Johnson Town Ice Cream Factory

Authentic gelato in an American town

By Sherilyn Siy    - 2 min read

Johnson Town is a photogenic community of mostly one-story clapboard houses that look straight out of an American suburb. You will want to stroll leisurely to admire the well manicured lawns, enviable front porches, and strategically placed wood barrels that are decorative and useful. Shops reflect the general atmosphere of Johnson Town and retail specialty, vintage, handmade, or designer items from America and Europe. Restaurants and cafes offer homemade hamburgers, tacos, curries, sandwiches and baked goodies.

We visited Johnson Town on a hot July day, with perfectly blue skies that were a perfect backdrop to the painted finish of the US style Army Houses. The American flag was flying in the wind at the Johnson Town's information office. In such weather, it was hard to decide what to eat so we listlessly wandered from one restaurant and cafe to the next, browsing the menu.

Then we chanced upon Koigakubo Bakery and the Johnson Town Ice Cream Factory. The bakery is famous for using rice flour, which boasts of health benefits (compared to wheat flour), and results in smooth and fluffy bread products. While the breads look absolutely appetizing, we were drawn to the colorful refrigerated gelato display. It was hard to decide which flavor to get. The deep purple blueberry, or the bright yellow mikan which is sure to taste refreshing, the rich green of tea (made with no less than locally grown Sayama tea), or the whimsical blue of ramune.

We finally settled on the luscious red of raspberry, anticipating the sweet tart flavor as we ordered. The gelato is not cheap. A single serving costs ¥380 and select flavors cost an additional ¥60 each. The ice cream was packed into the cup, eliminating air bubbles and it was every bit as good as we were led to expect.

Getting there

Johnson Town is about an 18 minute walk or a 3 minute taxi ride from Iruma Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. Parking is available for over 86 cars. On weekdays, parking is free for the first 30 minutes, and ¥200 for every hour thereafter, capped at ¥800 for 24 hours. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, parking costs ¥200 every 30 minutes and up to ¥1,000 for 24 hours.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan. 

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Elizabeth S a week ago
A bit steep but that looks like a lot of great gelato for the price.