Finding Willy Wonka – Shiroi Koibito Park, Hokkaido, Japan

Shiroi Koibito Park is one popular attraction in Sapporo, and yes, it is a chocolate factory. The reddish edifice from the outside has more interesting facade once you enter the front gate – more like the exteriors of European castles  from the cartoons I used to watch in my childhood. The theme park is most famous for producing mouth-watering Ishiya Biscuits which I didn’t know I have been eating every time a colleague from Japan (when I was still working for Pachinko devices) visits Singapore and brings me these yummy treats. This flagship product is made of 2 delicious thin butter cookies with white cream filling in between that will certainly make you forget your name after every bite. . Hehe. . I was actually not aware at first that this factory is well known in the northern island. I have exchanged Sapporo “to go” list with the three nomads I met in Nakafurano after my Biei trip – Charles, Sonya and Hue Yi – who fancied Shiroi Koibito and wanted to try baking their own cookies in one of the park’s baking classes. Sounds good to me too so when I reached Sapporo, I included the chocolate factory in my wandering list.

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Ichito woke me up with his sweetest “good morning” in a soft toddler voice. I did’t wake up though, I wanted to sleep more, “one more hour” I murmured in my head. So, instead of going out of the room, I messaged Kazushige Ishiguro and apologised for wanting to sleep until 9 instead of getting up at 8 AM. I guess, I got tired from walking during my first day in Sapporo. After breakfast with the family (Mai – Kazushige’s wife – baked a yummy bread for us for breakfast) and shower, Kazushige drove me from his house towards Blue Line’s Fukuzumi station with his cute Ichito; I bid goodbye to the father and son and walked towards the blue line (Toho subway) train with my bones jiggling with excitement.

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a park outside Miyanosawa station, on my way to the Chocolate Factory

From Odori station, I transferred to the yellow line (Tozai subway) and alighted at the very last station at the north west of the map – Miyanosawa – which is, more or less, an hour from Fukuzumi. I walked towards the direction of the red bricked Chocolate Factory without any idea what to expect from the theme park. I didn’t bother googling about it, I love surprises anyways. As I got inside the park, I paid for JPY 600 admission fee and got the park’s passport in both Japanese and English (the one in Japanese looked better though) plus a complimentary pack of Ishiya biscuit. the 5-year old in me started to explore the park floor every floor.

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The clock tower from the main road.
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a lovely garden within the vicinity of the chocolate factory.
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where am I? am I in Europe? 🙂

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From the Passport: The Aurora Fountain was produced by England’s Royal Dolton Company in around 1870. Water runs down over the colourful ceramic surface which is illuminated with an air of fantasy lamps installed under the water.
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The chocolate time tunnel brings you back to 19th century when they use the old facilities in producing chocolates. It features 2D hologram presentations.
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The Production Line observation area. I can’t wait to buy lots of Ishiya biscuits after seeing how are these produced.
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2 artistic ladies carefully handcrafting these sweets at the Sugarcraft section.

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the theme park offers biscuit decorating sessions at the Cookiecraft Studio for additional fee.

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The Chocolate Lounge, a cafe designed with antique furnitures from England, was fully occupied during my visit and I needed to wait for 30mins before I can have a seat. I just wanted to eat this yummy dessert, I didn’t try. T_T
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The park also houses different themed exhibition halls. From old vinyl records to gramophones to a wide collection of old toys such as in this photo that brought additional amazement in me.
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Of course, I wouldn’t go home without buying lots of Ishiya Biscuits for friends and family at the Shop Piccadilly.
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I think I still have the flower hangover from Furano when I visited Sapporo, so when I saw this Rose Garden, I immediately took my camera and took photographs of it much more than I did inside the building.

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Toy House!!! Just before the exit. . a play haven for little girls.

Shiroi Koibito Park Information

Operating Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (last admittance at 17:00) though the shops closes 1 hour later

Address: Miyanosawa 2-jo 2-chome, Nishi-ku, Sapporo

Closed: NEVER! yey! It is open even on Public Holidays. . 🙂

General Admission Fee: JPY 600

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