What makes a summer trip so special in Japan? Many of you may say about its incredible summer festivals or something else. Honestly I really don’t care what you think of it. But I would say the yummy summer foods, and one such delicious seasonal treat is called Kakigori.

Obviously, it is one of the top Japanese summer dishes that you have got to try during your trip to Japan in the summer. What’s Kakigori? Any idea what it could be – dango or rice cake? Neither! Anyway, to get some ideas please see the picture below.

Matcha kakigori. Photo Credit: City Foodsters at Flickr.

Kakigori is a traditional Japanese shaved ice dessert, flavored with various sorts of fruit syrup such as strawberry, melon, lemon, cherry, blue raspberry, Japanese citrus, sweet plum, and grape. With less crunchy texture, kakigori is very soft, light and fluffy, and melts in mouth like freshly fallen snow.

Its popular toppings include condensed milk, mochi, green tea, ice cream, sweetened red beans and so on. Due to extreme hot summer weather out there, people look tiresome and exhausted. Probably they don’t know how to cope with it, find some ideas ASAP and rest assured!

Where to Buy Kakigori?

Kids are waiting to have their kakigori! Photo Credit: nils ferry at Flickr.

In summer, kakigori is found everywhere from convenience stores to restaurants to food vendors including dessert shops and tea houses! Wherever you go, you would easily find a place to enjoy it.

Price range varies based on the size and toppings though one kakigori might cost you around 500-2000 yen. I reckon you can get a good size of kakigori with your favorite toppings just by spending 1000 yen. Anyway, ever thought of making your own at home?

How to Make Kakigori at Home?

Beat the heat with kakigori! Photo Credit: Norio NAKAYAMA at Flickr.

Making your own kakigori at home is simple and anyone can try it. With the useful tools and ingredients such as the kakigori machine, recipes, cups, spoons, flavors and toppings, one can easily find the right way to make some yummy kakigori. This icy homemade treat even can overwhelm your guests.

Traditionally, kakigori is usually made at home. Most of the households in Japan have a kakigori shaved ice maker or had it before, now some of the families don’t find any motivation buying it again because they are getting lazy day by day and think it is better to buy from outside!

Truly a special summer treat! Photo Credit: Shoko Muraguchi at Flickr.

Firstly, you prepare the flavors (syrups) and toppings you want to have with your kakigori. Secondly, you use the shaved ice machine to shave the ice. Thirdly, you top your shaved ice with your fruit syrup and other toppings. And finally, serve it immediately and cool down, say goodbye to the summer heat at least for a while.

If you are serious of making kakigori at home, please check out this awesome shaved ice maker.

There are many varieties kakigori you come across in Japan, but among them Matcha, Shirokuma and Ujikintoki kakigori are the most popular ones.

Ujikintoki – matcha tea syrup over shaved ice and top with dango and red bean paste. Photo Credit: Lisa Pinehill at Flickr.

Ujikintoki is one of the highly admired local specialties of Kyoto. Here, Uji is a town located in Kyoto prefecture while on the other hand, Kintoki refers to red beans as well as a folk hero said to have reddish skin called Sakata Kintoki. Bear in mind, Uji is known for cultivating of high quality Gyokuro – the finest green tea in Japan. Ujikintoki recipe is very simple!

The main ingredients for making Ujikintoki are the Gyokuro green tea, dango (Japanese dumpling), condensed milk, and red bean paste (anko). To make the syrup, at first you have to dissolve green tea powder and sugar very well in hot water. Then put in a small serving bowl and cool it completely.

Now shave the ice and drizzle with some syrup. Use anko and dango as toppings. In addition, pour some condensed milk over the shaved ice then serve! You just learned how to make Ujikintoki at home, how wonderful!

In Conclusion

Looking perfect man! Photo Credit: Norio NAKAYAMA at Flickr.

When summer rolls around, despite of the crazy hot and humid summer, everyone enjoys the season experiencing fireworks in the evening and participating in traditional summer matsuri (festivals) all over Japan. Besides, taking a leisurely stroll through the path of a traditional Japanese landscape garden is fabulous though that’s less relaxing than soaking your body in hot spring water.

Taking a bath in an onsen is said to be good for soul, mind and body, and doing so you find the way of escaping from the summer heat. Yet there is another great way to deal with summer in Japan!

Ok, I admit you do enjoy a bath in an onsen, walk in the garden, as well as the tastes of a list of popular summer dishes. Above all, the first thing that comes to my mind is the fireworks festivals, then of course KAKIGORI. On the day of a firework festival, many food vendors sell different kinds of mouthwatering street foods.

If the weather is excessively hot out there and you primarily wish to have some Yakitori – that would be something that I don’t want it to be. I know what can save your life and keep the rhythm with your heart beating, to do so I would grab a cup of cool Kakigori and enjoy an exciting event of sprinkling fireworks that light the night sky stunningly. Thanks for reading!