Seasonal snowcones are coming back to historic Sacramento dessert shop. What’s on the menu?

A Sacramento favorite returns next month — signaling the return of warm weather and sticky fingers.

Osaka-Ya Wagashi at 2215 10th St., in Southside Park, will open its seasonal snowcone window on April 1 with popular flavors like tiger’s blood, watermelon and blue raspberry.

Osaka-Ya is one of the oldest remnants of Sacramento’s Japantown, established over 100 years ago and operating under its current managers for the past 60 years, according to assistant confectioner Owen Freiwald.

The small Japanese storefront in Southside Park sells homemade manju and mochi, sweet cakes made with rice and wheat flour and filled with bean paste, but it’s probably most well-known for its seasonal snowcones.

Etsuko Dote rings up a sale of an assortment of manju and mochi purchased by Alan Nakagawa, center, and his parents Mary and Fred at Osaka-Ya in Sacramento in 2013.
Etsuko Dote rings up a sale of an assortment of manju and mochi purchased by Alan Nakagawa, center, and his parents Mary and Fred at Osaka-Ya in Sacramento in 2013.

When the weather heats up, the family business opens its cash-only shaved ice operation. Inside, workers juggle orders of massive snowcones, ice cream, freezes, floats and fruit shakes.

It’s typical to see crowds surrounding the window during the summertime, waiting for their dessert to be called.

Customers line up to purchase shaved ice at Osaka-Ya in 2013.
Customers line up to purchase shaved ice at Osaka-Ya in 2013.

What’s available at Osaka-Ya’s snowcone window in Sacramento?

Standard shaved ice is priced at $4.50 to $9, depending on the size.

Kintoki, shaved ice with sweet red beans, is slightly more expensive at $7 to $8.50.

Laila Lam, 4, enjoys shaved ice with her godmother, Cheyser Ebanez, at Osaka-Ya in Sacramento in 2017.
Laila Lam, 4, enjoys shaved ice with her godmother, Cheyser Ebanez, at Osaka-Ya in Sacramento in 2017.

Snowcone flavors include:

  • Bubblegum

  • Cherry

  • Grape

  • Lemon

  • Lime

  • Watermelon

  • Sour apple

  • Pink lemonade

  • Blue raspberry

  • Orange

  • Punch

  • Strawberry

  • Root beer

  • Pineapple

  • Tiger’s blood

  • Mango

Extra syrup, ice cream, mochi, condensed milk and matcha powder can be added to snowcones for an additional fee.

Bubble gum-flavored snowcones with condensed milk is a very popular combination, Freiwald said.

Also on the menu:

  • Gunther’s fruit freeze - $5.50 to $7.50 (orange, pineapple, raspberry, guava, mango, strawberry, lime)

  • Root beer float - $6.50

  • Coffee float - $7.50

  • Mocha freeze - $7.50

  • Fruit Shakes - $8 (pineapple, orange, mango, lime, strawberry)

  • Ice cream - $4.75 to $7 (chocolate, green tea, strawberry, vanilla, taro)

Only bills $20 and under are accepted at the window, Freiwald said.

A couple of tips to remember: Customers are limited to one flavor per snowcone and the window is a cash only operation.

When will Oskaka-Ya’s snowcone window open in Sacramento?

The snowcone operation opens on April 1 and closes on Oct. 31.

The window operates seven days a week. Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Sunday.

Oskaka-Ya in Sacramento is hiring

Osaka-Ya is looking for seasonal snowcone workers and permanent employees.

“We’re looking for a jack of all trades,” Freiwald said, adding that people are typically asked to work at the shop for a couple of weeks during a trial run.

“If the owner likes them, they’ll give them more duties and more hours.”

Pay is roughly $16 an hour, Freiwald said.

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