Here’s What to Expect from the Newly-Reopened Shiroi Koibito Park
It's now even bigger and better!
Hokkaido’s famous sweet cookie, Shiroi Koibito, managed by ISHIYA, reopened its theme park, Shiroi Koibito Park, last July 12, 2019. It has undergone a major renovation for a year since spring of 2018.
Let us tour you around the facility!
Shiroi Koibito Park
2-2-11-36, Miyanosawa, Nishi District, Sapporo City, Hokkaido
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (some facilities are open until 7 p.m., while the last entrance for the factory tour is at 5 p.m.) daily.
The view from the park courtyard is reminiscent of a European town.
The Ishiya Chocolate Factory opened in 1995 and became a facility where you can observe their full production line. Because of the increase in the number of visitors, the place changed its name to Shiroi Koibito Park after 20 years of renovation and yearly expansion.
The initial number of visitors was 140,000 a year. By 2017, it exceeded 750,000. However, at the time, the facility couldn’t fully meet the needs for tour and experience-type activities for visitors. Thus, in April 2018, it closed major facilities for renovations. Since then, the park’s re-opening has been a much-anticipated event.
The courtyard of the park is full of insta-worthy sights such as the flowerbeds and rose gardens.
The whole concept of the renovated facility is to become a chocolate entertainment facility where you can “See, Know, Taste, and Experience.” One of the park’s highlights is the factory tour, where they expanded the viewing area, by transferring some of the facilities to the Kita-Hiroshima Factory and upgraded them with new effects.
Two tour courses are available here including the Standard Factory Tour (¥600 for adults, 30 minutes) and the Premium Factory Tour (¥1,500 for adults, 60 minutes) complete with projection mapping and bold effects.
For this article, we tried the Premium Factory Tour.
The Premium Factory Tour starts from the Chocotopia House with a clock tower.
You can buy tickets for the Premium Factory Tour from the Ticket Center. Visitors who will avail of the tour will also receive a limited-edition Shiroi Koibito present. The packaging design changes from the original snow crystal to an illustration of cats.
The cats are the character image of the Shiroi Koibito Park. They are called Purumi and Ramuru and are chocolate fairies that appear throughout the tour. The present, on the other hand, comes in eight kinds of packages. Try to collect them all when you visit the place!
The limited-edition Shiroi Koibito that only visitors can get.
The Premium Factory Tour consists of two parts: the first being a projection mapping show and the second being a factory tour. At the projection mapping show, Professor Julian Dandino Ishimitty, who loves chocolate, will guide you through a timeline starting from how chocolate was born. It’s actually a lot of fun listening to the conversation between the Professor and the assistant.
The tour starts from the waiting room located on the first floor of the Chocotopia House.
Next, we were brought inside the Hobbies Room, where the archaeologist professor’s father’s collection is displayed. Here we get to meet the professor who has an overflowing love for chocolate!
The time travel that follows the history of chocolate is easy to understand and both adults and children can enjoy it. Even the projection mapping scenes go beyond time and space, so you’ll never get tired of watching it.
Go time-traveling and attend the four revolutionary moments that created the delicious chocolate that we know today.
After learning about the history of chocolate, visitors are guided up the collection room on the third floor. Here, chocolate cups and historical chocolate packages are on display. According to the guide, there was a time when chocolate was a luxury item and the one-and-only packaging design was created.
Valuable items such as chocolate cups and boxes that used to carry chocolates are on display. Antique-lovers will surely go crazy over these.
Meissen’s chocolate cup, “Hanazukushi,” made in 1860, is the highlight of the collection. The cup and saucer are designed with a floral pattern and is estimated to be worth several million yen.
Finally, visitors are escorted towards the factory. With the renovation, in addition to the previously available Shiroi Koibito production line, the Baumkuchen (a type of German sweet cake loved by Japanese) production is also now available. The tour passageway has also been expanded and, today holds a diorama featuring the production of Shiroi Koibito with Shiroi Kobito (removing the “i” changes the meaning to “little people”) on the opposite wall of the factory line.
Fun fact: The little people in the diorama move when the handle is turned. This mechanism was built especially for small children.
The passageway is bigger than before, so one can enjoy the tour more comfortably.
We observed the Baumkuchen and Shiroi Koibito production line. Upon learning how the manufacturing process went, the sweets themselves taste even more delicious.
This diorama shows the process of harvesting raw material until its completion. Two heads high figures had name tags on their chests bearing the names of the staff members involved in the renovation.
In addition to the Sweets-Making Corner, there is also a café on the fourth floor Chocotopia Market.
The tour’s final destination is on the fourth floor, Chocotopia Market. There are stylish café lounges and shops here, but its main feature is the sweets-making activity. With the renovation, the activity area was divided into two—the “Chocolate Room” and the “Sweets Room”. This area was expanded to twice its size.
In the Chocolate Room, you can make chocolates and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of tasting freshly-ground cacao mass and drinking cacao pulp. The “Cacao to bar ~ Making Stone-milled Chocolate” lasts 120 minutes for ¥5,000. You can also make your own original chocolate in the “Choco-lection” course for a short amount of time.
We poured chocolate into the mold and got excited in decorating our chocolate for the Choco-lection (¥800). It is very easy and only requires 20 minutes.
You can choose three out of 12 chocolate toppings.
If you are very particular about making your own chocolate, try the Cacao to bar ~ Making Stone-milled Chocolate, which starts by grinding your own cacao nibs.
In the expanded Sweets Room, you can experience cooking using the same dough as the Shiroi Koibito cookie. There are more than 10 types of courses offered by the facility.
In the “My Shiroi Koibito Drawing Course” (¥1,000 for 40 minutes), you get to draw on a 14-centimeter heart-shaped Shiroi Koibito cookie with a white chocolate pen. For the “My Shiroi Koibito Yagi-age (Freshly-baked Course)” (¥1,400 for 60 minutes), you can bake and decorate a freshly-baked cookie. This activity is very popular among visitors of the facility. This is the only course where you can get a taste of freshly-baked Shiroi Koibito.
For those who are pressed for time, we recommend the Hokkaido Drawing Course (¥1,000 - ¥1,400 for approx. 30 minutes) wherein your decorate Hokkaido-shaped cookies. You can register for any of the courses on the visiting day, but we recommend making a phone reservation the previous day as there are cases when the time slots are filled up.
Sandwiching the white chocolate with the freshly-baked cookie.
We tried writing messages using the white chocolate pen.
After the chocolate hardens, we are done! You’ll want to give these cookies to someone special.
The major renovation also brought about changes to other parts of the facility.
This is the Chocolate Lounge Oxford at the Chocotopia Market. The view is excellent and overlooks the park and the soccer field.
First is the Chocotopia Market’s stylish café, Chocolate Lounge Oxford. Here, they make use of the brand’s infamous chocolates in various luxury sweets. Their Hot Chocolate Drink (¥800) has a rich taste that makes you feel happy just by drinking it. There are also a variety of menu items available. This is the perfect place to bring someone special during the afternoon.
From the front, Chocolate Fondue (¥2,700 for 2-3 person serving). The photo also includes the Afternoon Tea Set (¥3,500), with six types of sweets and two drinks. In the café, you can taste the café-limited luxury sweets.
Also, newly-opened is the Magical Marche. The floor is an image of a fashionable city and is perfect for taking commemorative photos. There is also a place called Trial Place Covent that sells small sweets that is mainly chocolate.
Magical Marche is the place for taking Insta-worthy photos!
The Trial Place Covent allows you to try seasonal sweets, including the Choco Pop to go.
In addition to the Factory Tours, you can See, Know, and Taste the wonders of chocolates through the new Study Base Cacao Pod (¥1,000 for 25 minutes). Here, you can learn about the process of cacao beans until they become chocolates through projection mapping. This process also includes the tasting of cacao nibs (cacao beans roasted and ground) and comparing the tastes of various chocolates.
The cacao pod appears on the plate in front of you. You can enjoy learning the process of how chocolate is made with innovative visual effects.
After Seeing, Knowing, Tasting, and Experiencing the wonders of chocolates, you can now head back and buy some special souvenirs. After the renovation, the Shop Piccadilly, located on the first floor of the Tudor House in the Park, was expanded to twice its size. It is now easier to shop here since the bigger floor area can accommodate an increasing number of customers.
Aside from this, four new limited-edition sweets were released in commemoration of the Shiroi Koibito Park renewal. Every one among them is delicious and would be the perfect gift for your loved ones.
The shop floor space increased from 260 sqm to 520 sqm. With a separate shipping counter and a duty-free counter, it makes for a smoother shopping experience.
Clockwise from front: Secret Trunk by the Professor Ishimitty (¥972), The Chocolate Story of Purumi and Ramuru (¥1,296), and Candy Chocolate Jewelry (¥1,620).
The chocolate fairies Purumi and Ramuru are hiding in various places in the park.
There have also been some renovations done for the visitors such as the setting up of lockers for storing your souvenirs and nursing rooms. Be sure to visit this place when you’re in Sapporo!
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (23 July 2019)