Kakigori is a classic summertime shaved ice dessert in Japan, and as the popularity of this dessert continues to soar, Tokyo gets even more inventive and experimental with the flavours and toppings. We've rounded up some of the quirkiest, over-the-top shaved ice creations in town. So if you're up for testing your taste buds, you'll want to give these icy creations a try.
Edamame milk from Otona Kurogi
A popular side dish and izakaya staple, edamame beans get a reinvention at Otona Kurogi as a seasonal shaved ice topping. Although this savoury ingredient may seem strange when used in a sweet application, the creamy mixture of mashed edamame and milk is surprisingly pleasant and offers just the right amount of sweetness. The fluffy shaved ice is doused in sweetened milk before being topped with the edamame mixture and finished off with a sprinkling of whole edamame beans and crispy rice bits. Dig in and you'll hit a layer of adzuki bean paste underneath the mountain of ice. You'll find this peculiar dessert at Otona Kurogi, the sister shop of Kuriya Kashi Kurogi, at the Hongo Campus of the University of Tokyo. ¥1,800
Eggplant red wine at Azabu Yasaigashi
Known for its veggie-based sweets and desserts, Azabu Yasaigashi's summer shaved ice offerings include one unusual creation: eggplant red wine. The wine really shines through in this peculiar dessert, where small morsels of eggplant are combined with red wine to make a rich compote that's almost jam-like. The topping works great with the light and fluffy ice, which is drizzled with a cream cheese sauce. You should also give the other veggie flavours a try: cherry tomato, spinach matcha, and more. ¥1,000
Gorgonzola fig at Neiroya Jinbocho
If you appreciate the punchy taste of Gorgonzola cheese, this kakigori is for you. Served at ramen and kakigori shop Neiroya in Jinbocho, this cheesy kakigori is one of the seasonal flavours that are available from 2pm. The accompanying flavour (to the cheese) may change depending on the week, but expect seasonal (summer) fruit like fig (pictured above). The house-made Gorgonzola cheese-milk is layered over the ice before the fruity topping. A perfect balance of salty and sweet, this surprisingly delicious kakigori will have you coming back for more. ¥1,250
Chocolate kakigori at Minimal Bean to Bar
This jam-packed kakigori from chocolate purveyors Minimal is the ideal summer treat for chocolate lovers. It's made with bean-to-bar chocolate from Trinidad and Tobago, which has underlying fresh citrus notes that's perfect for the summer. It also has some unusual fillings hidden underneath all that ice: jelly made from cacao fruit pulp, chewy tapioca pearls, a scoop of chocolate ice cream and strangely enough, sweet mung beans, which add a texture similar to adzuki beans. ¥980
Spaghetti kakigori at Kihachi Aoyama
Okay, this one is so leftfield we are intrigued and apprehensive at the same time. Not exactly a dessert, these pasta dishes are topped with shaved ice to help cool you down on a sweltering summer day. Japan already has an obsession with hiyashi chuka cold ramen noodles, so why should pasta be any different? There are four 'snow ice pasta' options here: Santa Fe shrimp and avocado; yuzu and tomato tuna tartare; veggie and chicken salad pasta with salmon sauce; and the wildly popular uni (sea urchin) and asparagus carbonara spaghetti. Give it a try; who knows, shaved ice spaghetti might just be your new favourite summer dish. From ¥1,680
For more shaved ice desserts, see our list of Tokyo's best kakigori.