During the middle age, the shaved ice flavored with tea or various syrups (kakigori) was a luxury reserved only for the very rich: the ice blocks were collected in winter and carefully stored in ice-houses, so during summer the ice was extremely expensive.
Kakigori became accessible for ordinary people around 1900, when the first kakigori shop opened in Yokohama, using ice brought from Hakodate. Later, during the 1930’s, the first ice-shaving machine became commercially available and kakigori soon became a home-made delicacy.
In the old ice-shaving machines the cutting knives are operated by a hand-crank and, although they are quite rare today, you can still find them in the traditional areas, like the one in this photo, photographed on the Omotesando street from Miyajima. And I noticed that the ice flakes made with such machines are fine and fluffy, much better than the ones produced with electric machines…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: