Tokyo is packed full of delightful little neighborhoods, each with their own specialties. One of our favorite little neighborhoods is Tsukishima, renowned for Monja Street, an area overflowing with monjayaki restaurants. Located not far from Tsukiji Fish Market, it’s a great place for lunch when spending the day around Tokyo Bay.
But after eating a meal of monjayaki, you may have a hankering for something sweet. Fortunately, Cool Sweets, one of the best kakigori (shaved ice) places we’ve found yet, is located right on Monja Street! We recently stopped by to grab some photos and video of their delightful treats and highly recommend that you do too!
▼ Heaven for monjayaki fans
Whether it’s your first time in Japan or you’re an old hand, a trip to Tsukishima’s Monja Street is always a recipe for fun. The food is delicious and the neighborhood has a certain welcoming charm to it that makes wandering through the alleyways and along the banks of the Sumida River a real treat. The de facto center of Monja Street is the intersection where Tokyo’s oldest koban (mini-police station) stands.
▼ Tiny but adorable!
However, if you turn left at the koban (when walking towards it from the number 10 exit of Tsukishima Station) and head about a block and a half down the street, you’ll come to a little cafe called Antique. Originally two separate locations, Cool Sweets was recently combined with Antique to make one spectacular, delicious stop for all your kakigori and sweets needs!
▼ Despite the name, there are no old-fashioned curios on sale here!
Cool Sweets offers seven flavors of kakigori, but this isn’t your typical shaved ice with flavored syrup poured over it. For one thing, the shaved ice is actually frozen yogurt! In addition to this, at the bottom of each cup is a thick layer of rich, smooth custard. There’s also Cool Sweets’ specialty syrup (including one layer in the middle of the shaved ice and on one top) and dried fruit, which is sprinkled over it like a crown. And as amazing as all that sounds (and it is amazing), there’s actually a secret hidden in the syrup!
▼ Flavors include: Apple, orange, raspberry, berry, lemon, mango, and nagomi.
While most shaved ice syrup is a combination of flavor and sweetness, Cool Sweets adds another dimension to their kakigori by including a certain amount of sourness! If you’re a fan of sweet-and-sour treats like tarts, this will be just about the best thing you’ll have all week (as someone who loves sweet and sour desserts, I may be a bit biased). And in case you’re wondering how the sourness is achieved, it seems that a careful amount of orange vinegar is included in the syrup recipes!
Of course, each of the flavors has varying degrees of sweet and sourness. For example, the lemon flavor pictured above has an even mixture, while my personal favorite raspberry is far into sour territory, all while still maintaining its sweetness and deliciousness. One spoonful of Cool Sweets’ raspberry kakigori is like getting hit in the mouth with a mallet made of eye-widening tarts!
You can get your kakigori in a small or medium size, with the small costing 400 yen (about US$3.30) and the medium coming in at 550 yen (around $4.60).
If you’re not in the mood for something fruity, you can always try the nagomi flavor, which replaces the fruit and custard with sweet bean paste and matcha (green tea) syrup. That might sound unusual if you’re not used to Japanese-style sweets, but it’s surprisingly good and is actually one of their top sellers!
▼ Shaving some frozen yogurt
▼ Carefully molding it into a delicious mound
▼ Hey! Stop trying to lick your screen!
The experience of eating a cup of Cool Sweets kakigori is like a short but exciting journey. Your first bite will be sweet…but with a surprising sour kick. As you dig deeper, you’ll get more sweet and more sour until you hit the rich, creamy custard bed rock, at which point your tongue just gives up and slips into a state of total euphoria. At least, that’s been my experience every time we’ve stopped by.
▼ It’s even better than it looks, and it looks amazing.
▼ We also got a video of the staff preparing our delicious treats!
Throughout the day, Antique operates mostly as a cafe, with a focus on their amazing kakigori. At night, though, it functions more like a bar, serving wine and other items, though you can still get kakigori at any time.
▼ There’s even a chandelier! You know you’re somewhere classy when there’s a chandelier.
With the temperature dropping and winter on the horizon, you may be tempted to wait for summer to head to Antique, but we’d say you shouldn’t wait to go—you’ll love this delicious, rich take on traditional kakigori no matter how cold it gets outside.
Cool Sweets / クールスウィーツ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukishima 3-19-4
Open 12:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
All photos © RocketNews24