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Eating out / Summer treat for all seasons

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Nankyokudo’s Anno-yakiimo shaved ice is served with pureed sweet potato, and comes topped with milk and purple sweet potato chips.

The Yomiuri ShimbunA new shaved ice shop run by residents of Hino, Tokyo, is attracting attention for its use of natural, locally produced ingredients.

The finely shaved ice melts away the moment it touches your tongue. It feels just like eating candy, with a thick sauce spread over fluffy ice.

Nankyokudo (Antarctica shop) opened in September near Minamidaira Station on the Keio Line. All of the ingredients they use are additive-free, and they try to include local products such as Hino-grown blueberries. The store boasts a wide variety of toppings, such as banana and coconut; azuki beans with matcha; and soymilk with amazake sweet sake. Seasonal fruits are also featured on the menu.

Ten Hino residents decided to open and run the shop to help revitalize the local economy, hoping to attract customers to the area. They have backgrounds in a variety of industries, including apparel, photography, cookery and design.

They knew each other beforehand and began working together to energize the local commercial shopping streets around the station after seeing many shops go out of business.

The group launched the company in July and after opening the shop, they have worked as a team, operating Nankyokudo in turns. Nail artist and member of the Nankyokudo team, Shiori Hirono first proposed opening the shop after visiting many well-known shaved ice shops and always finding lines of customers waiting to order.

“You can enjoy different flavors and ingredients that suit the season, and you can eat as many bowls as you like,” Hirono said, explaining the appeal of shaved ice.

Since customers started posting photos of Nankyokudo’s products on social media such as Instagram, more people have been visiting the shop, including some from far away. Toshihiro Aoyagi, one of the team members who manages the shop, racks his brain for new toppings and color combinations that would look good on Instagram.

“Shaved ice is perfect for Instagram,” he said.

As the number of customers has been steadily rising, the group plans to sell shaved ice at various local events.

“We want to make this shop famous for its shaved ice, with long lines of customers, while also contributing to the local community,” Aoyagi said.

Nankyokudo

Open: Noon to 6 p.m. (winter opening times)

Closed: Wednesdays and every second Thursday. For more detailed information visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Address: 7-6-32 Minamidaira, Hino, Tokyo

Phone: (042) 506-5273

Credit cards not accepted

No English menu available

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&dSpeech

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