Sweet Potato Soft-Serve: Enjoy a Kamakura specialty
Imo YoshiCuisine: Café
Hands down, the most popular flavor of soft serve ice-cream in Kamakura is Murasaki Imo or purple sweet potato. Why is it so popular? First of all, because it is unique to Kamakura. Secondly, its color looks fantastic in photos. Thirdly, sometimes you need a little break from matcha ice-cream! And of course, let's not forget that the flavor is both exquisite and exotic.
In Kamakura, there are many shops that sell soft serve ice-cream, and during my trip to Kamakura, I tried the purple sweet potato soft serve ice-cream at "Imo Yoshi" (いも吉館). "Imo" translates as taro or potato, while "yoshi" means good luck. Imo Yoshi located a short walk away from Daibutsu (The Great Buddha) in Kotoku-in temple, so stop by before or after your visit to the temple (or both times!). The store also sells purple sweet potato croquettes, if you're feeling a little peckish as well.
I waited for a few customers in front of me to receive their orders, which gave me some time to gloss over all of the available ice-cream flavors. The summer season special, "Ramune" (Japanese soda) flavored ice-cream looked just as appetizing, but I wanted to try the Kamakura special. I ordered the purple sweet potato flavored ice cream (¥350), which I did not find not overbearingly sweet as some Japanese desserts are, and the soft serve ice-cream was perfectly but not overly creamy. The unique flavor of the purple sweet potato really shone through the ice-cream, and definitely exceeded my expectations. For those unfamiliar with the taste of purple sweet potato, the root vegetable offers a mellow, gentle sweet taste. The purple sweet potato tastes creamy by itself, and unlike the strong flavor of orange yams or even the yellow Japanese sweet potatoes, the purple sweet potato is quite mild. However, that does not mean that its taste is bland. The taste requires a bit more time to settle on your palette, and requires a little more searching and identifying on your taste buds, but the effort is worth it, as the taste is incredible.
It was my first time trying purple sweet potato ice-cream, and Imo Yoshi's ice-cream was unforgettable. It was a hot summer's day when I tried the ice-cream, I was saddened by the fact that some of it melted down my fingers!
2 Chome-8-4 Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, 248-0006