The Ishiya Co., Ltd. in Sapporo, Hokkaido is a Japanese confectioner best known for its European-style Shiroi Koibito (White Lover) cookies, which it began selling in December of 1976. Today, the cookies rank as Hokkaido’s top selling souvenir. Just 25 minutes by car from Sapporo’s downtown area, you will find the Shiroi Koibito Park, where company’s factory is located.
The park is comprised of two areas: a free area consisting of a shop, café and restaurant; a paid area with various exhibits and a miniature six car steam train called the Shiroi Koibito Railway. There is also a soccer field which serves as the practice ground for Consadole Sapporo, the local J-League soccer team.
The park is open year round. Visitors have the option of touring the Tudor house where they can enjoy the display of classical toys from the Meiji, Taisho and Showa Periods, and the rose garden free of charge. Located on the first floor of the Tudor house is the Shop Piccadilly which sells all of Ishiya’s confectionaries. Also on the first floor is the Candy Labo offering unique candy designs which can only be found at the Shiroi Koibito Park. Visitors are permitted watch the candy artisans at work, crafting these beautiful edible pieces of art. On the second floor of the Tudor house you will find the Gramophone Gallery displaying various gramophones from days gone by as well as related materials. Please note that there is a fee to tour the Gramophone Gallery.
The Sapporo Mechanical Clock Tower located outside in the courtyard features a troupe of dancing mechanical dolls which perform in The Chocolate Carnival at the top of each hour. Stop off at the nearby Soft Ice Cream House and pick up some Shiroi Koibito ice cream and settle in to watch the clock tower spectacle.
From there, visit Entrepot Hall, where you will find the Aurora Fountain on the second floor. The fountain dates back to 1870 and was produced by England’s famous Royal Doulton Company. In the same building you will also find an elaborate display of chocolate cups. Chocolate was a popular drink among the aristocrats up until the 18th century and this particular collection displays some of the most prized cups for serving chocolate.
Finally, stop off at the Chocolate Factory, which houses a viewing gallery on the third floor, enabling visitors to observe how the Shiroi Koibito cookies are made from start to finish. Located on the fourth floor of the Chocolate Factory is the Chocolate Lounge, decorated with antique furniture from England. Here patrons can enjoy chocolate drinks and Shiroi Koibito parfaits surrounded by opulence. Also on the 4th floor, children and adults can gain firsthand experience into the art of cookie making at the Cookiecraft Studio. For a fee of ¥1,080, amateur confectioners can try their hand at creating their own cookies. The entire process takes an hour and 20 minutes and there is a limit of one cookie per person.
A visit to the park is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Hokkaido’s famous omiyage (souvenir) and to sample Ishiya’s other confectionaries.
Address: Miyanosawa 2-jo 2-chome, Nishi-ku, Sapporo
Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Shop closes at 7:00 PM)
Fee: ¥600 (Adults) / ¥200 (Jr. High Students and younger)