Nature's bounty in a bowl of ice cream Kochi ice Co., Ltd.

Website: Kochi ice Co., Ltd.External site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Food

An ice cream man to his soul

Ice cream made by the CEO? Only at Kochi Ice. A native of Kochi Prefecture, Fumiya Hamamachi learned his trade from scratch when he worked as a traveling sales agent for a Japanese ice cream maker. His warm personality and easygoing nature won the hearts of many repeat customers around the nation. After several years of training and building relationships, Hamamachi saw a niche in the market. He set up Kochi Ice in 1995, a small ice cream factory in Kochi. Initially, they produced "ice crin," a traditional variety, but they were soon producing a wide range from local ingredients. Yuzu, mango, strawberry and tomato ice creams all contain fruit fresh from the local fields, where the farmers are Hamamachi's trusted partners.

Kochi Ice CEO Fumiya Hamamachi

Local yuzu citrus

Kochi Ice products made with yuzu taste fresher and fruitier

Local ingredients from nature's pantry

Kochi Ice sources all ingredients from its local stomping ground around the southern tip of Japan's Shikoku Island. Clear streams, a fresh breeze coming in from the sea and sunny mountain slopes all ensure a continuous supply of high quality fruit with a rich flavor and deep sweetness. High emphasis is placed on the traceability of ingredients and chemical-free cultivation. And Hamamachi even pays a personal visit to each farm to check cultivation conditions and the quality of the produce. "If I don't see the fields and orchards, I cannot imagine the fruit's characteristics," he says. In 2011, Kochi Ice was recognized by influential national publication Nikkei Newspaper as Japan's best producer of fruit sherbet.

Introducing Kochi's flavors to the world

Yuzu, a delicious citrus fruit peculiar to Japan, is the "fruit champion" of Kochi Ice. Its characteristic scent and flavor is the base not only for ice cream but also for the company's recent lines of juice and fruit jelly. Hamamachi's motto, "From imagination to creation," is transforming more and more locally inspired ideas into tasty products. Other flavors on offer include imo (Japanese sweet potato), sencha (a kind of green tea), chestnut, rice, and sea salt. Many Tokyoites and plenty of Japan's TV personalities are big fans of Kochi Ice's sherbets, while some of the other products are garnering increased attention from people in Singapore, Malaysia and Hawaii. But Hamamachi is keen to spread the taste even further afield. "We want to tantalize customers by offering superior quality and Japanese flavors at an economical price," he says.

Kochi Ice produces a variety of delicious items using the best of local fruits and vegetables, including jelly desserts and juices

A kaleidoscope of flavors with a Japanese touch