6 Unforgettable and Delicious Ice Creams from Hokkaido With Unique Flavors

Hokkaido is said to produce the best tasting and richest milk in Japan, so it only makes sense that many people simply cannot resist the temptation and appeal of the ice cream in Hokkaido, so much so that it is one of the must-try food items when traveling in Japan. There is an incredible array of Hokkaido ice cream, but this article introduces six unique flavors that you can really only find locally. Definitely try them out the next time you visit Hokkaido!

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Red-crowned Crane Ice Cream (Kushiro Marsh Observatory)

Kushiro Shitsugen is the largest marshland in Japan and the habitat of 2,000 species. It’s also the perfect place to observe the Yezo deer, white-tailed eagle, and special protected species like red-crowned cranes. The red-crowned crane is a resident bird of Hokkaido, and was designated as a natural monument in 1952. The Japanese believe that the red-crowned crane symbolizes happiness, luck and longevity, so many travelers enjoy visiting the Kushiro Shitsugen to learn more about the ecological environment of the red-crowned crane and try to catch a glimpse of its whereabouts.

Don’t despair if you are unable to see the wild red-crowned crane, as the Kushiro Marsh Observatory sells a related popular dessert – the red-crowned crane ice cream. Using local Hokkaido strawberries to decorate the red crown on the head of the crane with two biscuits as wings, it does indeed look quite similar to the real bird from afar. Don’t forget to have a taste of this innovative ice cream after visiting the observatory.

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Lavender Ice Cream (Furano)

Admiring the lavender fields of Hokkaido is one of the most popular tourist attractions, and Farm Tomita in Furano is a must-visit “holy land” for these flowers. Walking in a purple lavender garden under the bright summer sun while eating a delicious lavender ice cream is the perfect portrayal of the summer in Hokkaido. The special aroma of the lavender flavor tastes strongly like healthy herbs. For those who prefer something less pungent, you can order a combination of lavender and milk, which has a milder milky scent that may suit your taste more.

Sunflower Ice Cream (Hokuryu)

In Himawari no Sato (Sunflower Village) of Hokuryu, more than 1.5 million sunflowers bloom in the summer. Covering a vast area around the size of 5 Tokyo Domes, there are more than 30 different types of sunflowers of various sizes and colors planted in the field, with the largest ones bigger than a human's face and even taller than an average human, too. Just like the famous lavender-flavored ice cream in Furano, you shouldn’t miss the ice cream made from sunflower seeds, which can be found in the dining zone here. The flavor is quite enjoyable, tasting a bit like peanuts and sesame. Besides lavenders, you can also come to Hokkaido in the summer to enjoy the sunflowers of Hokuryu and try the rare sunflower ice cream.

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Fresh Milk Ice Cream (Noboribetsu Dairy Farm)

Noboribetsu Dairy Farm is a popular fresh milk ice cream shop recently opened in Sapporo, but let’s get to know its original store first. In fact, it was rebuilt out of an abandoned primary and secondary school in Noboribetsu, and makes popular dairy products from high-quality fresh local milk, such as cheese and puddings, that can be bought online across the nation. Everyone drools over Hokkaido milk ice cream, and you can taste the authentic flavor and freshness at Noboribetsu Dairy Farm. Tourists here can't stop praising the ice cream while eating it – such a rich and velvety ice cream with a lingering aftertaste could only be made with the fresh milk of Hokkaido! 


Handmade Gelato (Shimizu Farm)

In the vicinity of Toyako, there is a handmade gelato shop in a farmhouse that has recently become quite popular in Hokkaido, even earning interviews from the media. The originality and freshness of the made-to-order gelato using ingredients directly picked from the local farm are the reasons for its popularity. The most incredible part is that all the flavors are delectable, making people scream “delicious” when they eat it! The farm is also known for producing sweet and juicy tomatoes, which are often sold out immediately once they are available for purchase. 

The gelato flavors depend on what is harvested each period in Shimizu Farm. The flavors available when we went were sweet watermelon, rich pumpkin, and their famous tomato. Everything from development to production is single-handedly managed by the farm owner’s wife, including harvesting, producing, and selling the gelato. As importance is attached to maintaining the delicious flavor of the made-to-order gelato, she has rejected many invitations from large retailers and businesses. She believes that once the production amount is increased and no longer handmade, her gelato would no longer taste the same.

Her values are commendable. "I don’t need to earn money from massively producing my handmade gelato. I only hope that it can be handed to customers personally in the freshest state for their enjoyment!” she said. Those who have tasted it are all shocked by the luscious taste that would not have been so if not for the 100% preservation of the flavor. It is definitely different from other gelatos and can fully showcase the flavors of Hokkaido. Using the end of the cone to replace a spoon, every bite can satisfy your taste buds. It is truly moving how the gifts of nature and skillful hands of man can create such a scrumptious food! 

Due to daily farm operations, it should be noted that gelatos are not sold daily. For those who plan to visit, please refer to the official website beforehand.

New Chitose Airport No. 1 Milk Ice Cream

The dessert shop Kinotoya is located in the souvenir corner on the 2nd floor of the New Chitose Airport Domestic Terminal Building. Their milk ice cream has been selected by New Chitose Airport to be the No. 1 seller in 2018. Firstly, the size is shocking, as it is 1.5 times the size of a regular ice cream, so eating it all by yourself should be a treat. At the same time, it’s also quite firm and heavy, as the staff must have carefully filled the cone from the bottom to top before slowly swirling up a few times. After your first bite, you will be amazed by its particularly intense and rich taste with a strong yet mellow aroma, which takes a while to melt slowly in your mouth, so it would take a long time for one person to finish the whole cone by himself. The ice cream is quite thick but not too sweet, so you will unconsciously take bite after bite till the last drop, yearning for more while feeling a sense of happiness.

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Ice cream is a food of many wonders in the minds of many, loved by adults and children alike, and just by holding one in their hand can make people feel happy. The ice cream made from the abundant natural resources in Hokkaido is even more enticing. Which of the 6 ice creams above would you like to try the most?

Title Image: Wuttipon / Shutterstock

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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