In the fierce heat of the Fukuoka sun, kakigori is the most delicious way to cool off. This seasonal treat consists of delicately shaved ice, as fluffy as freshly fallen snow, which is then heaped with fruits, sprinkled with condensed milk, and blanketed with syrups. The city goes kaki-crazy in the summer (up until Sep./Oct.), so here’s our guide to the best frozen treats Fukuoka has to offer.
• Anko (or an): Red bean paste. This comes in various consistencies, for example, koshi-an is finely pureed red beans, but in tsubu-an the bean is left almost whole.
• Azuki: The red beans from which anko is made. Dainagon is a premium variety of azuki.
• Matcha: A finely ground powder made from specially grown and processed green tea.
• Zenzai: a sweet porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi. It is made from heated condensed paste (like making jam or marmalade!).
FUKUOKA KAKIGORI MAP
View かき氷 Kakigori – Summer’s Sweet Treat in a larger map
Restaurant & Bar in the Park (レストラン＆バー イン ザ パーク)
Open: 11:30~24:00 (L.O.: Lunch 14:00, Dinner 23:00)
Kakigori season: ~ Sep.
Price: ¥900 (incl. tax)
This restaurant feels like the expensive New York penthouse of a dot com billionaire; a surfboard hangs next to expensive-looking art, and behind the leather chairs is a towering wall of books. Here the “cool ice” is treated with finesse and a delicate touch. There is a gentle taste of milk in the ice, which is shaved so carefully that you’ll wish you could shrink yourself and ski down its fluffy surface. The tray comes to you with a large serving of naked kakigori, and six different flavours on the side for you to dress it up with: good ol’ fashioned strawberry sauce, kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup), condensed milk, matcha, kinako (roasted soybean powder) and tsubu-an (red bean paste with some of the beans left whole). This mix ‘n’ match style allows you to create your perfect balance of flavours, and makes everyone’s experience unique. Enjoy till the last scoop!
Open: Shop 11:00~20:00, Sweets 9:00~20:00 (L.O.: Food 19:00, Sweets 19:30)
Closed: Never (during kakigori period)
Kakigori season: Yame-kintoki: early May ~, Amaou: early Jun. ~, Shin Shoga: Jul. 1 ~ (until Sep. (depends on the climate))
Price: Shin Shoga ¥850, Amaou ¥890, Yame-Kintoki ¥890 (condensed milk topping for Yame-Kintoki: +¥50)
This famed shop in Hakata sells traditional sweets all year round, and is so popular that it’s opened up branches in Tokyo and Nagoya. Come summer, they sell three extravagant flavours, each influenced by classic kakigori elements: yame-kintoki is a bitter-sweet matcha-infused treat, Amaou is made with Fukuoka strawberries (celebrated for their size and sweetness), and shin shoga uses ginger for a vibrant and fresh taste. Definitely worth a visit for the classic atmosphere and beautifully presented snowy delights.
Kakigori season: Depends on the climate
Price: ¥900 (condensed milk: +¥100, liqueur: +¥300)
If a kakigori cafe could embody “smart casual”, Umemona would claim the honour. Umenoma is Umeyama Teppei Shokudo’s sister cafe, and offers a casual setting in which everything is impeccably presented. There are three kakigori options, all playing with traditional Japanese desserts: kudamono-anmitsu (boiled red beans, agar gelatin and fruit with molasses poured on top), matcha-anmitsu (boiled red beans, agar gelatin and matcha with molasses poured on top) and milk anmitsu. There is also the option to add on a carefully-paired liqueur for each option, for a more “grown up” kakigori; you might, for example, like Cointreau on your kudamono-anmitsu kakigori, or matcha liqueur on your matcha-anmitsu – the milk anmitsu goes well with both Cointreau and matcha liqueur.
Bimidenshin Kamadoya (美味伝心 かまどや)
Open: 9:30~20:00 (Sun. & Hol.: 9:30~17:30)
Kakigori season: ~ End of Oct. (depending on the climate)
Price range: ¥400 (+¥150 for soft cream) (tax excl.)
Inside the unique A-frame structure of “Farm” in Kego, Kamadoya serves up a very special kakigori. They add real strawberries into the ice blocks before freezing, so when shaved the ice has a sweet, fresh strawberry flavor. It’s like eating soft, powdery strawberry snow! Add on a soft cream topping for just ¥150 extra!
• 2-18-1 Kego, Chuo-ku
• Tel: 092-716-5700
Oishi Koriya (おいしい氷屋)
Open: 11:00~18:00 (L.O.: 17:50)
Closed: Mon., Every 2nd and 4th Tue.
Price: Yame Matcha (green tea) ¥750, strawberry & milk ¥750, kinako (soybean flour) ¥750, coffee ¥750, mango ¥750, milk syrup ¥550
Local ice-maker Kyushu Seihyo runs a kakigori (shaved ice) shop which uses ice frozen slowly over 72 hours into extremely hard, pure blocks. Twenty-centimeter-high portions of super fluffy shavings from the latest high-tech machine are dressed with gourmet toppings. Choose from eight flavors! The popular Yame Matcha uses green tea from Hoshino in Yame (¥750); the slight bitterness of the tea is offset by the sweetness of the condensed milk. The coffee kakigori (¥750) is topped with mascarpone and specially blended coffee sauce. The ice dissolves on contact with your mouth!
Houraku Manju (蜂楽饅頭)
Open: 10:00~19:00 (or until sold out)
Kakigori season: ~ Sep.
Price range: ¥250~¥450
Head down the Nishijin Shotengai market street towards this popular manju shop, where they serve up one of Fukuoka’s best-loved kakigori every summer. It’s so popular, in fact, that the shop sold 579 cups in a single day in one year! The soft ice recipe here holds 50 years of history. Try “Cobalt Ice” for just ¥300 – flavored with homemade syrup using Japanese honey and condensed milk.
Open: 9:00~18:30 (Sun. & Hol.: 8:30~18:30) (L.O.: 18:00)
Kakigori season: Summer only (~ end of Sep.)
Price: Matcha Dainagon (small) ¥750, Matcha Dainagon ¥1,000, An Parfait ¥800
Atago Shrine’s 120-year-old traditional tea house is said to be the pioneer of kakigori in Fukuoka. Their homemade red bean paste is their main product – try the matcha dainagon kakigori to taste it! Served with sparklers on top, the kakigori here is sure to bring a smile to kids and adults alike! The an parfait is also very popular. These sweet treats make a great reward after climbing all those stairs that lead up to Atago Shrine in the summer heat.
• 2-6-33 Atago, Nishi-ku
• Tel: 092-881-0304
Kamiya Seika (加美家製菓)
Open: 9:00~18:30 (L.O.: 18:00)
Kakigori season: ~ End of Sep.
Price range: ¥350~¥600
You’ll find this 300-year-old traditional wagashi (Japanese sweets) shop on the Tojinmachi market street. Here, they use freshly made Kyoto matcha for each order of the popular uji kintoki (green tea kakigori). Not a fan of matcha? Try not kokuto kinako (with roasted soybean powder and brown sugar) or Milk Kintoki (milk-flavored)? Enjoy the authentic Japanese sweets and a beautiful Japanese garden on premises.
Kawabata Zenzai Hiroba (川端ぜんざい広場)
Closed: Mon. ~ Thu.
Kakigori season: ~ Sep.
Price range: ¥500 (incl. tax)
This shop, which was first established in the Taisho period serves up tea and local specialty Kawabata zenzai (a very sweet soup with rice cakes and bean paste) on weekends in Hakata’s oldest arcade – Kawabata Shotengai. In summer, they serve “Kouri Zenzai” kakigori which also has the traditional flavor of matcha and anko. What makes this spot really unique is the setting. The area is also well-known for being home to a kazariyama (decorative float) from the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival – the only kazariyama to be carried through the streets (see it during the Hashiru Kazariyama – more info here). Tourists are certain to enjoy the experience here while cooling off with a traditional kakigori. A great taste of Hakata’s culture as well as its kakigori!
Kakigori season: Golden Week ~ end of Oct.
Price range: ¥650~¥800 (toppings: +¥100~)
Deep in the mountains near Shiraito Falls, Itoshima, this specialty shop turns out some amazing kakigori. Their original method produces soft and smooth kakigori called ”Shirayuki-no-hana” (literally “White Snow Flower”) that has a texture like fresh snow! 10 unique flavors are on offer (including Matcha Zenzai, Choco-banana, etc.) and customers can add extra toppings such as coffee, or azuki (red beans) for ¥100~¥200 per topping. There is a mildness to this kakigori that prevents cold-rush headaches! Unlike most shops that offer the treat in summer only, kakigori is available here from springtime to the fall season.
Open: 11:30~18:00 (L.O.: 17:00)
Closed: Thu. and Fri.
Kakigori season: ~ around Sep.
Price range: ¥850~¥950
Located one block over from Keyaki-dori, the exterior of this café and bakery resembles that of a traditional Japanese house. The interior has been beautifully renovated with airy high ceilings, concrete walls and floors that contrast marvelously with wooden beams, pillars and handmade wooden furniture. Large windows looking out onto the beautiful garden are also a nice touch. For summer, Papparayray add kakigori to their menu, with a range of frozen fruit toppings and homemade syrups on offer. They use an old-style, manually-operated kakigori machine too.
Sweet Snow at Sweet Brooklyn (スウィートスノウ スウィートブルックリン)
Kakigori season: Undecided
Price range: ¥400~¥900
This compact kakigori cafe in Daimyo proves that size isn’t everything. It has a chilled vibe, cool tunes and a neat menu of original kakigori, made expertly before your eyes. So what can you expect from Sweet Snow? Milky, soft shaved ice with tasty toppings. It’s “Taiwan-style” kakigori and is made with 100% iced milk. Their recommendation is tapioca milk tea kakigori! And if you eat inside the shop you’ll get an extra serving of annin tofu! Double yum! Eat-in and takeout menus available. The eat-in kakigori is a larger serving and includes a cup of tea, the takeout is a bit smaller, served in a disposable cup and cheaper. Enjoy creative and unique kakigori at this hip cafe.
Originally written in Jun. 2016.
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NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us. This report was originally written in Jun. 2016.