Here are All the Reasons Why Japanese Soft Serve Is the Best

From the rich ingredients used to the heavenly taste that lingers on your mouth, this ultra-creamy dessert is hard to beat!

Photos by
Mimi Tiu and Blanche Yu 

Pardon the pun, but we literally have a soft spot for Japanese soft serve ice cream. Found practically everywhere (from mom and pop shops to cafés and restaurants), soft serve ice cream is one of the go-to desserts by both locals and tourists. Trust us when we say that your Japan adventure won’t be complete without eating at least one “softcream” (or
sofutokuriimu, as the locals call it).

As if you need any more convincing, here are five reasons why Japanese soft serve is a must-try!

Instagrammable appearance

The Japanese make twirling layers of soft ice cream over a cone look so easy! But if you break down the treat, it’s not a simple as it appears to be. There is an art to swirling the not-so-frozen dessert over its edible container without going over the rim, adding just enough silky layers without becoming lopsided, and ending with a perfectly pointed tip. Some Japanese shops go the extra mile by offering a slice of cake or edible gold leaf wrapped over the ice cream, making it appear even more epic!  

Moncher’s soft serve ice cream can be enjoyed with a side of chocolate roll cake.

Check out the Instagram hashtag
#japanesesoftserve to see some amazing examples. Snapped moments before it melted, the glorious and symmetrical way the soft serve ice cream sits on the cone will make you wish you had one in your hand at this very moment. 

Premium ingredients

Milk and cream are two key elements that make up soft serve ice cream, and in Japan, they don’t scrimp on finding the best sources for these materials.

A popular Japanese softcream brand available in Tokyo and Osaka, Cremia uses only fresh, high-fat cream from Hokkaido—a Japanese prefecture known for producing first-grade dairy products. The milk soft serve has a velvety smooth, slightly thicker texture that delights the taste buds and comes in an exquisite langue de chat cone (think buttery lengua de gato cookie in conical form). Sold at 500 JPY (approximately 250 PHP), Cremia isn’t cheap by our standards, but it is absolutely worth the price and the calories. 

For an additional ¥30 JPY (about ?15), you can top up your Cremia soft serve with matcha or cocoa powder.

Delightful flavors

From the usual suspects matcha, wasabi, and coffee to more uncommon variants such as sweet potato, miso, and tofu, the Japanese offer a wide array of tastes that can cater to every kind of foodie. If you can’t decide if you’d like something sweet or savory, some stores encourage you to get multiple flavors by twisting two variants into a cone. If you’re looking for something more extreme, Daily Chico in Tokyo, Japan offers eight different flavors in one cone: strawberry, coffee, milk, chocolate, matcha, banana, grape, and ramune (lemonade) soda. 


The Roastery by Nozy Coffee offers coffee (extracted from pure coffee beans) and milk soft serve twist. 

This high-protein tofu and black sesame soft serve is offered right outside Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Light and refreshing taste

No matter which flavor you choose, expect your soft serve to err towards the subtle side. The Japanese pride themselves in making delicate-tasting soft serve ice cream that can be enjoyed by one or shared by many whichever the season may be.  

Delicious down to the last bite

A cone makes or breaks the soft serve ice cream eating experience. If it’s too soft, it has the tendency of shattering as soon as the cream melts and you’ll have to rush eating it. If it’s too tough to chew, you might just end up scooping out the ice cream and ditching the cone in the nearest trash bin.

Japanese cones tend to be light, crunchy, and with just a hint of sweetness that complements the softcream’s flavor. If you decide on indulging in soft serve ice cream, might as well get it with a sugar cone, waffle cone, or even as a wafer biscuit sandwich to get the full experience! 

Tofu soft serve ice cream encased between two thin layers of wafer biscuit.

Why do you love Japanese soft serve ice cream? Share your favorite brands!

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