal nature of Japanese food.

While it’s sad to have some of your favorite treats fall off the menu when the calendar changes, it’s also exciting to look forward to seeing your favorites return the following year (and having the chance to find new favorites, too).

Last summer, my son and I discovered a delicious spot to get kakigori–the fluffy shaved ice that’s a favorite summertime treat across Japan. Kurashiki Coffee at Toritsu-Daigaku station offers three different flavors: strawberry, matcha (powdered green tea), and tiramisu–each with a DIY component that makes them interactive as well as delicious.

My favorite is the Ichigo (strawberry), which comes with house-made real strawberry syrup as well as strawberry coulis and a small pitcher of sweetened condensed milk:


The ice arrives at the table freshly shaved but plain, allowing you to dress the dessert any way you like.

… and after.

It’s especially great because you can save some toppings for the bottom of the bowl, ensuring that the shaved ice is “properly dressed” all the way to the final spoonful.

It’s only on the menu in the summer, but that’s probably a good thing … both for the excitement it generates when it returns and for my jeans, which probably wouldn’t fit as well if I had access to this dessert year-round…