Friday, July 5, 2013

Shiroi Koibito Park (Hokkaido)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favourite books when I was young. In Hokkaido, there's the Shiroi Koibito Park which is slightly less magical than Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory but fascinating nonetheless. It is best known for its 白色恋人 cookies, a food item everyone brings back after a visit to Hokkaido. 

At the start of every hour, a song starts to play and puppets/figurines start popping out. Kind of freaky but at the same time, there is a carnival atmosphere about this place, making everyone happy.

Right at the entrance, you get to see a beautiful clock tower, small little houses complete with furniture and a rose garden.

You have to decide whether you want to pay for a factory tour (600 JPY). Many things in this park are free, so there's actually no need for you to pay, unless you want to see how the cookies are produced. If you opt for the paid admission option, you will also get to see a Chocolate Cup Collection from the 18th century, chocolate packaging labels and a gramophone gallery.

It was interesting to see how the factory workers carefully sift through the cookies and that every cookie is subject to stringent standards. I suppose in a way, that's you paying for them to impress you.

There were also random facts like the one below: 

You will also get to see some very delicate sugar craft.

The Old-style Children's Toy Box is available to all. Mickey mouse, barbie dolls, Thomas the Tank Engine- you are bound to find some of your favourite childhood toys in this place.

Last but not least, they have a shop selling all their products (duh). However, as the prices are controlled within Sapporo, you can easily buy this somewhere else at the same price, so that you don't have to lug all of them back to the hotel from this place which isn't exactly in a convenient location. Available in white and milk chocolate.

There were cat motifs around the factory- not sure if the owner is a cat lover, or whether it's because the biscuits that sandwich the chocolate are known as langues de chat (cat's tongue).

An interesting visit! While we didn't try the hot chocolate at the cafe, I have read that it's really good- so give it a try as well!

Ishiya Chocolate Factory 
Miyanosawa 2-jo 2-chome, Nishi-ku
Sapporo 063-0052


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