Hokkaido Sweets: 11 Sugary Souvenirs to Try in Northern Japan
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island, and is famous for its high-quality milk, butter, and cheese. Combining this with other local specialties like potatoes, berries, and more yields a tremendous lineup of Hokkaido sweets promising exciting new flavors. From Haskapp Jewelry, filled with native Hokkaido berries, to the rich and creamy classic Shiroi Koibito, those with a sweet tooth will have a ball uncovering the wealth of Hokkaido sweets tucked away in northern Japan!
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1. Rokkatei "Marusei Butter Sandwiches" (六花亭 『マルセイバターサンド』)
"Confectionery is a blessing from the earth."
"Our confectionery is, and will be, closely linked to Hokkaido."
These respective statements by its shop and the CEO himself symbolize the unique business ethos of this popular confectionery manufacturer. The long selling confectionery by far is this rum raisin and butter filled cookie sandwiches, 'Marusei Butter Sandwiches' 『マルセイバターサンド』. It is widely popular across generations and the packaging is adorably retro chic.
Main Store: 9 -6 Nishi 2-jo Minami, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido
2. Ryugetsu "Sanpouroku" (栁月 『三方六』)
Ryugetsu is just as popular as Rokkatei in Obihiro, the city of confectionery. Its baumkuchen 'Sanpouroku' 『三方六』is named after the style of cutting logs during the development period of Hokkaido. This is a long selling confectionery and is said to be the pioneer of moist baumkuchens in Japan. You can see how Sanpouroku is manufactured at its outlet shop, Sweetpia Garden. The so-called 'Cut offs of Sanpouroku' 『三方六の切れ端』, the broken pieces of baumkuchen accumulated on production line, is a bargain and extremely popular. People would form a line just for the sake of purchasing it.
Main store:8-15 Odoriminami, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido
Sweetpia Garden Shop: 18-2 Nishi 9-sen Shimo-otofuke Kita, Kato-gun,Otofuke-cho, Hokkaido
http://www.ryugetsu.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
3. Morimoto "Haskapp Jewelry" (もりもと 『ハスカップジュエリー』)
Morimoto is a Japanese and Western confectionery and bread manufacturer in Chitose. Its most popular product of all time is 'Haskapp Jewelry'『ハスカップジュエリー』. Its jam filling is made of Haskapp, the native wild berries of Hokkaido. It's punchy sweet and sour flavor balances well with chocolate covered soft cookies and makes this confectionery so delicious you can't help but wanting more.
Main Store: 4-12-1 Chiyoda-cho, Chitose-shi, Hokkaido
4. Yuraku Confectionery, Ltd. "Shiroi Black Thunder" (有楽製菓（株）『白いブラックサンダー』)
Almost all Japanese elementary school children know an affordable chocolate bar called 'Black Thunder' 『ブラックサンダー』. This white version of Black Thunder is produced at the manufacturer's Sapporo Factory and only available in Hokkaido. The chocolate coating is thicker than the ordinary version and tastes like a luxurious sweet treat.
Sapporo Factory/Office/Direct-sales Retail Shop: 2-14-238 Atsubetsu Higashi 5-Jyo, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaid0
5. Snowbell "Ganso Toukibi Choco" (スノーベル 『元祖とうきびチョコ』)
Crunchy chocolate bars are speciality of Hokkaido. Flavorsome corn puffs with abundant white chocolate makes this crunchy chocolate so good you simply can't stop eating. They are small in size and wrapped individually, which makes it convenient to share with friends and families as souvenirs.
7-2-23 Ryutsu Center, Shiraishi-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
http://www.snowbell.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
6. Kinotoya "Sapporo Nou-Gakkou" (きのとや 『札幌農学校』)
The name of this confectionery 『札幌農学校』translates as Sapporo Agricultural College which was the original name of today's Hokkaido University. It's a simple, no fuss light cookie with milk flavor. The box of 60 cookies comes in an attractive retro package that has an appearance of classic Japanese book.
Shiraishi Main Store: 5-1-20 Higashisapporo 3-jo, Shiraishi-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
7. Wakasaimo Honpo "Wakasaimo" (わかさいも本舗 『わかさいも』)
This confectionery has a cute shape of sweet potato but sweet potatoes don't grow in Hokkaido. In fact this is a fake baked sweet potato! Remarkably, Wakasaimo accurately depicts genuine sweet potato by using bean paste made from daifukumame of Lake Toya area for the inside, kombu kelp as fibre, and washing the surface with egg and soy sauce for glaze.
http://www.wakasaimo.com/ (Japanese only)
8. Gokatteya Honpo "Marukan Youkan" (五勝手屋本舗 『丸缶羊かん』)
This jellied bean paste (youkan- 羊かん) is made of red beans produced in Hokkaido by using traditional methods. The round tin packaging has a retro look and resembles the shell of fireworks. Slicing youkan with a thread makes it fun to eat. The confectionery has long shelf life so it's convenient to take somewhere distant.
http://www.gokatteya.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
9. Hokkai Marimo Seika "Marimo Youkan" (北海まりも製菓 『まりもようかん』)
Marimo（まりも）are literally ball-shaped seaweeds found at Lake Akan, and feature in the folklore mythology of Ainu, the native inhabitants of Hokkaido. This youkan is unique in its shape and color as it depicts real Marimo. It comes out easily from the package when you pluck a pick into it. They come in an attractive box with a printing of Ainu patterns. With the long shelf life, it makes a perfect souvenir gift.
2-4-10 Akancho Akankoonsen, Kushiro-shi, Hokkaido 〒085-0467
http://marimo-youkan.com/index.html (Japanese only)
10. Hori "Yubari Melon Pure Jelly" (ホリ 『夕張メロンピュアゼリー』)
Melons from Yubari are known as luxurious fruits and are famous nationwide. The inside of the fruit is red and rich in aroma. This jelly is packed with fruitiness with an impeccable balance of tenderness and juiciness. No wonder it's been popular and has been selected as an in-flight dessert by Japan Air Lines for 10 consecutive years. Pride of Yubari knows no bounds! It keeps well at room temperature.
http://www.e-hori.com (Japanese only)
11. Ishiya Seika"Shiroi Koibito" （石屋製菓 『白い恋人』）
It is a cat tongue white biscuit with lightly toasted colour and is the standard gift of Hokkaido. At manufacture's outlets, not only "Shiroi Koibito" but also a mille-feuille pie, "Mifuyu", baumkuchen, chocolates, biscuits and baked cakes are available.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.