Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Shiroi Koibito Park - The Japanese Version of Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory in Sapporo @ Hokkaido [Japan]

Visiting the famous Shiroi Koibito Park is on the Hokkaido itinerary of every single blogger and with so much coverage; i thought it might be better (at least for my own blog) to go somewhere else that's not as heavily publicized.

But i am a huge fan of the Shiroi Koibito cookies and always look forward to receiving them as souvenirs from friends who frequently travel to the land of the rising sun! Hence, i believe i will feel guilty for not checking out the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory!

With its European architectural facade, it was hard to miss the building that could have been easily mistaken as an apartment block with flower beds outside the higher floor windows and ground windows decorated by arched shades.

Honestly, you just need a few tables and chairs along the walkway to portray the iconic French alfresco setting! Look a bit closer and you might also realize there were decorative elements of Aztec influences on the building! Why Aztec? If i recall correctly, they are one of the earliest users for chocolate!

Loving cats lining the top of the fence!

Est. 1947? Well, Ishiya, the company that manufactures Shiroi Koibito cookies only started business in 1976; so i had no idea what the 1947 refers to. At that time, Japan was likely rebuilding the country after the damaging world war.

The iconic mechanical clock tower!

Stepping in was like entering into a European village decked out with fountains, trees, statues and historical-looking buildings of a few centuries ago. With many well behaved Japanese kids roaming its ground, 

Fountain with sleeping stone hippos; basically, the park is a good place to take tons of photos! If only Jovyn and Jerald were with me on this trip as their exaggerated expressions would add more uniqueness to the pictures.

Venturing further in - the park doesn't charge for admission fee for the open areas and i would strongly encourage families with pre-teen kids to make a journey there; for one, there were plenty to see and secondly, the place wasn't insanely huge for you to spend an entire day.

The clock tower once again that has a chocolate carnival performance every hour. Aside from the music, 'things' would start moving as if to dance to the music.

Shit! I didn't realise there's a 'hole' for people to look out! It's like a scene from an Enid Blyton book; where rabbits peered out of the rabbit holes that were set in the midst of blooming flowers!

Fake animals, real flowers, by the way.

Animatronic performers that added vibrancy to the hourly carnival. Can things be improved? Obviously they can as technology has improved drastically over the past few years but this is an era where the overuse of technology can be an overkill.

A real apple tree!

Bubble machine; kids love them and i think the only thing lacking would be fireworks which would be more applicable at night. Impossible anyway as the park closes at about 7.00 pm and fireworks in the day are just not as spectacular.

Placement of the bubble machine on top of the pavilion; good move as it gave the bubbles more lift and space. And for those visiting Hokkaido in the summer; you can treat them as disguised snowflakes.

Karakuri Theatre - pity patience isn't my virtue and i didn't manage to catch the performance that took place every fifteen minutes.

Weather Vane - all the while, i thought it's called a wind compass as it shows the direction of the wind. Turned out it's more commonly known as weather vane, wind vane or weathercock.

Another weather vane on top of the same pavilion that gave us the bubble machine.

In case you haven't noticed, there's a life-sized bus and a tree house! In puny-sized Singapore, having a treehouse at home is a dream for most kids as more than 80% of us live in apartments and space is an expensive luxury.

Ooooooh, soft served ice cream for sale!

Thinking Alex would be keen to share with me, i got the 450 yen white soft served ice cream which was too much for one person! Asshole took one bite, found it too sweet and left the rest for me to clear!

It wasn't the typical rich and creamy Hokkaido ice cream that i was accustomed to having in the past few days; more the McDonald's kind which i am quite alright with. However, i took issue with the limp cone! 

Mist fan as it's summer.

Saw a dog (not real) and no pig. Why call it a pig town then? Oh well, if i wasn't in that much of a rush that day, i would likely be able to chance upon an answer.

One feature of Shiroi Koibito Park i really enjoyed was the 480-square-meter rose garden that enthralled visitors with its many rose species from mid May to end October!

For your viewing pleasures!

I bet you would have noticed the number of mini houses spread out across the compound and wondered what they were used for.

Publicity for "Gulliver Town" - a charged attraction within Shiroi Koibito Park with kids as their main target group. Well, it doesn't attract adults like me who have no kids.

Okay, maybe just a teaser of what to expect in the mini-houses. Frankly, i don't regard the name 'Gulliver Town' as an appropriate name. If you are familiar with the book, you would know that the Lilliputians were just about six inches tall. 

Furnishings within were not built for six-inch tall beings! Put it this way, they can't climb the stools, they are not tall enough to light the stove and you can literally have more than ten of them sleeping comfortably on the bed! 

What name would be more suitable? Dwarf or hobbit town!

Pricing of "Gulliver Town", "Kids Town" and the Shiroi Koibito railway (a min 6-car steam train). For the English translation, do visit the website here

Still curious about the 'rabbit hole'! 

Access using the hobbit-like houses that were built underneath the small hill of flowers. I am glad i came on a date that the place wasn't clogged with non-Japanese tourists; if not, the experience could have been more negative than positive.

The stairs! Remember, for the person viewing out, you would just feel closer to the flowers. Most importantly, get a person who is outside to take a photo for you! 

Like what i did for the kids! I am glad none of them decided to climb up and hop with bunnies! That would have been quite a sight actually. 

Shiroi Koibito Park is more than just what i have shared so far. I did fork out the money for a factory tour to check out the aurora fountain, the chocolate cups collection, the production line for the white lovers biscuits etc; you may read more here.

We also had a cup of extremely good hot chocolate at the Chocolate Lounge Cafe (together with a platter filled with desserts) and reminisce about some of the toys we used to have in the Children's Toy Box

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Location
Shiroi Koibito Park, Miyanosawa 2-jo 2-chome, 
Nishi-ku, Sapporo 063-0052, 
Hokkaido, Japan 

Nearest Subway Station 
Miyanosawa Subway Station (Tozai Line) 

Map
As above.

Website 

Brochure
As above.


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