Chocolates! The word itself is bliss! Sinful indulgence or not, chocolates are a friend for every mood! And those who love chocolates must have surely sometimes dreamt of swimming through the luscious chocolate rivers amidst chocolate-fruit bearing trees in the magical chocoland! Well then let me say you don’t have to dream anymore as the Ishiya Chocolate Factory at Sapporo brings the choco-magic to life just the right way!
This popular chocolate brand of Japan is famous for the flagship Shiroi Koibito (White Lovers) Cookies. These are made with delicious white chocolate sandwiched in between two delicately soft butter cookies. These cookies make for the best souvenirs from Sapporo. And instead of buying them from the many of its outlets all over the city, we headed off to check out the very place of its origin-The Shiroi Koibito Park i.e. the Ishiya Chocolate Factory.It is a short walk from the Miyanosawa station on the Tozai Line.The first glimpse of the building doesn’t really compare to the wonderland inside!
But it got better the closer we got !
From the very first step inside we were taken by awe of the beautiful cute little ‘furnished’ houses in yellow, pink and blues.
One could easily slide in inside and take a snap or two inspecting the small beds,tables and chairs and for children it definitely makes for a favorite hide-out! Further ahead into the park, we entered the snow-covered theme park complete with more huts, and all sorts of winter decorations and illuminations.
Access to this park and the shops inside was free. Entry to the actual museum and the factory walkthrough was priced at 600¥. Also at that point, one can register themselves for the various cookie-making courses held throughout the day.
First we came across this big ‘Shiroi-Koibito cookie packets’ photo frame where one can get their photos clicked and bought thereafter. Further ahead there is the big and beautiful ‘Aurora’ fountain amidst dimmed lights.
Upstairs there is this display of chocolate tins, packets and labels, cups and saucers for hot chocolate from all over the world. Each cup and saucer was an elaborately decorated piece of porcelain art.
The walkway then led us to a chocolate tunnel lined with a big glass pane gallery on the right that showcased the history of chocolate-making through miniature animated models and a video.
The tunnel continued to a corridor with glass windows through which we could see the various parts of chocolate making in process. So many batches of the chocolate cookies processed, lined, sorted and packaged by the machineries under the meticulous supervision of the workers made for a delightful view.
And what added to it was the joy of the co-spectators strategically set all around the big hall.There were men and women cheering, a boy kicking a football and a huge ostrich flapping its wings in delight.
After a good amount of time deciphering the chocolate-making process, we headed for the chocolate lounge above. Finally it was time to savor the rich delicacies. We were spoiled for options and it took us a while before we narrowed down on some hot chocolate, chocolate ganache, a chocolate and vanilla soft cream and white chocolate tiramisu!
While waiting for the same, we cruised around to check the amazing sugar-crafts on display.There were pretty sugar dolls, tea-sets, Cinderella shoes, flower bouquets, pianos, and the big wedding cake types too.
There was a lady meticulously working away on new ones and here too one could enroll either for the cookie-making or sugar-crafts workshops. Then there was this window through which one could see the workers inspecting each of the famous Shiroi Koibito white cream rolls. They felt soft as snow even just to see!
After a blissful lunch of chocolate delights accompanied by the musical clock carnival display, as we headed out of the factory we found there’s more to this park than just Chocolates.
There was a whole section dedicated to the Toys collection from around the world while on another side there was this Music room that showcased the many gramophones and records collections. And just to see how it worked, I actually slid in a 100¥ coin and filled the room with the Beatles singing to us ‘Love me do’!!
The day obviously couldn’t have been done before buying ourselves a few packets of the Shiroi-Koibito cookies itself. We then spent sometime in the snow outside enjoying the chocolate-laden trees, the tree-house, the hundreds of snowmen, a steam train and the many men trying to save the building, before heading out of this chocolaty wonderland with some deliciously wonderful memories to cherish forever.
And all the kids and adult-kids out there, you can’t really miss visiting this place now, can you?