| Junru Zhou

The Shaved Ice Trip of Ryoguchiya-korekiyo

After the plum rain season, the summer is waiting for us.
Speaking of summer, what does it mean to you? Perspiration all day long, the road distorted by heat waves or the cicadas making noise everywhere?

Well, it seems like that the Japanese don’t worry about them that much. When the fireworks bloom in the night sky, the feeling of heat will be cooled down by the shaved ice (kakigori in Japanese).

What a nice summer!

Shaved ice (kakigori in Japanese) is a common food at the matsuri (Japanese festival). There are always many people waiting in front of the shaved ice stall.  After one bite, you will totally forget the heat of summer.

Of course, it is not possible to go to the Matsuri every day. So where can we find the cool shaved ice during the hot summer?
Ryoguchiya-korekiyo (両口屋是清 in Japanese), a Japanese dessert shop with over 380 years of history, will be a good choice for the shaved ice.

Sakae Branch: Fukuoka strawberry flavor shaved ice

Find a time to meet friends there and enjoy the delicious shaved ice together - a relaxing day is waiting for you!

In Ryoguchiya-korekiyo, the tables, chairs and even the wall decorations in the dining area are made of wood or wood products, which gives this area a Japanese-style atmosphere.

In the Sakae branch (Nagoya, Japan), there is a small traditional box featuring the Tokugawa family crest, which makes the store even more elegant.

There are 4 branches of Ryoguchiya-korekiyo supplying shaved ice. The flavors are divided into 2 kinds: basic flavors and limited edition flavors. Each flavor is based on the local specialty of the Japanese city. The limited edition flavor is chosen after considering the target customers. For example, the Yagoto branch chose the black sugar of Hateruma (in Okinawa, Japan) and Kinako (roasted soybean flour) for older customers while the Nagoya station branch chose the Hokkaido milk flavor for the female customers.

This time, I chose Fukuoka strawberry flavor shaved ice, which is the limited edition flavor at the Sakae branch.

The first impression about it is “what a big shaved ice!”. Not only the is the bowl filled with shaved ice, but it is filled to twice the height of the bowl. According to the staff here, it is a common choice that 2-3 people will share one shaved ice. For now I am quite worried if I can finish it by myself.

Time to eat!

From the very first bite, the Fukuoka strawberry ice shave is really worthy of the name. I feel the strawberry when the ice melts in my mouth. It is more like an ice strawberry than strawberry ice.

After few minutes, I find ice-cream inside the shaved ice. The flavor of the ice cream can make a good balance with the strawberry ice to make the taste richer. At the bottom there is some nada de coco whose fragrance will remain in your mouth for a long time after eating.

Besides the shaved ice, there are still many choices for you in   Ryoguchiya-korekiyo. If it is difficult for you to understand the menu, you can just check the sample counter. All the samples are made on the day. You don’t need to worry if there are some differences between the sample and the real food.

Hananochaya Branch: Kishu ume flavor

If Nagoya is just a transfer station for you, you also don’t need to feel bad about missing the shaved ice of Ryoguchiya-korekiyo. The branch at Nagoya station is called Hananochaya (花の茶屋 in Japanese). At this branch, there are many decorations made of bamboo which will give you that cool feeling.

Hananochaya means “flower teahouse” in Japanese. As its name suggests, the desserts on sale here are cute and colorful like the flowers.

Maybe they chose Hokkaido milk flavor as the shop limited edition for the same reason.

However, following the staff’s recommendation, I chose the ume (plum) flavor, one of the basic flavors. When it comes to ume, my impression is that of an acid taste. Even after choosing it, I’m still a bit worried.

When the Ume shave ice is put in front of me, I can even feel my teeth hurt!

But as soon as I start to eat it, all my worries disappear. What a surprise!. The taste is not acid at all. Instead, it is unusually sweet. Even the ume, which is on top of the shaved ice, is just like sugar. It melts as soon as I bite into it.

If you prefer a lighter taste, I’m pretty sure the ume flavor is what you want.

If you feel like more than a small dessert, there are plenty of choices here. The Kishimen(きしめん, one kind of Japanese noodle) is available too.

Of course, it is also a good place for you to have a meeting with your friends. Besides the shaved ice, there are many special delicious desserts waiting for you to try them. The menu changes with the seasons.

The Shaved ice Menu
 Basic flavor:
  Nishio matcha flavor
  Kishu ume flavor

 Shop limited flavor:
  Fukuoka strawberry flavor (Sakae Branch)
  Black sugar of Hateruma and Kinako flavor (Yagoto Branch)
  Hokkaido milk flavor (Hananochaya Branch at Nagoya Station)
  Gamagori orange flavor (Higashiyama Branch)

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