It’s not just an ice cream parlour, Ice Cream City is the Mecca for the frozen dessert aficionado. It’s also much more sinister than you imagine. You may think that I went there to enjoy some ice cream.
Indeed not. It was a fun and unforgettable experience. I did eat a lot of ice cream but I can’t say that I enjoyed much of it.
Ice Cream City, which is all about frozen desserts, is in Namco NamjaTown – an indoor theme park in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro area.
The park is in the Sunshine City complex and, although this theme park, it’s not appropriate for those who don’t speak Japanese as all the attractions have Japanese instructions and narration. It’s only a few dollars to enter – the attractions cost extra. For non-Japanese speakers there’s an impressive aquarium upstairs but the ice cream is the main event at NamjaTown.
The Japanese seem to be a nation of ice cream lovers, so it’s not uncommon to find some interesting flavours, You will find sea salt and red bean ice cream is on the shelves next to the regular strawberry, hazelnut, creme caramel and vanilla flavours.
At the gates of the Ice Cream City it all looks so innocent with several stalls selling fresh waffles, Turkish ice cream, soft ice cream, home made custard ice cream… things you may want to eat if you are actually hungry. When one walks though to the Cup Ice Museum – that is where the silliness begins.
This shop/gallery specialises in the most hideous ice cream flavours in the whole world. Pumpkin, teriyaki and squid is child’s play here, so I headed straight to the back for the hard core flavours. I like wasabi, I like ice cream, how bad can the two be together? Having already tried crab (vanilla ice cream with diced crabsticks and fish sauce) and wasabi (like frozen HOT wasabi) I decide it’s time for cows tongue (NUMB taste buds by this stage) and next: snake ice cream.
Who is ever in the mood for reptile ice cream? Not me. Horrid. Yuck. Chunks of snake in a sweet, frozen dairy confectionary.
I wasn’t expecting much more to be honest…
This is definitely a Japan-only experience, a great challenge for those annoying people who like to tell everyone how daring they are because they ate a snail once.
I do recommend only a taste of each seriously weird ice cream. At $3-$5 a carton it’s possible to sample all the “special” flavours before trying the nice, real desserts by the entrance. Just a taste or you’ll get quite sick!
Oh, and the worst flavour? Crab ice-cream. The combination of shellfish,sweet ice cream and artificial crab essence is truly sickening. NamjaTown is right by Ikebukuro Station, it’s easy to find. Explore NamjaTown at your own risk.