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5 Refreshing Japanese Summer Treats


Spring is finally gone and officially, summer is just around the corner. It is not really hot yet, but gradually temperatures will soar in the next few weeks. Normally, most people prepare what to eat and do during the coming of the hot season. Think of frozen treats, summer foods, and a splash in the pool!

I’ve rounded up five refreshing summer treats to try in Japan that absolutely beat the heat during the sweltering weather.


Kakigori is known as shaved ice, a traditional dessert that dates back to the Heian Period in Japanese history. During summer festivals, this beloved dessert is simply made with snow-like shaved ice flavored with various syrups. In cafes and restaurants, kakigori is more flavorful with added toppings such as condensed milk, red bean paste, shiratama dango, and sliced fruits. Popular flavors are strawberry, melon, blue Hawaii (soda), and matcha.

Soft serve ice cream

Sofutokurimu, Japan’s own version of the soft-served ice cream has a creamy and soft texture, making it a huge hit with people! This treat is moderately sweetened and made with a variety of Japanese ingredients to suit the local palate. Common local flavors include matcha green tea, azuki, kinako, and black sesame. The most popular fruit flavor is strawberry, which is sometimes blended with vanilla and topped with strawberry slices.

Soft-serve ice cream is sold all year long but they are frequently seen during summer. In popular sightseeing spots and road stations, you will find a soft cream stand set up offering limited-edition local flavors. Be sure to try these flavors on your next trip.


Image by Taku on Flickr

Anmitsu is a traditional dessert that dates back to the Meiji era. It is made with kanten , a white translucent agar cut into cubes with a variety of other ingredients such as anko (red bean paste), fruit slices, shiratama dango and black syrup called mitsu which is poured onto the dessert before eating. In some restaurants and cafes, they are topped with a scoop of matcha ice cream.

Anmitsu is commonly sold during summer and you can find them in supermarkets as well.

Yukimi daifuku

Daifuku is a type of wagashi (Japanese sweets) paired with green tea. However, ice cream manufacturers thought of making daifuku into an ice cream called yukimi daifuku. They are a delectable type of bite-sized scoop of ice cream wrapped in a mochi dumpling. The delicious combination of chewy mochi and cold, creamy ice cream makes this frozen treat super unique and popular.


Monaka is a traditional Japanese snack made with azuki bean paste sandwiched between two crispy wafers. The wafers come in different shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and cherry blossoms. It can also be used to make ice cream sandwiches as well. The fillings can be vanilla ice cream with thin sheets of chocolate. Other types have fruit jams, a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, and fruit slices sandwiched between two monaka wafers.

These are unique cold refreshments during summertime in Japan that you cannot find overseas. Ice cream in Japan is varied and creative, making it visually appealing to everyone. Make sure you try one when you visit the country in the future.

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