Monday, June 18, 2018

The Factory Tour of Shiroi Koibito Park (白色恋人) - Well Worth the 600 Yen Admission @ Sapporo [Hokkaido, Japan]

Planning to visit Shiroi Koibito Park in Sapporo at Hokkaido yet balk at the admission fees (600 yen per adult / 200 yen per child) for the chargeable factory tour? Don't be a miser and just pay for it!

I did and aside from getting a pack of their signature sandwiched biscuits and passports (in both native Japanese and English language), i must say my visitation wasn't as bored as i expected and i felt like i was brought to an aristocrat's dwelling in the golden era of Queen Victoria.

It's a self-serviced factory tour and i spent like close to two hours, which also included a sweetness-overloaded relaxation at the Chocolate Lounge on the 4th floor. 

Let's take a picture with the iconic packaging, in its humongous form! 

Want a nicer, personalized souvenir? Get your photo imprinted onto the old-school biscuit tins of Shiroi Koibito! This exclusivity came at a price of course! 

Details as above! You can choose from three backgrounds and imprint the photo (takes 20 minutes) on either the 36-cookie box or 54-cookie box. Prices as reflected had already included the photo cost.

The fireplace that's made of 19th century Baronial-style oak. 

Aurora Fountain - as if walking into a solemn place, the standalone fountain, manufactured back in the 1870s, was a beautiful sight to behold with its ceramic tiles and good placement of lights.

Going up one level to the passage where the ambience and decoration continued to marvel me. If not for the many Asians in the building, you would be forgiven for assuming you are in Europe. 

Hot-Chocolate Cup Room - come to think about it, cups are now mainly used for any beverage although back in the 'old' days, chocolate was a luxury item and it's only right to accord it the appropriate vessel to signify its extravagance.

They came in stunning designs with many of them commanding an age that was even older than the discovery of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles in year 1819. 

Stained glass ceiling, letting in natural sunlight, lighted up the passage.

Mom would have requested to take a picture while seated on the above chairs in front of stained glass panels. She might already have as fortunate her had been to Hokkaido on a tour package with my sister a few years ago! 

A mannequin blowing a trumpet - if i recall correctly, the robotic mannequins will move to music every hour; you would have a better look of it outside the building.

Nicely decorated chocolate boxes before the popular use of paper and plastic as containers! 

And the labels! 

Climbing up to the third floor; think the nets were a safety measure but can't help feeling they were an eyesore to the otherwise pretty historical concept. 

While Alex went to the washroom, i couldn't resist and devour a pack of the Shiroi Koibito biscuits even though i don't fancy sweet stuff as much as before.

Cat-paw-prints on the floor for ease of navigation!

'3-D' painting adorned the stairway.

The 3rd floor where you can go back in time to check out the working conditions of a chocolate factory in 19th century United Kingdom and at the same time, see with your own eyes the present conditions via the actual production line for Shiroi Koibito biscuits! 

Chocolate Time Tunnel - miniature showcase of conditions in a chocolate factory a few centuries ago. Is it just me or that dioramas are quite popular in Japan? I recalled seeing the same kind at the music box museum in Otaru

Now the highlight - the Shiroi Koibito Cookie Production Line. 

There's a piece of bad news that i just read about on the website of Shiroi Kobito Park; the production line is closed until 31st May 2019. The rest of the park remains open and you may refer to here for more information. The good news? Admission for this factory tour would not be charged from now till March (estimation) 2019. 

Guess i can use this posting to show the before-renovation which can be used as comparison should i visit again in the future. Anyway, some basic information of chocolates as above.

I am way more interested in the ingredients that go into making the Shiroi Koibito cookie! *jotting down egg white, beet sugar, milk and wheat flour*

Of course the recipe remains a secret and knowing the basic ingredients without knowing the ratio, the process and the nitty-gritty would not help much in replicating the actual product! Maybe looking through the glass would help!

Not really as most processes were replaced, unsurprisingly, by machines! There were some pretty useful information on the panels though; like the liquid chocolate needing a 6-hour mix for a smooth, velvety finish and has to mature for 12 hours at 20 degrees celcius before it can be used! 

I love the langue de chat biscuits best (also known as cat tongue) though and each of them goes through a conveyor belt that starts with 130 degrees celcius, tips at 190 in the middle and ends at 130 at the end.

How to make the chocolate middle stick to the biscuits? By putting in the slice of chocolate between the two biscuits while they were being cooled down; the remnant heat would make them stick together! 

Video as above for your viewing pleasure. With machines, everything is done to precision and i guess it would be hard for me to replicate with just a household oven in my house. :(

The journey continues with Alex posing for a picture with the artwork i showed earlier.


4th floor of the factory - comprising the Chocolate Lounge Cafe where you can chill over a cup of delicious hot chocolate, and the Cookiecraft Studio! 

Cookiecraft Studio is a place where you can make cookies or even decorate them depending on which course you choose. There's a fee for each course and i am unwilling to spend my precious time making cookies while i can do it in the comfort of my home. Nevertheless, i think kids would love it!

A massive display of cakes, including traditional stacked wedding cakes! They looked so unreal; i am not sure if they were even edible in the first place!  

For my review on the Chocolate Lounge (Ishiya Original Tea Set), click here! 

Quality Control Division Inspection Room - as the name suggests, this room does all the ingredient and product testing, including inspections of factory machinery.

Ishiya Gramophone Theatre - think there's a gramophone gallery music and exhibition halls (they were listed in the English passport) but strangely, i don't remember i walk past any gramophone related place except for the above. 

Souvenir shop where you can buy many things related to the Shiroi Koibito trademark; from tee shirts, keychains, phone covers to even bags! 

I was more taken in by the gold and silver lucky charms known as 'fuku no tane' which is supposed to bring happiness and protect the carrier from bad things. My friend actually got one for me a few years ago when she toured Hokkaido.

Visiting the children's toy box! Click here for more photos! 

Grand staircase that would bring us down to the ground level. Thought the lady struck a rather nice pose for me even though i was waiting, desperately, for her to finish up her photo shoot so that i can take mine with anyone! 

Know what this is? Use the magnifying glass to take a closer look! 

Sea angels which are in fact shellfish that have lost 'their shells in the course of evolution'! I think i saw them in some aquariums before; hm... maybe the SEA Aquarium or the now closed Underwater World.

Ground floor would also be the place where you can get your hands on many delicious delicacies from the Ishiya's brand, including the Shiroi Koibito biscuits! Furthermore, you can also claim for tax rebates as a tourist if you spend a specific amount (think it's 5,000 yen or something).

Exited via the revolving door! 

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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) 

Website 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Shiroi Koibito cookie production line is closed until end of May 2019 whereas the CookieCraft Studio and Chocolate Lounge are scheduled for closure from 01 November 2018. Good news is that the factory will have free admission during this period until end May 2019! 


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