In the land of the rising sun, a Japanese fish ice cream is called taiyaki aisukurimu (たい焼きアイスクリーム) and the shorter version is taiyaki aisu (たい焼きアイス). In other words, it’s simply a taiyaki with ice cream filling.
The typical taiyaki is served fresh and warm from the fish-shaped mold, which is perfect for the colder months of the country. As for taiyaki ice cream, it’s something to enjoy during the hot summer season. Let’s discover more about this delectable dessert.
Imuraya Makes Japanese Fish Ice Cream
We can’t talk about Japanese fish ice cream without mentioning Imuraya, the one behind the popular product. Imuraya is a food company that manufactures different items, including traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi), steamed food (which was even featured in the game Yakuza), processed food, and many more.
They are known for making various types of ice cream using traditional Japanese ingredients such as mochi and azuki. If you’re hanging out in the country’s local convenience stores, you will easily find their product called Yawamochi (やわもち).
Imuraya’s fish ice cream was introduced in 1986. The company uses an azuki paste that’s not so sweet and combines it with a crispy wafer for a rich flavor. You also get to enjoy a chocolate coating within the dessert, which improves the taste and adds more crunchiness to it.
Taiyaki Aisu by Imuraya
Imuraya is proud to deliver a product that harmonizes tsubuan (chunky red bean paste) and vanilla ice cream. But there’s actually more inside this Japanese fish ice cream.
The layer that takes the shape and form of a fish is called monakagawa (もなか皮). Monaka is a Japanese wagashi with a mochi that’s wafer-like on the outside and azuki beans within. The label specifically says kawa (皮) so it’s just the skin of the monaka that’s being used.
The next layer is a chocolate coating. Finally, the innermost layers are tsubuan and vanilla ice cream.
Imuraya’s Japanese fish ice cream is being sold in individual 130 ml packs and a box of 5 pieces. You can enjoy its fillings right from the head down to its tail. And if you’re among the lucky ones, you might get a taiyaki aisu that winks at you.
Even the Japanese don’t know where to find Imuraya’s Japanese fish ice cream.
While we’d like to say that you can purchase fish ice cream from Japan’s convenience stores and supermarkets, the truth is these are hard to find. Even the locals think so too!
They are indeed popular in the country. Yet despite being known by a lot of people and being a long-standing product of Imuraya, the locals can’t easily purchase even one pack in their area.
If you type たい焼き アイス on Google, you’ll find たい焼きアイス どこ (literally translates to “taiyaki ice cream where”) among the autocomplete results. In other words, even the Japanese want to know where to find one!
Fortunately, a few people were able to purchase this ice cream. They documented their findings on social media because this product is that rare.
Here are the places where people have spotted the seemingly evasive taiyaki ice cream by Imuraya.
According to a user, 7-Eleven’s ice cream corner has it. You won’t always see it available, but if you check from time to time, you might get lucky. The only catch about this claim is that the user said that they bought it in Thailand. But if Thailand’s 7-Eleven has it, then it’s likely Japan’s 7-Eleven carries it as well.
Some consumers found this ice cream in their local Lawson convenience store. Pretty much like in the case of 7-Eleven, it takes luck to find one. If you can search in Japanese, you can try investigating online whether or not the neighborhood’s Lawson carries this product. Alternatively, check the ice cream section from time to time to confirm.
According to a reviewer who tried it, they were able to purchase one from Ministop. Unfortunately, the review didn’t mention the specific location.
We’ve mentioned three of the country's prominent convenience stores in this list. Therefore, FamilyMart will likely have it too. If you’re keen on finding one, it’s best to check out every convenience store every chance you get.
You need to try your luck in big shopping centers like Aeon Mall as well. Since malls often come with a large ice cream section and carry a variety of products, you might discover Imuraya’s Japanese fish ice cream is available in this mall.
This is another place with a large selection of ice cream products. Check the supermarkets in the neighborhood to see if Imuraya’s fish ice cream is available. A number of supermarkets offer boxes of five taiyaki ice cream packs, so get it in case you feel that you won’t be satisfied with just one.
Remember to ask the staff because there will be times when the grocery store carries it but may just be out of stock.
Glico’s Chocolate Taiyaki Ice Cream
Imuraya’s fish ice cream may be the most popular. But it doesn’t mean that it’s the only one available in Japan.
Japanese food company Glico, under their Smile Plus product line, offers chocolate taiyaki ice cream. Its filling includes chocolate ice cream with a crispy chocolate layer at the top.
Taiyaki NYC in New York’s Chinatown
A Japanese-inspired dessert made rounds online in 2016. But unlike the typical taiyaki ice cream we’ve discussed above, New York’s version features a fish-shaped cone with a wide mouth and is topped with soft-serve ice cream. This product is by Taiyaki NYC located in the city’s Chinatown.
A box of taiyaki ice cream.
If you’re looking for a classic Japanese fish ice cream that comes with the country’s traditional flavors, you’ll probably have a hard time spotting one. But don’t give up the quest on finding that taiyaki ice cream.
Look for it in every store you find. Ask the staff if the shop carries the fish ice cream. Who knows, you might be able to get an entire box and enjoy the treat five times! And once you find one, don’t forget to share the information on social media. Tell the users where you specifically discovered it.
Trust us, people (including the locals) will appreciate your simple deed!