This is the final chapter of the Hokkaido summer series and not to say that I’ve saved the best for last, but I’ve definitely saved a full, exciting, memorable day in Sapporo to share with you guys! In this article I’ll be taking you to the famous Shiroi Koibito Park which is the actual production factory of the Shiroi Koibito brand but the facility has also been turned into a museum/theme park/garden. It’s the most beautiful little mid-century European building and we spent a good part of our day exploring its interiors. In the second part of this chapter I’ll be showing you around the Sapporo Beer Museum and old beer factory/brewery as well as the beautiful night views from the Sapporo TV tower! Ready or not, here we go!
It was early morning as we headed to the Shiroi Koibito Park. This place is the actual factory where they produce the white chocolate cookies that this brand is famous for all over Japan. Not one of the international airports in Japan is deprived of Shiroi Koibito products in their souvenir stores. It’s such a well-sought out commodity from Hokkaido that only specialty stores outside the region would carry it, making it a little short of a luxury delight even here in Japan.
This is the entrance to their garden (at least from the side that we went in) and you can already begin to get the other worldly feel to this place!
The garden had a very European feel to it and is very much like something you would find in a fairy tale story~ Every year around June the roses in the garden go into full bloom and is a sight sought by many who plan to visit it. As we went in early August, there were not many roses left blooming. But we were just in time for another section of the park that turned out to be just as beautiful.
The main highlight of the garden was this little man-made flower patch that had a tunnel built underneath it so that you could crawl into the center of this gorgeous sea of colors to get your picture taken~~ There were so many different types of flowers and colored plants that it was hard to focus your eyes on just one thing, which of course made it all the more dazzling! It was the perfect blend of fantasies-come-to-life and OMG-I-want-to-take-this-home-with-me~ My friends and I spend over an hour here lining up to crawl into the tunnel to take our time in taking pictures here, and in my opinion, it was more than worth it~
After we satisfied ourselves with taking about a bajillion photos in the garden we finally decided to make our way into the actual factory building to have a look at all the rumoured glamor inside! It costs a small fee of 600yen to get in but they do give you a neat little ticket/passport and a piece of their famous white chocolate cookie~ I knew that there would be plenty more where that came from once I hit the souvenir section of the factory so I ate that one rather quickly.
Apart from the overly extravagant displays of tea cups, western cutlery, and chocolate boxes that I won’t bother showing, this park/museum is also known for allowing visitors to look directly into a small bit of their production line to see just how the Shiroi Koibito are produced. The factory is very clean and well maintained, though I’m inclined to think that the rest of its factories must be just as properly managed. Or else this brand of plain and simple white chocolate cookies could not be something of a national favourite among both the Japanese and foreign audience.
As you can see in the picture the sides of the pillars and the top of the sides have been decorated to seem as though there are people from the inside looking down upon the factory as well.
On the top floor is a little cafe/bakery section where you can sit in a wide lounge with windows overlooking the beautiful garden below while enjoying one of their many mouth watering desserts~ They are slightly pricy but also visually adorable and will ring out at your taste buds like a symphony of splendid sweetness. Because of budget issues, my friends and I opted to share a cupcake and a special soft-cream parfait that was their recommended menu, and to this day I can’t have any sort of ice-cream parfait without thinking about or comparing it to the one I had here. Yes, it was just THAT good.
*Note: the cupcake in the picture above is no longer available
They also had some absolutely INCREDIBLY decorated cakes (if you can still even call them that) on display inside glass cases. Some of them were so good I honestly couldn’t believe that something that beautiful could also be edible. Then again, the Japanese craftsmen is diligent if nothing else, so their almost obsessive attention to detail shouldn’t have been as surprising to me as it was at the time. It also made the cake decorations I make at home feel like they were doodled on by a 4 year old on a piece of crinkled construction paper with semi-dried out dying markers...
The interior of the factory itself was somewhat like a restored 19th century European castle/museum. There was this one section of the building that was so much like a scene from a childhood princess movie that I could so easily imagine something like a masquerade ball being held there! We were adamant in taking the perfect photo there and it took us a while to be the only ones on the staircase, trying to have our fairy-tale moment. But after we looked back to the photos themselves, we felt that it was well worth the wait~
And of course to finish off this wondrous tour, we ended the session pretty much the way you end any visit to a tourist oriented destination in Japan: souvenir shopping. Being the actual factory of the brand, they had just about every legitimized product/packaged sweets available. I would have gone total ape-sh*t and bought everything in sight, but because I was (and still am) poor, I was not allowed by my already thinned out wallet to do anything of the sort. Instead I tearfully bit my fingernails in frustration and regret and settled for taking pictures of all the things I wanted but couldn’t have. This has now become a lingering habit I’ve developed over my travels; to take pictures of what I couldn’t and still can’t afford as a reminder of my unsatisfied desires...God that sounds so morbid…
What’s even more depressing is that the one thing which I could afford and desperately wanted to try was sold out and I had to settle for a less classic version of the original flavor...as expected, it didn’t taste as amazing as the white chocolate flavored one probably would have...unfortunately I don’t think they sell this anywhere else (outside of Hokkaido anyway) in Japan so I guess I’ll just have to go back for my chance to get a few jugs as well as hopefully make the blooming season of the roses~
And on that slightly disappointing note, we come to an end of part 1 of our Sapporo day tour~ Stay tuned for our next and final chapter where I take you to the Sapporo beer factory/museum, the Sapporo government building, and the almost as famous Sapporo TV tower for some night light scenery!
ORIGINAL ARTICLE SOURCE : www.hisgo.com/visit-japan/