Shirokuma is a kind of kakigori(traditional Japanese shaved ice) created in Kagoshima, Japan. Kakigori is often covered with a fruit-flavored syrup but Shirokuma is made with condensed milk and topped with colorful fruit, mochi, and jellies.



Shirokuma means polar bear in Japanese but there are two theories for the origin of the name. The 1st one is that it was created in the 1930s as a street snack in Kagoshima and the name was inspired by the polar bear logo on the side of the can of condensed milk used to make it. The 2nd claim is that was created by a Kagoshima coffee shop in 1947 and named because it resembles a popular bear when looked at from above.

Shirokuma from above

Where to Eat it

Tenmonkan Mujaki is one of the most famous spots for Shirokuma. The menu offers a variety of kakigori and hot foods.

Tenmonkan Mujaki

But from the decorations, its pretty clear what people come here for.

Polar bear and Shirokuma display at Tenmonkan Mujaki

I recommend getting the kurobuta shabu shabu(Berkshire pork hotpot) and Shirokuma set. The set will let you try two famous Kagoshima dishes! Kagoshima is famous for its Berkshire pigs, undisputed as the most delicious tasting pork in Japan. Shabu Shabu is a dish where thinly sliced meat and vegetables are boiled in a pot in front of you. As for Shirokuma, go for the classic.

Kurobuta Shabu Shabu

Cups versions of Shirokuma fill the freezers of convenience stores and is a popular treat for sweet tooths all over Japan. But if you have the chance, go to Kagoshima and try the original version, a treat that goes beyond simple nostalgia and is loved by the young and old.

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