In the fierce heat of the Fukuoka summer sun, eating 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. Some shops have begun offering this dessert whole-year-round. Different kinds of kakigori range from simple to luxurious, such as one made with matcha and azuki beans – the varieties are endless! The city goes kaki-crazy in the summer (up until Sep. or Oct.), so here’s our guide to the best frozen treats Fukuoka has to offer. Why not try them all?
Frequently used Japanese in this guide
• 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!).
Umenoma (うめのま 抹茶のカフェー)
If a kakigori cafe could embody “smart casual”, Umenoma would claim the honor. Umenoma is Umeyama Teppei Shokudo’s sister cafe, and offers a casual setting in which everything is impeccably presented. There are five kakigori options, all playing with traditional Japanese desserts: Yame Gold (matcha), and Anko Milk, Yame Matcha with condensed milk, Caramel, and Today’s Special made with seasonal fruits such as plums, lemons and pineapple. Adults looking for some extra zing might want to add optional matcha liqueur for just ¥100.
• Open: 11:00~20:00
• Closed: Wed.
• Kakigori season: Depends on the climate
• Price (tax excl.): Yame Gold, Anko Milk ¥900, Yame Matcha with condensed milk ¥800, Caramel ¥800, Today’s Special ¥700, toppings: condensed milk ¥100, matcha liqueur ¥100, matcha ice cream ¥100
• 3-1-16 Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Maeda Shoten (前田商店)
A family-owned ice business for over 60 years, Maeda Shoten also sells delightfully affordable kakigori. There are seven standard flavors: strawberry, Uji matcha, mango, Hawaiian blue, ramune, hyuganatsu and this year’s new flavor is melon. Served in a paper cup with a straw, they’re perfect for take-out and, at just ¥200, a sweet deal! Add more toppings to your order for only ¥30 ~ ¥50.
• Open: 11:00~17:00
• Closed: Never
• Kakigori season: ~ Mid-Oct. (*depending on the climate)
• Price (tax incl.): ¥200, additional toppings: condensed milk ¥30, anko ¥50, double milk ¥50
• 1-8-31 Maizuru, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Atago Shrine’s 100-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. This year, “Espuma Matcha Dainagon Azuki” is a new item on the menu. Espuma means “foam” in Spanish and that’s made with plenty of super-light and airy matcha. These sweet treats make a great reward after climbing all those stairs that lead up to Atago Shrine in the summer heat.
• Open: 9:00~17:30, Sun. & hol.: 8:30~17:30
• Closed: Never
• Kakigori season: Summer only (~ end of Sep.)
• Price (tax incl.): Matcha Dainagon (small) ¥850, Matcha Dainagon ¥1,150, An Parfait ¥950, Espuma Matcha Dainagon Azuki ¥1,100
• 2-6-33 Atago, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka
Kamiya Seika (加美家製菓)
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). Sit down and enjoy authentic Japanese sweets and a beautiful Japanese garden on premises.
• Open: 9:00~18:00 (L.O.17:30)
• Closed: Never
• Kakigori season: ~ End of Sep.(*depending on the climate)
• Price (tax incl.): Uji Kintoki ¥650, Milk Kintoki ¥650, Kuromitsu Kinako (black sugar molasses with soybean flour) ¥500, Siratama Zenzai ¥600, Snow White (milk flavor) ¥550, Fruit Molasses (melon, strawberry, yuzu) each ¥400, Uji Matcha ¥550 (toppings: milk ¥100, ice cream ¥100, azuki ¥100)
• 1-2-19 Tojinmachi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Kawabata Zenzai Hiroba (川端ぜんざい広場)
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 Kori 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. 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!
• Open: 11:00~18:00 (*Fri., Sat., Sun., and hol. only)
• Closed: Mon. ~ Thu.
• Kakigori season: ~ End of Sep.
• Price (tax incl.): ¥500
• 10-256 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• 092-281-6223 (Kamikawabata Shotengai)
Oishi Koriya (おいしい氷屋)
Established in 1946, local ice-maker Kyushu Seihyo runs a kakigori shop which uses ice frozen slowly over 72 hours into extremely hard, pure blocks. Twenty cm high portions of super fluffy shavings from the latest high-tech machine are dressed with gourmet toppings. Choose from 8 flavors! The popular Yame Matcha uses green tea from Hoshino in Yame (¥850); the slight bitterness of the tea is offset by the sweetness of the condensed milk. The ice dissolves on contact with your mouth!
Fukuoka Now’s Reports here!▶︎ Tojinmachi shop, Tenjin-minami shop
• Kakigori season: Year-round
• Price (tax incl.): Handmade Milk ¥650, Yame Matcha ¥850, Strawberry & Milk ¥850, Kinako (soybean flour) ¥850, Caramel Whip ¥900, Blue ¥900, Matcha Mascarpone ¥900, Black Sesame Almond Milk ¥900 (available only Tenjin-minami shop)
• Limited menu on July: Black Mont Blanc ¥850 (chocolate cookie crunch), Peach ¥850
• Open: 11:00~19:00 (L.O. 18:30)
• Closed: Mon. (open if hol. and closed the next day)
• 1F Minami Tenjin Bldg., 5-14-12 Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Murikami-ya’s much-loved shirayuki no hana (white snow flower) shaved ice originates from deep inside the mountains of Itoshima. The flavor-filled ice, which is made from water gathered at the source of the Shiraito Falls, has a snow-like texture that gently melts in the mouth. Visitors can pick from up to 20 unique flavors, such as matcha zenzai (red azuki bean soup) and chocolate banana. The cafe also offers a choice of seven different toppings, including coffee and azuki. Be sure to keep an eye out for dishes topped with smooth foamy cream in the awamitsu series. While their latest creations include a take on tiramisu that matches coffee-flavored ice with a soft, fluffy cream made from mascarpone.
• Open: 11:00~17:00
• Closed: Irregularly
• Kakigori season: Available from mid-April to the end of September
• Price (tax incl.): ¥750 ~ ¥1,300, toppings: ¥100
• 426-1 Shiraito, Itoshima City, Fukuoka
This delightful cafe serves over 15 types of Chinese tea and a selection of tasty snacks. Be sure to check out their Taiwanese yukihana-gori (snowflake shaved ice), which is available all year round. The ice is crushed by hand to ensure a rich, fluffy, melt in the mouth texture. Take your pick from a range of classic flavors such as mango, strawberry milk, and honey lemon. Alternatively, you can stop by after July 13 to try a special Instagram worthy creation called himawari shine muscat yukihana-gori (sunflower shine muscat snowflake shaved ice). The tasty treat, which fuses together milk-based shaved ice, orange agar, passion fruit sauce, and shine muscat grapes, will only be available during the Summer, so do not miss out!
• Open: 12:00~18:00 (Weekdays) / 12:00~21:00 (Weekends and national holidays)
• Closed: Irregularly
• Kakigori season: Available all year round
• Price (tax incl.): Mango, strawberry milk, honey lemon ¥880, sunflower shine muscat snowflake shaved ice ¥1,650 (available from July 13 to mid-September)
• 3F 1-17-22, Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Kakigori at Home
For most, kakigori is a treat enjoyed inside a shop, cafe, restaurant, or at a festival. But long before the impact of COVID-19, some enjoy a simple version at home. Introducing kakigori in a bag!
Available at supermarkets during the summer months only you’ll find inside the freezers next to ice cream. The ice is granular as opposed to shaved, but the result is pretty much the same. There are three flavors to choose from: strawberry, ramune (sweet lemon-lime soda), and kintoki (red bean). Pour it into a bowl, eat it, or dress it up with toppings of your choice. Anything goes! Another sweet thing, a bag will cost you only about ¥70. What toppings will try?
Originally written in July 2016. Updated July 2020.
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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 Jul. 2016.
Disclaimer: By posting information about places to visit or things to do, Fukuoka Now is NOT encouraging people to do anything unsafe. The situation regarding COVID-19 changes daily. Please follow the advice and direction of local authorities by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and by following other recommended guidance.