Softcream: An Essential Japanese Summer Treat

The sunny season in Japan comes with a few must-dos, including hunting down all the different softcream cones and flavors

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There are a handful of scenes that capture the essence of a Japanese summer: The jingly sound of furin wind chimes contrasted with blaring cicadas, the sweet taste of watermelon on the beach, humid evenings spent strolling around in colorful yukata, admiring bon odori dancers during the annual matsuri parades, watching fantastical fireworks – and, of course, cooling down with a delicious softcream.

True, softcream is a year-round delicacy, cool and refreshing in summer but never too frosty for autumn or winter. However, softcream having countless flavors, there are some versions that are perfect for a summer palate. You can opt for fruity flavors like mango, or tart and sour like lemon and kiwi.

New Summer Softcream Series

This summer, there’s something extra to look forward to: The Nippon Softcream series by Nissei lends a particularly Japanese look and feel to the lineup. We simply love the brand-new two-tone cone, with its red and white halves folding over each either (almost like the two sides of a yukata overlap).

Then, the beautiful new cone sleeves come in three groups and nine different designs, including three Japanese patterns, three kimono patterns, plus illustrations of cherry blossoms, Mt Fuji and summer fireworks. To top it off, there’s a new Hokkaido azuki bean flavor for a Japan-inspired softcream experience. 

How to Spot a Softcream Seller?

When strolling around looking for a softcream shop, do you know how to spot the sellers? A big plastic softcream cone placed in front of the store is the beacon of sweetness. The plastic softcream in the cone is usually white, although we have occasionally spotted rare green or pink ones.

The cone can be either pointy or with a flat bottom, like the original cones that Nissei introduced in Japan during the 1950s. Another surefire way to tell if a store sells softcream from Nissei is spotting their two mascots Nikkun and Seichan. The retro-looking boy and girl characters holding a cone of softcream are a nostalgic childhood throwback for most Japanese people. 

Riding that nostalgia wave, let’s not forget it was in summer when Japan and softcream first met – at an Independence Day pre-event on July 3, 1951. So when you head out and grab a swirl of softcream, spare a thought for that fateful moment, which in the end has led to so many more special, shared experiences.


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