Charmingly retro polka dot designs including penguins -- frozen treats in delicious packaging from Japanese Hokkyoku!

Cool Packaging: Frozen Summer Treats From Japan

Hot hot heat! In this sticky Japanese summer we keep crawling into the local combini, a convenience store, in search for frozen treats. They are simply perfect, lighter and more refreshing than ice cream, and there are so many different ones to choose from. Today PingMag will cool you off with some delightful packaging.

Written by Ryoko
Translated by Kevin Mcgue

The Beginning

Frozen treats began to be produced as a substitute for ice cream after World War II, when almost all dairy products were designated for military use. A popular simple treat at the time was merely ice mixed with sweetener, into which a pair of disposable chopsticks were stuck. Very basic, but it made folks happy in those tough times. Beginning in 1952, treats with milk finally began to appear, and soon shops sold a great variety of frozen delights.

Tasty from left: Imuraya’s “Adzuki Bar,” an old favourite, the pastel “Colourful Ramune Bar Melon Soda” by Morinaga, a colourful purple “Adzuki Bean Bar” package by Tosa Ice Cream and the “Yukijirushi Milk Bar” by Lotte.

It’s Healthy!

Don’t forget that here are a lots of refreshing frozen goodies with a real fruit pulp. For example, Andeico has a tropical treat called simply “Fruit and Vegetables.” Meiji used the package design of their popular “Hi-Lemon” candies for their fruity “Hi-Lemony Bar.” Akagi offers a “Gatsunto-Pineapple” which likes to project a healthy image through a vitamin C supplement. The “Yogurt Flavour Bar” by 7-11 Japan claims to be soft on the stomach — and soft on your wallet. It costs a mere ¥62!

Clockwise from upper left: The “Fruit & Vegetable” treat seems to be especially popular with women; the “Hi-Lemon Ice Cream Bar;” the “Yogurt Flavour Bar;” and “Gatsunto-Pineapple.”

Gari-Gari-Kun’s Ice Lolly

One of the long time favourites in Japan is “Gari-Gari-Kun” (“Mr. Crunchy”) by Akagi. Its equally long time devoted fans mark its 25th anniversary this year which just goes to show the impact of a good mascot for a product. Check out the official site of an energetic Gari-Gari-Kun who makes kids happy in a playful way.

“Gari-Gari-Kun” (“Mr. Crunchy”) — quite a voracious one of a kind.

Recently there have been lots of new Gari-Gari-Kun flavours, such as Japanese pear, pineapple, and chocolate. But the most fun is finishing the popsicle and finding “you are a winner” printed on the stick. It used to mean that you could get another popsicle for free. Nowadays, you can get a free Gari-Gari-Kun T-shirt or mobile phone strap. Okay, we’re in for prizes!

Gluttonous Gari-Gari-Kun swallows Japanese pears and pineapple slices whole.

Fancy! On the chocolate flavour package, Gari-Gari-Kun is dressed for a summer festival.

Speaking of popsicles with prizes, we have to mention the Home Run Bar by Meito: It first appeared 50 years ago, when baseball was already popular. The name, along with baseball designs on the package, made this a big hit with kids. Until today, its design is largely unchanged. Same goes for the popsicle: If you find “home run” written on the stick after you finish, you can get another one for free!

“Home Run Bars” with nostalgic designs. Note that they are only about 15 centimetres long.

Frozen Gifts

Hokkyoku is a famous frozen treat from Osaka and a popular summer gift. Its company has been operating for over 60 years now, which may explain the popularity of the treat’s classic taste. And let’s not forget the package design featuring a penguin logo surrounded by bright polka dots.

Hokkyoku’s sticks are made from cyprus wood. But look at the whole set: The box, clear wrappers, and the treats themselves are all so cute!

Horai551 is another frozen treat from Osaka with clear wrappers for you to catch a glimpse of the cold treat inside. This one features an uber-cute illustration of a polar bear! Hopefully we have the real ones for long…

Take him home! A polar bear logo, by Horai551.
The cutest polar bear also appears on the box. It comes with milk and adzuki beans, chocolate, and other flavours.

Typical Japanese Ingredients

In Japan, popular flavours would naturally have the typical Japanese ingredients of green tea or sweet adzuki beans. Kyo-Hayashiya, a popular cafe in Kyoto — a city rich in tea culture –, collaborated with the combini chain Circle K to create the “Green Tea Adzuki Bar,” with a package expressing the luxury of the green tea culture. The bold Japanese calligraphy and photographs of real Japanese sweets from Marunaga confectionery on the packaging equally appeal to adults. See for yourself:

“Green Tea Adzuki Bar:” an elegant package featuring traditional Japanese calligraphy.
Traditional Japanese sweets such as moji and adzuki beans are the mouth watering display to allure the consumer.

Extravagant Shapes

Finally, we found the “Big Watermelon Bar” and the “Big Cantaloupe Bar” from Lotte. Look at their package designs that feature these two juicy fruits underneath a synthetically clear blue summer sky. The Watermelon Bar also has a hippo wearing a hat! It can’t get any better… It can: The treats are indeed shaped like slices of watermelon and cantaloupe.

Popsicles that are shaped like slices of watermelon and cantaloupe.

They are huge!

Thanks to everyone at Hokkyoku and 551Horai for their help. Folks, if you see something, we still keep looking for the perfect cold treat for summer!

  • rey-o

    I love the packaging on Japanese snacks! It could be made out of something completely undesirable but the way it’s presented makes me hungry for it.

  • roku

    love the watermelon seeds in the last image. just thinking about eating one of those…

  • roku


  • yongfook

    mmmmmm green tea azuki bar looks om nom nom nom

    watermelon lolly is just too cute.

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  • nyuudo

    I got to find that cantaloupe flavor!!… just kick my butt!

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  • Moritz

    Hey, where can you find these in London?

  • Jim

    I love going to the konbini and buying these! I really like the “BIG” its like a waffle stuffed with ice cream.

  • Sadwhiteboy

    Hell ya! sometime i wish i’m Asian. Everything is so much better in da East

  • Rafael Masoni

    This couldn’t be cooler!

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    Awesome site. It’s a feast for the eyes. Great design ideas. The Japanese really get it! Cool…cool stuff.

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  • TheJunction

    These photos are great, the popsicles look extremely delicious! It was certainly cool to write about them… Especially in this heat.

  • Flavio Hebaru

    I love Japanese Packading Design.
    There is a candy in Brazil which its package is quite influenced by Japan.

  • Sadie

    Does anyone know of a frozen ice candy in an orange bottle with a black lid with orange images on it…. several flavors… Japanese writing on it

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