Kakigori: Japanese Shaved Ice


The summer heat brings with it opportunities to enjoy cold and frozen treats! In Japan, one of the oldest and most loved summer treats is “kakigori” or Japanese shaved ice.


Attested to even in the famous “Pillow Book (Makura no Soshi)” of the year 1000, this treat has been enjoyed by generations upon generations of Japanese people.

The word itself explains the dish very simply, “kaki” refers to the verb to chip and “kori” refers to ice.

In the times of the “Makura no Soshi”, the dish was made from frozen snow kept in “himuro”, or ancient ice house.

In the Meiji era, blocks of natural ice from frozen fresh spring water were shaped and whittled down into a bowl. At that time, it was mostly served with sugar, molasses or sweet red bean.


Since the mid 20th century these very fine and thin slices of ice have been topped with a sweet syrup for flavoring.

Nowadays, shaped shaved ice, made with a special ice cutting machine and with more toppings and ingredients is very popular.

Don’t let the heat get you down and try some “kakigori” on your next visit to Japan!

Japan foods article brought to you by Consulate General Japan in Miami