Ice Crin? Ice Cream? What’s the difference?

by Machi

For Kochi’s summer, ice crin is nessesary. Everyone thinks ice crin is Kochi’s original food,but actually it isn’t. Furthermore, everyone doesn’t know the exact differences between ice cream and ice crin.

“Oh~I want to eat ice crin!” My friend said. It was very hot and sunshine shone strongly.We were playing tennis then, and were very tired because of Kochi’s intense weather. At first, I didn’t know about ice crin ,so I replied “What’s that? You can eat ice cream”. But she said “No, It’s not ice cream. I want to eat ice crin”! The more she told me about ice crin, the more my interest grew. But I did not know the differences of between ice crin and ice cream exactly.

Ice cream’s materials are milk, sugar, and so on. At first , freeze them and mix, soaking with air and freeze again. It is very simple. There are various kinds of ice cream. In Japan, their differences depend on milk solid constituent. Ice cream’s milk solid constituent is more than 15%. Milk ice is more than 10%, lact ice is more than 3%. Ice crin’s milk solid constituent must be less than 3%. It is a kind of ice milk.

We can find colorful parasols in the Sunday market(日曜市). Usually, old men sell ice crin but some students sell them in summer vacation. Many people think it is a necessary part of Kochi’s summer. In some places [e.g. Okinawa, Akita], there are ice crin sellers too, but it is only in Kochi that there are various kinds of flavours and really vibrant ice crin situation.You will not believe how long has this situation been going on.

Ice cream came to Japan in 1869, during the Edo-period. People in Kenbei-Shisetsudan (遣米使節団) were the first people who ate ice cream. After they came back from America, they popularized ice cream to Japanese society, and they called it “Ice crin”. However, it couldn’t become popular because it was too expensive. As modern value, it was 8000 yen. Later Arinobu Fukuhara, manager of Shiseido, made them more popular in July, 1899. And more, the beginnings of Ice cream were so simple. It was like today’s ice crin. I mean ice crin is not Kochi’s original food. Then, why do many people think “Ice crin is the Kochi’s original sweets”? Because of the depression, which happened after the war, the population of ice crin seller decreased. In that depression, Kochi’s ice crin seller sold ice crin individually, freely, slowly.

Long time ago, ice crin sellers existed everywhere, and not only in Kochi. However, because of the depression, the number of sellers decreased gradually. And now, many people don’t know about ice crin, including of me and some people misunderstood them as Kochi’s original food. In that situation, how did Kochi people made make ice crin more popular?

Makoto Umebara, a famous designer who lives in Kochi, made various kinds of Kochi’s local brand-named goods. For example, There are Sunahama art museum, Umajimura-juice pressed from bitter oranges soy sauce, Katsuo no Tataki, Shimanto drama[bags made from English newspapers] are the goods he was involved in. He also made a new ice crin brand. I think it helped Kochi’s ice crin becoming more popular. After he got involved with them, “Kochi ice”, ice crin corporation in Kochi, succeeded to make a go of the business suddenly. In fact, sales in 2002 was 60 million yen. It changed to more than a hundred million yen in the next year, and even now, it keeps increasing. 95% of gross sales are got from outside of Kochi. Kochi government promotes “Chisan-gaisho(地産外商)”, it means selling goods made in Kochi outside of Kochi., and Kochi ice is the one of famous Chisan-gaisho goods.

When he makes a new design, he thinks about his identity and locale. It is different from other designers. He really thinks about local people and tries to make new ideas. I think Kochi’s ice crin became popular because Kochi’s people protected the traditional summer style. Old men come with colorful parasols, and sell ice crin, we buy and eat that, looking at the blue sky and thunderhead. We have to keep protecting this traditional and precious lifestyle.

1×1 is Kochi’s famous ice crin shop. [2-3-12 Minami harimaya chou Kochi city]. There is the shop near the Harimaya bridge. They consider that tradition, trust and taste are the most important thing. Even now, they sell ice crin outside, with parasol, like during the Showa-period. At one time, they used to sell only one flavour, but now, there are 10 flavours in that shop. For example, adzuki beans, citrus fruit, green tea, coffee are sold. They want everyone to try various kinds of flavours, however, they recommend traditional white ice crin the most anyway. Many people who are from Kochi and live outside now think 1×1’s ice crin is their home town-food because their parents often buy it and send for them. I knew many things about ice crin. This summer, I would like to go to Sunday market and 1×1 and enjoy Kochi’s ice crin with my friends.


  1. That was an interesting and deep topic even though it seemed not so historical story would come up. I’d like to try them!


  2. Dear machi,

    Your article is very enjoyable, because there are a lot of things I didn’t know.
    Such as the history of ice cream and ice crin, or kinds of them.
    The theme is also familiar with us, so I’m happy to read.
    Thank you.


  3. Hi Machi,

    I did not know the history of ice crin, or, for that matter, it is called ice crin, not ice cream. I agree that it is a summer sight: I see a number of small ice crin stands along the coast road as I drive to the beach to go surfing. When I see them, I know that summer has started. Thanks for sharing this story.


  4. I have lived in kochi since i was i didn’t know that ice crin is not so common in other parts of japan.
    But I didn’t know history of ice crin.
    You provided me a lot of imformation about ice cream and ice crin.thank you!


  5. I really enjoyed Icecrin story!
    When I entered Kochi Uni. I was surprised that
    Kochi has many icecrin shop with colorful parasol
    Iand I didn’t know the difference Ice cream and Ice crin.
    I thought it was Kochi’s dialect!!

    Thank you for shareing story!
    That was fun to read!


  6. Hi Machi,

    Your article`s title caught my eyes. Cause I did not know what is Ice Crin before I read your article.Well, I had a try before but I did not know that it called Ice Crin.Also, through your article, I learn a new thing , history of Ice Crin.

    However , Ageing Society with fewer children in Kochi is getting worse , might cause a block for the growth of Ice Crin in other prefecture . Due to the reason of population, slowly, Ice Crin will disappear from Kochi . Kochi residents should protect their traditional and try to make it as one of the Kochi food like Katsuo tataki.

    Thank for sharing a knowledge and wish Ice Crin will be more popular than present status.


  7. Hey, Machi!
    I actually have never tried ice-crin because I was kind of afraid of trying it, but I have changed my mind!
    I’ll try buying one when I see ice-crin shop next time=).
    I think it might be in Obiyamachi!
    Hopefully I try it with you, darling! hehehe
    Thanks for this interesting article!


  8. This article was so interesting that many people want to read. Because I’m from kochi, I have eaten ice crin many times. It’s nice, isn’t it?  As you know, there are some colorful parasols in kochi, especially in sunday market and Kasturahama aquarium.
    The taste and color of Ice Crin is also nice point, i think. why don’t you eat and enjoy all of them?


  9. I hope everyone will enjoy ice crin. But actually, I don’t like ice crin… Ice crin makes my throat. So I haven’t had it for a while.

    But I got interested in ice crin by reading this article. When I was a child, there were just four or five flavors, I guess. So, I wanna try a flavor which I’ve never tried.

    Your article changed my mind. Thank you.


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