Matcha – the name and title behind everything green in this country. Mainly sweets and ice cream. Many days I was intrigued by it, vaguely knowing what it was but not quite wanting to try this green tee in the form of ice cream. A small tourist shop outside the temples in Kyoto was selling it, and perhaps it was the line of other enthusiastic westerners that encouraged me to tag along and give it a try. Surprisingly enough, it tastes exactly like green tee. A bit bitter at first, then a bit sweet, then you realize it`s ice cream. I would probably not rank it amongst my favourite 3 of ice cream flavours like the Japanese ice cream association has (yes, that’s a thing), I am clearly too much of a Ben & Jerry`s peanut butter and chocolate fudge loving American, and not a big fan of green tea anyway, but during the walk between temples and tea houses along the Philosophers Path it did fit in very well.
Meanwhile, in Kawagushiko, a small town outside of Tokyo that hosts the last train station before Mt. Fuji and is the ideal tourist spot for pictures of the iconic volcano, there lies a small and seemingly random ice cream shop, with a collection of wooden benches out front. Upon closer inspection, it is a somewhat famous little shop that is the home of Lavender Ice Cream.
I wouldn`t have stopped there myself – it really does seem like a random stop – but having made friends with a local I didn`t have much of a choice. Not only did she insist I try some, she also insisted on paying. So was it good ice cream? To be honest, it reminded me a little bit of the little lavender pouches people use to keep moths of their clothes. Worth it? Yes, probably. It`s something different and new and a bit strange and purple. And with a view on the lake shimmering with the last rays of the setting sun on one side and the silhouette of Mt Fuji on the other, no ordinary ice cream flavour would do.