Dough-Doughnut's entrance (Photo: S. C. Kurokawa)

Dough-Doughnuts, Utsunomiya

Foodies' alert: Gourmet doughnuts and kakigori

Dough-Doughnut's entrance (Photo: S. C. Kurokawa)
Stacy Kurokawa   - 4 min read

"Let's try Dough-Doughnuts' shaved ice!" suggests Tomoko. My husband is away on business so I have the car. The temperature outside is in the mid 30s; humidity has dampened and wrinkled my thin cotton tank top and has my skirt clinging to my legs. I’m game, but with one reservation, parking. The couple times I previously visited Dough-Doughnuts, I went by bicycle and parked at the door. “I’ll show you where the parking is,” Tomoko enthuses. I imagine maneuvering our big family car into a cubby-hole, but concede. Tomoko is treating.

Tomoko has wanted to try this shaved ice since she read about it in a Japanese foodie blog. She tells me that Dough-doughnuts’ shaved ice, known as kakigori in Japan, is made from special natural ice, sourced from Oku-Nikko, made the way they made ice before electricity. Tomoko saw a TV show about making this kind of ice: it is frozen outside in the winter from mountain spring water then stored in a insulated shed. This is one reason Dough Doughnut's shaved iced costs double the usual price; I’m glad Tomoko’s treating. I am not at all surprised our neighborhood bakery serves such a special dessert and I can guess it is not the usual food coloring sugar syrup that goes on top. I am not disappointed.

Cars clog the road in front of the signed parking entrance. It is noon. We wonder if we will even get a space. The lot is shared with Far East Kitchen (recommended!). After some delay, we swing in. It is an unpaved space, perhaps where a house once stood; the lot comfortably accommodates about a dozen cars. I get my choice of two spaces and I easily back in. Tomoko shows me a hidden shortcut at the rear of the parking lot leading back onto Momiji Street. Dough-doughnuts is small, and blends in. We scan the roadside for the bakery sign. The heat beats down on us. “Is it open?” Alas, it is. Later I find it is open daily from 10 till 6 except Wednesdays and Thursdays, when it is closed.

Of the six flavors of shaved ice toppings, lemon-honey, “kuromitsu” (Japanese black sugar syrup like a fine molasses,) or macha (green tea) with azuki beans will set you back Y600 while the cherry, peach and mango which are served with sweetened condensed milk cost Y780. Beware, the menu is in Japanese only.

My son and I order the lemon-honey. I lift him up so he can see over the swinging saloon-type doors into the neat little kitchen where a large block of ice is shaved using a contraption with a crank handle.

Tomoko’s order comes first, topped with chunks of succulent mango. I try to contain my three-year old son’s excitement .Then ours arrives topped with finely-sliced lemon slices. Each serving comes with the syrup topping in a small glass bowl to the side. We drizzle lemon honey on top of ours. Tomoko discovers that not only does hers come with coconut milk but under the shaved ice, she finds custard.

A customer pops in the door asking about parking, Some ladies enter with kids. Too soon our kaki-gori is all gone. Tomoko goes back to the counter to get some of the signature doughnuts to go. I had been calling them tofu doughnuts, but Tomoko reads the back of the bakery postcard I pick up and tells me they are made from Canadian organic soy flour. Dough doughnuts come in such flavors as walnut maple, yuzu, sweet potato, and green tea and cost from Y180 to Y230 each. I have made the mistake before of eating three in one day. Don’t do that. They sit more heavily in your stomach than airy-fairy, sugary flour donuts.

Dough-doughnuts is a quiet, airy, bright, pleasant place to relax with a friend over conversation either with a gourmet doughnut and coffee, or during the hottest months, while indulging in a high-quality, beautifully presented shaved ice dessert like we did.

Stacy Kurokawa

Stacy Kurokawa @stacy.kurokawa

It's with a love of adventure that I came to Japan in 2003.  I  love getting off the beaten track and getting around by bicycle.  In 2020, I qualified as a Forest Therapy Guide.  I guide in parks in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture nowadays.