Sep 29, 2018
Kakikori is flavored shaved ice. It is served in a wide based paper cup, pretty much always the same design nationwide. Kakikori is as synonymous with summer as festivals or aqua parks. Something I only realized after having my own kids. Kakikori is to my "hafu" Japanese kids, and kids all around Japan, as ice-cream was to me as a kid.
Until recent years Kakikori was predominantly sold from pop-up type vendors for example kiosks or food vans as pictured above. You can find these stalls at summer festivals and seasonal aqua parks as well as recreational areas such as zoos and museums. You'll even find them at parking / service areas. Restaurants might cash in on the popularity by offering it as a dessert or light snack during the summer period. At the moment in Japan there is a bit of a kakikori specialty shop boom with many kakikori cafes and restaurants popping up around the Kanto plain.
I personally don't like kakikori. It still amazes me that three out of four of my kids will always choose Kakikori over ice-cream. It really is just ice shaved down into flakes with syrup on top. Even thinking about it makes my teeth hurt. They usually put the syrup on it for you, but occasionally you will find a place that has "kake-hodai" that you put on yourself, as per photo below. The syrup comes in many different flavors. All very sweet and sugary. And it is a rip off to boot. Kakikori usually costs 300 yen or more.
What I still don't know is when the kakikori season starts and ends!? Is it just dependent on the weather? This year we saw our first kakikori stand at a parking / service area in Tochigi at the end of April. Yesterday I noted the kakikori stand is still at the Saitama Children's zoo. Like so much of the seasonal offerings in Japan such as for Easter, Halloween and Christmas, you can see something here today, and just like that it can be gone tomorrow!
Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.