Nishizawa is a trained shaved ice master. Shimabukuro is a talented pottery artist. Together they make the shop Ruan + Shimairo. It is located on Miyagi Island and serves some of the best shaved ice in Okinawa!
Throughout Japan you will find “shaved ice” or Kakigori parlors. Think of these cold treats as an “adult snowcone”. The ice can be topped with flavoring, much like the US snowcone or topped with fruit, condensed milk and fruit syrups. They also served some contain a sweet red kidney bean center. Sounds a little different but it is pretty tasty. The ice is not crushed, its actually shaved paper thin and piled high. It is the delicacy of the ice shavings with the very fresh flavors of the handmade toppings that make this parlor extra special among visitors and locals. Truthfully I hadn’t had shaved ice anywhere else. I didn’t really see the appeal. I am not much for icecream, and when I am craving dessert its usually a cookie or cake. But after finishing an Art walk in the heat of mid day Okinawa I decided to finally try it. I am in love with it. Who knew shaved ice could be so yummy. I had the mango, they were sold out of nearly every flavor, and they have a ton of options!
Tsubasa Nishizawa worked and mastered the process of shaving the ice at one of the most popular shops on mainland Japan, Noan, and makes ice daily according to the heat and humidity! I mean, who would have thought so much was involved in shaved ice. Apparently not me.
I have seen this place several times on the way to my Ikei beach. Truthfully, the shaved ice is not what caught my eye. It was the pottery. I am a sucker for craft and that is something that Okinawa does extremely well. I just love it! Loveitloveitloveit!! I also read that you can go check out Katshushi Shimaukuro studio and watch him work. It hasn’t been open on my attempts, when I asked they said hopefully he will be working in October. The pottery is simple in the Kakigori parlor, made specifically as a vessel for the dessert that is served in it. Wide mouthed, bright island colors and thick creamy glazes reminded me of 50’s style icecream parlors. Complete with little handles to drink up every last shaving. You can purchase the bowls in the shop, in his studio he has far more items to choose from.
Carefully crafted Kakigori, pottery and even utensils (the spoons are crafted by a metal artist), I really enjoy being surrounded by people who appreciate the work that goes into making.