Baskin Robbins still enjoys considerable popularity in Japan
. There are branches all over Japan, fifty-two in Tokyo
alone. I've had the pleasure of visiting the Shibuya
shops in Tokyo and the Himeji
branches in Hyogo
-ken. Most of the stores are tiny, with hardly enough room in front of the counter for you to turn sideways. Ah the wonders of exorbitant rents in Japan.
A few of the familiar US flavors are there such as Jamoca and Mint Chocolate Chip, but there are also some new ones: Musk Melon, Adzuki, Turkish Delight, Strawberry Shortcake, and Matcha.
Sadly lacking are flavors involving peanut butter or anything low-fat or sugar-free.
However, this is almost made up for by the fact that some Japanese Baskin Robbins offer dessert crepes on the menu. Take a large crepe, fill it with ice cream, whipped cream, custard, fruit, and sometimes small slices of cheesecake. YUM.
One fun fact about the Japanese Baskin Robbins is that you can buy packs of dry ice to pack your ice cream in to take it home or to a picnic. Maybe things have changed at US Baskin Robbins chains since I last visited one, but as far as I remember dry ice wasn't nearly as freely available. Perhaps, say, to disuade devious high school students from using it for nefarious purposes.