Summer in Japan may be hot, humid, and sticky, but there is a sweet silver lining, with sweltering temperatures comes the excuse to eat plenty of ice cream. Here are 5 awesome ice cream shops in Tokyo!
Daily Chico Ice Cream Shop, Nakano Broadway
A tiny ice cream shop in Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway sits nestled in the basement of this otaku paradise brimming with anime goods and pop culture collectibles. This small store is making a big name for itself with its colossal, 8-layer soft serve ice cream cone at a bargain price of 550 yen. The towering ice cream made up of swirls of strawberry, coffee, milk, chocolate, matcha, banana, grape, and ramune soda is deliciously soft and creamy.
Particular stands out are the more noticeable flavours of coffee, chocolate, and banana. But be a little weary of its precarious structure. Don’t get too carried away taking your perfect sweet snap, as you might have an ice cream avalanche on your hands.
Dobutsuen ‘The Zoo’ Ice Cream Cones, Harajuku
This shop selling ice cream in Tokyo was previously a smaller outfit with a set up like a vending machine. Now ‘the smallest zoo in the world’, Dobutsuen, has moved to a new location just 100m away. This store offers a new menu of their signature cute animal ice cream cones alongside baby bottle and light bulb sodas and ice cream tacos. The store is choc-full of kawaii, their own branded merchandise, and even comes with a dedicated candy pink photo background to make your ice cream snaps the instagram envy of your friends.
This Tokyo ice cream zoo offers various animals and flavours in single scoop cones for 500 yen – tiger (blueberry and cheesecake), elephant (vanilla, strawberry, and soda), pig (strawberry), chicken (vanilla), panda (cookies and cream), and rabbit (strawberry sponge cake). Bigger more expensive cones are three pigs (random), and chicken family (vanilla and orange).
More than just a novelty these ice cream cones are Tokyo favourites filled with rich, fresh and flavourful ice cream. Enjoy the attention to detail in the form of the pig’s marshmallow ears and nose, or a panda with Oreo ears.
Suzukien Green Tea Ice Cream, Asakusa
Situated just a stones throw away from Sensoji Temple this traditional Asakusa shop offers what is said to be the richest matcha ice cream in Tokyo. Arriving at 11am on a Monday, the store is already crowded with people, a testament to the shop’s fantastic reputation. The shop sells matcha (green tea) ice cream in varying levels of intensity listed from the least strong No. 1 to the most intense No. 7. They also offer other flavours including adzuki bean (red bean), strawberry, hochija (roasted green tea), brown rice tea, Japanese black tea, black sesame, and mango sorbet.
Order a double cone with hochija and one of the many matcha intensities if you feel like comparing different flavours of ice cream. The sweet, roasted, nutty taste of the hochija will provide a nice contrast to the bitterness of the vibrant dark green matcha.
Melting In The Mouth Soft Serve Ice Cream, Hiroo
In one of Tokyo’s hipster neighbourhoods sits a cute ice cream store with fun phrases adorning the walls, selling hot dogs, milkshakes, donuts, and their signature vanilla ice cream cone. This teeny cone filled with a perfect swirl of cloud like ice cream makes an enjoyable treat.
Despite its small size patrons can delight in the soft serve’s creamy, organic milky richness. A lot of studies have gone into making this little cone, with the makers insisting that people prefer this size of ice cream (125g) and shape. If you’re feeling particularly peckish their hot dogs aren’t bad either!
Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku Ice Cream, Harajuku
Takeshita Street in Harajuku is full of all kinds of foodie delights from giant UFO candy floss to cream-filled sweet crepes. If you’re looking for your Tokyo ice cream fix visit the Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku pastry shop. As well as selling to die for crispy, pastry puffs filled with delicious fresh custard cream, they also sell delicious soft serve ice cream in a crunchy wafer cone, made from milk from premier dairy producing region Hokkaido. The ice cream is really light and sweet, and the quality of the dairy used really comes through.
Tokyo has so many great ice cream places that it’s hard to pick just a handful. It’s not hard to find an excuse to eat ice cream in the sweltering heat of the Japanese summer, but remember ice cream can be enjoyed all year round. Don’t forget to check out your local convenience store for delicious and affordable sweet treats too!