In preclinical studies of ischemic brain disorders, it is crucial to measure cerebral blood flow (CBF); however, this requires radiological techniques with heavy instrumentation or invasive procedures. Here, we propose a noninvasive and easy-to-use optical imaging technique for measuring CBF in experimental small animals. Mice were injected with indocyanine green (ICG) via tail-vein catheterization. Time-series near-infrared fluorescence signals excited by 760 nm light-emitting diodes were imaged overhead by a charge-coupled device coupled with an 830 nm bandpass-filter. We calculated four CBF parameters including arrival time, rising time and mean transit time of a bolus and blood flow index based on time and intensity information of ICG fluorescence dynamics. CBF maps were generated using the parameters to estimate the status of CBF, and they dominantly represented intracerebral blood flows in mice even in the presence of an intact skull and scalp. We demonstrated that this noninvasive optical imaging technique successfully detected reduced local CBF during middle cerebral artery occlusion. We further showed that the proposed method is sufficiently sensitive to detect the differences between CBF status in mice anesthetized with either isoflurane or ketamine-xylazine, and monitor the dynamic changes in CBF after reperfusion during transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. The near-infrared optical imaging of ICG fluorescence combined with a time-series analysis of the molecular dynamics can be a useful noninvasive tool for preclinical studies of brain ischemia.