Keeping cool from Japan’s summer heat with kakigōri
Any overseas tourist that has visited Japan in the months from June to
September will tell you that summers in Japan are hot and humid. As
predicted this summer has been extremely hot, with Tokyo continuing
to exceed the 30℃ mark, recording a high of 36.7℃ on July 7. In addition
to the high temperatures, Japanese summers can feel uncomfortable due
to humidity that is unique to Asian countries.
To cool off from the summer heat, the Japanese have taken special care
in what they eat since ancient times. The refreshing combination of cold
zaru soba and somen noodles with dipping sauce is a summer lunch staple
and hiya-jiru (cold miso soup poured over rice) can often be found in
places such as Miyazaki and Saitama prefectures. The most popular
summer favorite however, is shaved ice with syrup called kakigōri.
Japan’s history of kakigōri is long, with historical evidence from the Heian
Period. A description of kakigōri topped with amakazura can be found in
Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book. In 1869, Fusazou Machida opened
Japan’s first kakigōri shop in Yokohama’s Bashamichi. After WWII,
strawberry and lemon flavored syrup for kakigōri was introduced to
the market, making it a popular summer dessert that could be
enjoyed at home.
Up until the Shōwa period, kakigōri and syrup were always served
together. However, more recently kakigōri has drastically changed.
Established dessert shops in Tokyo and Kyoto are opening branches in
departments stores and shopping centers, traditional techniques have
been utilized to create kakigōri, and boutiques are opening dessert shops
within their stores. What used to be simply shaved ice topped with syrup
or condensed milk, has evolved into a summer cake-like dessert in both
taste and appearance.
Kyoto’s dessert shop Gion Tokuya Harajuku located inside United Arrows
Harajuku for Women serves a special warabi-mochi as well as a variety of
kakigōri flavors. The summer exclusive ‘Obancha kakigōri’ sold for 900
yen (incl. tax) features sugar candy with an obancha (coarse tea) aroma
and hints of honey lemon that creates a refreshing taste.
BAYCREW'S interior, food and clothing boutique etc. JOURNAL STANDARD
and London’s deli cafe FRANZÈ & EVANS LONDON has collaborated with
Hyousha mamatoko, the kakigōri shop by Asako Harada, also known as
the Queen of Kakigōri. With the collaboration, original kakigōri flavors
were created exclusively for the stores. ‘Citrus and meringue tart’ and
‘Black spice chai and mint cream’ flavors will be available July 30-31
at FRANZÈ & EVANS LONDON. The two flavors, inspired by English sweets,
resemble cakes in their appearance as well.
PASS THE BATON is a new type of recycle shop that has been reinventing
recycling. In 2015, the Gion location in Kyoto opened a tea room, Tasuki
Tea and Sake Room, where the ‘Kinako rennyu hōji tea mitsukakigōri’ is
highly popular. The hōji tea aroma and the natural ice from Mount Fuji
which melts in the mouth, makes it a satisfying sensation.
The bear-face motif of Japanese Ice Ouca’s ‘Shiroikumasan’ in Ebisu
and Kurogi’s ‘Kuromitsu kinako kakigōri’ located on the campus of
The University of Tokyo, are other kakigōri favorites that often have
long lines of customers. When Japan’s summer heat becomes too
intense, take a break from shopping and sightseeing and try