The #1 go-to souvenir to bring back from Hokkaido is a European-style biscuit known as Shiroi Koibito. Its name literally translates to “white lover” and references Hokkaido’s snowy climate and the white chocolate used to make the cookies.
First produced in 1976, Shiroi Koibito has been a famous Japanese confection for over 40 years. It is comprised of smooth white chocolate sandwiched between two thin langue-de-chat cookies. The crispy cookies are made with butter from Hokkaido’s famous dairy cows, which is said to give them a richer flavor. Every year, more than 200 million Shiroi Koibito cookies are sold nationwide.
Shiro Koibito cookies are so popular that there is even an entertainment park dedicated to them. To get a glimpse of how the cookies are produced, guests can visit the Shiroi Koibito Park located in Sapporo for a factory tour. There, you can observe the cookies being made and packaged for delivery, as well as participate in hands-on workshops to bake your own sweet treats. The park contains a chocolate café, a museum dedicated to the history of the biscuit, and of course, a shop where you can buy the cookies to take home. Outside, you can stroll around colorful flower gardens, snap pics of the elegant British-style Tudor architecture, and even hop on a mini locomotive that drives around the grounds.
If you can’t make it to the Shiroi Koibito Park, you can find the cookies for sale at most souvenir shops and supermarkets in Hokkaido. Shiroi Koibito is available in a variety of flavors, including milk chocolate, green tea, and strawberry. The cookies come individually wrapped in a special box featuring an image of Mount Rishiri, a Hokkaido mountain that resembles the Swiss Alps. Whether you’re looking for a delicious snack or a unique gift to bring home for family and friends, Shiroi Koibito is the perfect choice!
About the author:
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.