By Hisae Yamada
Among the many popular kakigori bars and cafes in Tokyo, Yukiusagi is truly a hidden gem. Queues at this Setagaya cafe often get quite long, particularly in the middle of summer when the heat is quite intense. And as is the case with popular places, media attention creates more popularity. Courtesy of the many articles and reports about Yukiusagi, people come from everywhere to try the kakigori here.
What is kakigori?
Kakigori is a popular shaved ice dessert in Japan similar to Korean bingsu or American shaved/water ice. Shaved ice is flavoured with syrups and condensed milk. Slived fruits and other ingredients are also added. Good kakigori has a cotton-candy like texture, looking fluffy and like a small pile of fresh snow.
A creative menu
The restaurant is known for its creative kakigori flavour ideas. The queues here can see you wait for up to two hours so while you wait your turn to order, you can skim through the books the cafe has available in its little library to see what kinds of kakigori Yukiusagi have created in the past. It's quite interesting.
You'll find that Yukiusagi offers 'limited-time' and seasonal flavours. At the time of writing, the salted caramel kakigori was the limited-time flavor. Regular flavours such as matcha milk and strawberry milk are extremely popular. With their shaved ice piled quite high on a small bowl, the kakigori at Yukiusagi is most definitely social media friendly.
Though the menu is written only in Japanese, the pictures help and make the kakigori look delicious. Of course, you may order the edamame kakigori thinking that it is matcha... Don't worry. The staff are very friendly and helpful and you'll have absolutely no problem in pointing at what someone else in the cafe has ordered and saying, "One, please!"
When the heat is on, try heading to Setagaya to cool off with Yukiusagi kakigori.
From Shibuya Station, take Bus 12 all the way to Shinmachi Itchome Bus Stop. From there, it is only a 1-minute walk. You can also take the Tokyu-Den-entoshi Line to Komazawa-Daigaku Station and head out the Komazawa Exit or the Sakura-Shinmachi Station and head out the North Exit.
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