Gaze Over a Sea of Clouds at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu’s New Cloud Bar in Hokkaido

10.October.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

This year’s winter season program at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu―Hokkaido’s leading snow resort hotel―is set to begin on December 1. As part of the program, the Muhyou Terrace will open on the same day and run until April 5, 2020. The terrace offers a snow-covered picturesque view from atop the mountain where you can see a sea of clouds and the snow-tipped trees at the bottom.
Muhyou Terrace sits on Mount Tomamu up 1,088 meters high. When you picture snowy mountains, especially those in Hokkaido, you imagine people skiing and snowboarding. But for Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, this is only part of their goal. They also want guests to enjoy the beauty of the mountain’s natural landscape including the breathtaking view of the scenery below. That’s why they decided to open Muhyou Terrace. As well as the daytime scenery, the terrace has also been turning on illuminations every winter night since 2017, offering a new perspective on the surrounding splendour.
The Cloud Bar which opened just up the slope of the Muhyou Terrace this summer features a 13 meter-long counter with chairs from which customers can soak up an incredible view. The bar has options of one or two-seat areas and can seat up to 7 people at once. There is a ladder attached to the chairs. Once you’ve climbed up and plopped yourself down you get a front row seat to the sights below. And since the bar is attached to the slope of the mountain and there’s nothing to obstruct your view, it will feel like you’re floating on the clouds as your feet kick the emptiness below.
Snow Cocktail – ¥1,200
Muhyou Terrace will offer its own original cocktail called the Snow Cocktail which is inspired by the snowy landscapes at Tomamu. This drink is a margarita made with lime juice and cointreau. Inside is a sprig of rosemary made to look like the Ezo spruce trees at the site. The snowman is in fact made of chocolate. Enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to flavour and finesse!
Frosted Coffee – ¥500 / Frosted Fondant Chocolate – ¥600
They also have specially-made chocolate fondant and coffee to warm you up. The chocolate fondant is a warm cake topped with a white chocolate snowflake and is coupled with snow-frosted chocolate branches. The coffee is covered with pure white frosty amezaiku candy. The coffee sweetens as the candy melts into your cup.
The terrace’s observation points, including the Cloud Walk and Cloud Bar, will be lit up with sparkling illuminations in the cool evenings.
Illumination Dates: December 15, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Times: Please check the official website

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  • Witness Mount Fuji and Fully Bloomed Cherry Blossoms at HOSHINOYA Fuji

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    HOSHINOYA Fuji is offering a very special Hanami flower-viewing experience for guests from April 7 to 21 this year where they can observe the springtime cherry blossoms against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Offers include cherry blossom desserts, a glamping experience inside a cabin eating curry while enjoying the scenery of the outdoors, a private outdoor dining dinner, and more.

     

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    Sakura Apéro: Witness the cherry blossoms during sunset with desserts in hand

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    Hanami on the terrace

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    Curry made on one of Mount Fuji’s lava plates

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  • Hoshino Resorts to Open New KAI Poroto Ryokan in Hokkaido in Winter 2021

    20.March.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts, which manages 42 ryokan inside and outside Japan serving Japanese tradition and culture, signed a partnership agreement with the town of Shiraoi in Hokkaido on June 28, 2018, which would have them open a hot spring ryokan there. It has been revealed that the new facility will be named Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto.

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. Built by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura, the site will open its doors in winter 2021 as the 19th branch of Hoshino Resorts’s hot spring ryokan brand KAI, of which it operates 16 in Japan. It will be the third branch of KAI in Hokkaido, following from Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu in Shimukappu village and Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.

     

    Hot springs in Shiraoi, Hokkaido include moor springs, a type of organic spring water that is rare globally. KAI Poroto faces Poroto Lake, which is enveloped in nature and home to creatures such as wild birds. All rooms at the ryokan enjoy a view of the lake, as well as a chance to see the trees and flowers bloom and change in different colours throughout the seasons.


    KAI’s aim is to offer Japanese hospitality that can only be experienced in that town or city, and during that season, as well as to give guests a comfortable experience in a Japanese-style accommodation. At KAI Poroto, they are set to offer a completely new experience tied to Ainu culture in collaboration with the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park currently in development in Shiraoi.

     

    Upopoy is scheduled to open at Lake Poroto on April 24, 2020. “Upopoy” is a word in the Ainu language that means “singing in a large group.” The museum is the first national museum in Japan to be dedicated to the indigenous Ainu people. It will serve as the national center for the revival and development of Ainu culture, something which is on the verge of extinction, and it will do this by showcasing Ainu culture and history through exhibitions, hands-on programmes, performances, and more.

     

    Hiroshi Nakamura is the architects that designed Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. “Poroto” is also a word in Ainu to mean “large lake.” The ryokan’s lobby, which is decorated with Japanese white birch, offers a view of the lake and Mount Tarumae. There are also small bath houses called kashi which have been made using Ainu architectural methods, as well as open-air baths that have you feeling like you’re taking a dip in the lake.

  • Goldfish Bar to Open at HOSHINOYA Kyoto For a Limited Time This Summer

    07.March.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s Salon & Bar KURA is being transformed into the new Kingyo Bar (“Goldfish Bar”) for a limited time from July 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020. HOSHINOYA is a chain of luxury ryokan managed by Hoshino Resorts with the Kyoto branch located in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

     

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    Enjoy the cool evenings of Arashiyama

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s goal is for people to fully enjoy the ancient capital’s summertime, hence the revamp of Salon & Bar KURA into Kingyo Bar. Fish bowls will dangle from the ceiling, which will swim elegantly, their forms illuminated by the warm light of the lamps. Customers can enjoy watching the goldfish dance while sipping on one of the bar’s original cocktails.

     

    Arashiyama is known for its history as a summer resort for the Imperial Household during the Heian Period. Since ancient times, watching goldfish has long been a creative way of cooling down from the heat of summer amongst the people of Kyoto, and you’ll get to do just that at Kingyo Bar.

     

    See traditional crafts come to life as you admire the fish

    The goldfish suspended on long string in their fishbowls are strung in such a way to meet your gaze. Enjoy the twinkling light reflecting from the bowls while the goldfish, with their cute round bodies and long fins, swim around in their cool water.

     

    Sip on cocktails

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    Catch shadow goldfish to take home

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  • Japanese Hanami 2020: Soak Up the Pink Springtime Cherry Blossoms at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    24.February.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

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    We’ve picked five of the Hoshino Resorts KAI hot spring inns that we think our readers will be most interested in. Let’s take a look!

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru | Aomori

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    Shidare-zakura Hitorijime Taizai

    Running: May 1, 2020 – May 7, 2020

    Price: ¥5,000 per person

    No. of People: 1 group per day (2-4 people per group)

    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Reservation Centre)

    Note: The tsugaru-jamisen performance will take place 15:30-16:30

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kawaji | Tochigi


    Feel what it’s like to live the life of someone living in a satoyamaーa village centred around an agricultural lifestyleーby waking up with the sunrise to start work early. Your morning job will be making tea at the watermill. You will use traditional and ancient tools like the suribachi mortar and the houroku pan to make tea grown from tea leaves in the area which you can enjoy a cup of to start your Hanami. As well as making tea, you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet breakfast while gazing at the Yoshino cherry trees, so you can get that real satoyama spring experience.

     

    Running: April 18, 2020 – April 25, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo | Shimane

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo is located in Tamatsukuri Onsen in Shimane Prefecture, where all guest rooms have their own open-air bath. The hot spring ryokan’s “Sakura Koraku” experience gives you a chance to try wariko sobaーa style of soba noodles originating in Shimane’s city of Matsueーunder the cherry blossom trees.

     

    Sakura Koraku

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 20, 2020

    Time: 15:00-19:00

    Price: ¥500 for one Hanami picnic set for two people (5 sets prepared per day)

    Booking: Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo front reception

    Notes: Rickshaw will run from April 1, 2020 to April 7, 2020 costing ¥1,300 per person. 30 minute ride. 5 groups per day (2 people per group).

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga | Ishikawa

    Head to one of Kaga’s famous weeping cherry blossom tree spots to enjoy a cup of Japanese tea prepared yourself. This plan offers the chance to experience Ishikawa culture in a spot that has been loved by locals for decades.

     

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso | Kumamoto

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso stands in Aso-Kuju National Park. Gaze at the five peaks of Mount Asoーthe largest active volcano in Japanーwhile sipping on water drawn from one of Japan’s 100 famous water sources. Change up the water of the water to your liking: carbonate it, add syrup, and so on. You’ll also get some refreshing fruits that have sat in carbonated water. Sit amongst the colourful flowers, like tulips and baby blue eyes, while soaking up the beautiful sights of Aso.

     

    Tansan Ohanami

    Running: April 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020

    Price: ¥3,000 per person

    No. of People: 3 groups per day (two people per group)

    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Booking Centre)

    Note: In the case of rain, Tansan Ohanami will not run on that day

     

     

    This is just 5 of the 14 Hoshino Resorts KAI branches offering a chic Hanami experience. If you’re travelling to Japan this spring, be sure to check out what they’re offering.

  • 6 Must Try Soft Serve Ice Creams in Hokkaido – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    08.February.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Hokkaido is home to some seriously sumptuous desserts, not to mention their matcha range. Today we’re looking at 6 unmissable ice creams you can try around Sapporo, because if Hokkaido is known for anything, its the soft serve ice cream.
    We are joined once again by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English.

    UMIERE 2nd in Tanukikoji

    UMIERE is credited with lighting the fire on the popularity of mokomoko, or ‘fluffy,’ soft serve ice cream. Their second branch, UMIERE 2nd, recently reopened after a revamp. As part of their renewal, they have introduced a number of new menu items like shiratama white flour dumplings.
    Macaron Soft Parfait – ¥718
    I ordered the Macaron Soft Parfait, which is a tower of organic soft serve ice cream, macarons, chocolate sauce, and sponge cake filled with sliced strawberries. The ice cream itself is both refreshing yet rich. As you continue to scoop up mouthfuls from the ice cream cup, the other ingredients gradually reveal themselves: the fresh cream, the strawberries, and the sponge, just like a parfait.
    The cafe enjoys a relaxed atmosphere and is a great place to pop into if you’re looking for a hideaway.
    ▼Umiere 2nd (ウミエール)
    Address: Marufuku Bldg. Floor 2F, 4-Chome-9, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 011-211-4738

    JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO in Shindohigashi

    When talking about coffee in Hokkaido, the name that’s likely to pop up is Morihico. And when talking about their most popular menu item sold at their chain cafe JB ESPRESSO, it’s their variety of cute ice creams.

    JB Soft Cream Pudding à la Mode – ¥450
    Based on the Japanese “purin à la mode,” a type of Japanese custard pudding served with an assortment of other desserts, this ice cream is custard pudding flavoured and is drizzled in caramel, topped with whipped cream, and crowned with a cherry. And the caramel isn’t just sauceーit’s crunchy like caramel chocolate, giving the ice cream a variety of scrumptious textures.
    JB Soft Cream Mix – ¥420
    The mixed ice cream is one of the specialities of JB, combining milk and chocolate flavours. The milk ice cream is made with milk from Jersey cattle, so is rich in flavour while still being smooth and refreshing. The chocolate is also rich, made from three types of Spanish chocolate.
    JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO (ジェービー エスプレッソ モリヒコ)
    Address: 16-1-1 Kita 34 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 9:00-22:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 011-788-2133

    Kinotoya Bake (Pole Town Branch) in Odori Park

    Kinotoya Bake is located in Pole Town, accessed by walking towards Tanukikoji from Odori Park. They don’t sell cooked confections or take like the Kinotoya brand is known for, but rather tarts, apple pies, and ice creams.

    Gokujo Milk Soft – ¥410
    The name of this ice cream alone screams Hokkaido, as the prefecture is known for its Gokujo, or “first-rate” milk. It’s pretty big as you can probably tell from the photo! This full-bodied milky cream, which is smooth like fresh cream, is the one I’d recommend from the various different ice creams made with Hokkaido milk. And because of its size, your belly is sure to be satisfied afterwards!
    ▼Kinotoya Bake
    Address: Pole Town, 3-Chome, 2 Minami Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0120-24-6161

    TEA SIGN in PARCO Odori Park

    TEA SIGN is famous in Sapporo for its tapioca, and at the PARCO branch, they sell it with milk tea flavoured ice cream.
    Tapioca Milk Tea Soft Cream – ¥520
    You can really taste the flavour of the tea leaves. The ice cream is moderately sweet with a strong black tea taste. The ice cream means it offers a different kind of tapioca experience from your usual tapioca milk tea.
    ▼TEA SIGN (ティーサイン)
    Address: PARCO (Floor B2F), 3-Chome-3, Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays

    TSURU CAFE in Miyanomori

    TSURU CAFE is a stylish little cafe in Miyanomori where they serve cooked confections, cakes, and many popular ice cream flavours. As well as the cafe side of TSURU, they also sell artwork and other things by creators.

    Flavour Soft Strawberry – ¥830
    The “Flavour Soft Strawberry” is a speciality of TSURU CAFE. This towering dessert is layered with ice cream, fresh strawberries, meringue, and strawberry sauce. The milky ice cream is refreshing, and the sweet taste of the strawberries is divine. The flavours are simple, but every thing in the dessert is delicious. The strawberry sauce is served on the side so you can pour over the amount that suites your taste.
    ▼TSURU CAFE (ツルカフェ)
    Address: 5-2-8 Miyanomori 2 Jo, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: [Mon-Sat] 10:00-20:00 / [Sun & Holidays] 10:00-19:00
    Closed: Wednesdays

    COCOBON in Shin-Sapporo

    COCOBON is a super popular fruit and ice cream shop that opened in Shin-Sapporo just last year. The ice cream and fruits are mixed together as soon as you put your order in.

    Walnut Chocolate – ¥400
    I ordered the Belgian chocolate ice cream with walnuts and chocolate cereal. The Belgian chocolate is sweet and its texture is amazing together with the walnuts. If you love chocolate, you’ll love the rich flavour of this ice cream.
    The shop actually closes when all the stock is sold out, so if you’re planning a trip here, be sure to arrive nice and early so as to not miss out.
    COCOBON (ココボン)
    Address: 8-7-30 Aobacho, Atsubetsu Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays
    Enquiries: 011-887-8984
    Did you enjoy these ice cream scoops? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.

     

    Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.

    *Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.

  • 9 Must Try Desserts and Sweets in Hokkaido & at New Chitose Airport – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    06.February.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    We at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON know our readers love desserts and sweets as much as we do, and that’s why we make sure to never go too long without writing about the latest must-try treats in Japan, like our recent article on matcha desserts in Sapporo.
    We return to you once more with the 9 must-try delectable delights at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, and at various locations across Hokkaido. If you’re heading to Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and are using this airport, or are travelling throughout Hokkaido, then you can’t miss out on these irresistible picks.
    Today, we are joined by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English. Enjoy!

    GINRYU・BonBon BERRY | New Chitose Airport

    GINRYU・BonBon BERRY is a revamp of the original shop, GINRYU. Located on the second floor of New Chitose Airport Terminal, the new shop has teamed up with BonBonBERRY, another store right next to Atami Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

     

    The shop specialises in Tokachi Ginryu strawberries, a variety of strawberry produced in the town of Otofuke. They have a distinct appearance and taste, with their beautiful white inside, low acidity, and high sugar content.

    Omocchiizu Strawberry Skewer – ¥432
    This skewered dessert is made up of strawberries, cheese-filled sticky rice cake, and strawberry baumkuchen. This is the ultimate strawberry indulgence!
    Strawberry Bavarois – ¥740
    Bon Bon Soft – ¥500
    The Strawberry Bavarois and soft serve ice cream look super cute too. The high sugar content of the Ginryu strawberry makes them perfect for any kind of dessert.
    The shop is stocked full of other great sweet treats too, so be sure to check out their strawberry range.
    ▼GINRYU・BonBon BERRY
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-29-4480

    Chocolatier Masale | New Chitose Airport

    Chocolatier Masale is a standout name in Hokkaido. This leading chocolate company have multiple branches – in addition to the Sapporo shops, they have sites in both the lobby and gate lounge of New Chitose Airport.

    Mousse Glacee White Chocolate & Hokkaido Milk – ¥410
    Exclusive to the departure lobby branch of Chocolatier Malase, this chocolatey dessert is an ensemble of ice cream made from mousse-packed Hokkaido milk and covered in chocolate. It’s finished with cracked freeze-dried strawberries which give a fruity kick to the smooth taste of the ice cream and delightful chocolate.
    ▼Chocolatier Masale – New Chitose Airport Departure Lobby (ショコラティエマサール 新千歳空港出発ロビー店)
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-29-4115
    Official Website: https://www.masale.jp/

    siretoco sky sweets | New Chitose Airport

    siretoco doughnuts were created in the town of Nakashibetsu in Hokkaido. The New Chitose Airport Terminal branch is immensely popular for its cute mini animal doughnuts which are steamed instead of being dropped into hot oil, making them a healthier doughnut option.
    Happy New Year Lucky Rat – ¥420 / Rich★Cream Cheese – ¥390
    The doughnut on the left celebrates 2020 and the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac. It’s white chocolate and strawberry chocolate flavoured. It’s also not too sweet and has a soft and fluffy texture. The cheese doughnut has a very cheesy flavour indeed. All the animal faces are also made by hand, so each and every one is unique. Both are really cute looking.
    ▼siretoco sky sweets (シレトコ スカイ スイーツ)
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-46-2109

    Cafe Owl | Lake Shikotsu

    Handmade Baked Purin – ¥500
    Cafe Owl is situated in Shikotsuko Onsen, a popular tourist spot about a 55-minute transit bus ride from New Chitose Airport. It has a warm atmosphere to it with its log house-like appearance. Their food menu has just two things on it: pizza and purin (Japanese custard pudding). I ordered a purin and cup of coffee as a set.
    The photo doesn’t show how big the purin actually is – it’s like a cake slice. It has a refreshing taste and isn’t overly-sweet so can be chowed down easily.
    ▼Cafe Owl (カフェアウル)
    Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
    Closed: Wednesdays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-2590

    Pennennolde | Lake Shikotsu

    Atsuma Honeysuckle Rare Cheese & Cocoa – ¥380 / Walnut Chocolate Ganache – ¥380
    This cafe is also located in Shikotsuko Onsen. Their main meal is muffins, which are served warm inside their very relaxed space. The honeysuckle cheese muffin is thick and sticky, and doesn’t have an unpleasant smell from the cheese. It’s simply delicious. The chocolate ganache too is melted which only adds to the nice texture of the walnuts.
    The muffins can be ordered for takeout too, so you can take them with you to enjoy the local sights.
    ▼Pennennolde (ペンネンノルデ)
    Address: Bangaichi, Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-4115

    Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui | Lake Shikotsu

    Raspberry Chocolate Soft Cream – ¥500
    This cafe is close to Lake Shikotsu. They sell soft serve ice cream from the famous Iwase Farm located in the city of Sunagawa. This flavour is made with rich chocolate ice cream and is topped with freeze-dried raspberries, creating a great balance between the two.
    This small place has its own eat-in area too, so you can kick back and relax while you enjoy the taste of some Hokkaido soft serve ice cream.
    ▼Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui (北のうまいもん店碧水)
    Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: Not known
    Closed Days: Not known
    Enquiries: 0123-25-4115
    Official Website: Not known

    Doremo LeTAO | Chitose

    Chocolate Noisette Berry – ¥1,540
    Doremo LeTAO is just a 15-minute walk from Chitose Station. Their “Chocolate Noisette Berry” is packed fully of rich chocolate, nuts, and berries.
    Berry Mascarpone – ¥1,650
    The “Berry Mascarpone” comes with four pancakes drizzled in berry sauce, mascarpone, custard, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. The pancakes have soft meringue inside them, but are still light to eat, so you can rest assured you won’t have a heavy stomach afterwards.
    ▼Doremo LeTAO (ドレモルタオ)
    Address: 6-1-1 Asahinochi, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 050-5570-2975

    Mirtillo | Osatsu

    Mirtillo is a gelato shop on the outskirts of Osatsu in Chitose. It’s a tricky place to reach without a car, but it still stands as an incredibly popular gelato store. They have 16 flavours of gelato including several limited-time options.

    Waffle Parfait – ¥1,000
    I tried their “Waffle Parfait,” which lets you pick from two gelato of your choice along with toppings. The combination of the crunchy waffles with the gelato is delicious. Added together with the blueberry sauce and fruits, you get a variety of tastes and textures.
    The blueberries are actually all grown on site.
    ▼Mirtillo (ミルティーロ)
    Address: 2 Osatsu, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-23-5323
    Official Website: http://mirtillo.tank.jp/

    Donut Chaya Honwaka | Eniwa

    Honwaka Cocoa – ¥140 / Autumn Chestnut – ¥220
    Honwaka is a doughnut shop about 1.5km from Eniwa Station. I got to try some of their seasonal autumn flavours: the fluffy and flavourful “Honwaka Cocoa,” and the chestnut and chestnut cream-loaded “Autumn Chestnut.” The chestnut cream is just the right amount of sweetness and has a really delightful chestnut flavour.
    The store offers limited-time seasonal flavours with each passing season, so be sure to check out my Instagram to see more.
    ▼Donut Chaya Honwaka (ドーナツ茶屋 ほんわか)
    Address: 7-18-4 Koganeminami, Eniwa, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-5346
    Did you enjoy these dessert picks? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.

     

    Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.

    *Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.

  • Star Wars Theme Cafe Opens in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido & Fukuoka

    25.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    With The Rise of Skywalker concluding the Skywalker saga of the Star Wars film franchise, fans are left craving more from the galaxy far far away.

     

    If you’re one of those people, and need a fix before season two of The Mandalorian, which is coming in late 2020, then you’ll want to hit up the all-new Star Wars-themed cafes now open for a limited time at branches of OH MY CAFE across Japan in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka.

     

    We visited the Tokyo branch of the cafe which is located inside Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku. Here’s our report of this must-see cafe for Star Wars fans, a museum-like space chock-full of concept art.

    Ready to greet you as you walk into the cafe is none other than Darth Vader. This life-size recreation of the Sith Lord is really striking, but don’t worryーthough he is realistic, he won’t use his Force choke on you, he only wishes for you to have a nice meal.

    Plastered across the cafe walls are pieces of concept art used during the production of the Star Wars film series.

    Here’s a galactic showcasing of the cafe’s menu. There are 7 food items and 5 drinks to choose from, all inspired by the franchise and its characters.

    <STAR WARS> Far Far Away Galaxy Black Curry – ¥1,590

    A signature dish of the cafe, this black curry features the Star Wars logo which is actually an edible wafer. The space design is bamboo charcoal-cooked rice which is mixed with spicy sauce and topped with peanuts for stars.

    <BB-8> Seafood BB-8 Gratin – ¥1,690

    Fans of BB-8 won’t be able to resist this delicious gratin, served with salad and French bread for a full belly.

    <Yoda> Root Leaf Stew – ¥1,590

    This stew is inspired by Yoda living his final years in his little shack in Dagobah during Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s packed full of vegetables and will no doubt be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

    <R2-D2 & C-3PO> Buddy Burger Plate – ¥1,990

    This set of two chicken burgers comes with an R2-D2 seasoned with béchamel sauce and a C-3PO burger seasoned with meat sauce. You can take the flags home with you too. We recommend sharing this between two people.

    Portion Bread – ¥500

    This is the one I was most interested in personally, because I was curious to know from its appearance how it would taste. It’s the portion bread that Rey tries eating in the film. At first glance it looks crunchy, but to my surprise it was soft with a subtle sweet flavour.

    Lightsaber Drinks – ¥600 Each (w/ Coaster ¥1,300)

    From the left, the flavours are Darth Vader blood orange, Luke Skywalker ramune, and Yoda melon. When you draw your straw from the paper wrapping, it turns into a lightsaber!

    <STAR WARS > Jet Black Coffee – ¥600 (w/Bottle ¥1,750)

    These limited edition bottles of black coffee feature the famous Star Wars opening crawl credits. Which one you get is randomーa must-have for all fans!

    After enjoying some Star Wars food and drink, it’s time to check out the cafe’s exclusive merchandise. There are 13 types of merch in total all bearing artwork from across the film series.

    Folder – ¥350

    I recommend picking up one of these folders made in collaboration with the cafe. It has illustrations of the food and drinks being sold there.

    Tote Bag – ¥3,500

    This tote bag has illustrations of characters from Star Wars and how they are all connected.

    There’s plenty of other must-grab merch too, from music to stationery and more.

    Customers who spend over ¥1,000 (excluding tax) on any of these exclusive items will receive the above-pictured limited edition bag. These are limited in stock so are available while supplies last.

    There’s plenty of places inside for fans to take great photos, so make sure you snap lots.

    Also, if you book a table in advance and order something from the menu, you’ll receive one of these 25 possible A5 folders, so be sure to book before you go!

     

     

    © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

    *All listed prices are pre-tax. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

  • 3 Breathtaking New Rooms to Open at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa

    25.January.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa, a branch of Hoshino Resorts’ hotels for tourists and travellers, has announced that it is opening three new room types to guests from April 1 to make their stay and travels that much better. They are the “Double Room,” “Superior Room,” and “Family Room.”

     

    OMO7 Asahikawa opened in Hokkaido April 2018 as the first branch of Hoshino Resorts’s “OMO” brand of city tourism hotels. The hotel offers not only a great sleep, but enjoys the benefit of its location with must-see sights surrounding it, and all of this to make guests’ stay the best it can be.


    The hotel’s Studio Rooms, formerly named the DANRAN Room before the renovation, have received praise from guests that have stayed there for offering everything they needed while being compact, as well as it being easy to kick back and relax in them. It was revealed that in 2019, the average number of people staying in a single room at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa was higher than the average of that in other city hotels in Asahikawa, as well as the hotel being popular for catering to tourist and sightseers’ needs.

     

    The hotel has now renovated 111 of its rooms in response to it being used by a lot of people because of its catering towards tourists’ needs. It has also added the three new types of roomsーDouble, Superior, and Familyーwhich incorporate the well-received functionality of the Studio Rooms. That’s 226 room renovations out of the hotel’s 237 rooms.

    All beds have storage space underneath them. Those travelling in big groups like families will especially benefit from this if they have a lot of luggage as they can save on plenty of space in rooms.

     

    New rooms are furnished with new sofas and tables for maximum comfort amongst friends and family where they can talk about their trip while enjoying local drinks and snacks.

    Also, in the Superior Rooms and Family Rooms, where there is a small amount of guests, beds can be folded and turned into spacious sofas.

    The OMO brand promises “a reasonable price for your travels,” and this rings true: the new Family Rooms start at ¥5,500, allowing an affordable stay so you can spend more on the local sights.

     

    Room bookings will open on February 3, 2020, so if you’re visiting Hokkaido, be sure to check out Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.

  • Matcha Desserts in Sapporo You Just Have To Try

    06.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    We’ve previously covered the best spots to try delicious matcha desserts in Kyoto. Now, with the help of expert dessert Instagrammer Kei, we are going to introduce you to some of the most delicious spots to try matcha desserts in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

     

    If you want to discover more delicious cafés, desserts and drinks in Hokkaido, make sure to check out Kei’s Instagram (@607keih).

     

    KotoniSand, Nishi Ward

    Macchan French Toast: ¥1200

     From dinners to desserts, this café serves up lots of meals based on their delicious thick-sliced bread. Bread flavours include plain, matcha and even coffee. You can order to go or enjoy the eat-in-limited menu. This fluffy french toast is soaked in matcha liqueur and is full of flavour even before trying it with the toppings. Take a bite of it with the red bean paste for a flavour adventure. A limited number of these are sold per day so if you want to try it, make sure to get there early. 

     

    ▼KotoniSand

    Address: 1-1-1 Yamanote 5 Jō, Nishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Official Website: https://kotonisand.business.site

     

    Ame no hi to yuki no hi, Minami Ward

    Gelato Futatsu: ¥450

    Located before Jozankei’s onsen hotspot is a café called Ame no hi yuki no hi. It serves delicious pizzas and a variety of gelato flavours depending on the season. Their matcha ice cream is delicious. They even allow you to order two or three flavours at once so you can enjoy a mix and match of combinations. 

    ▼Ame no hi to yuki no hi

    Address: 2-4-1, Jozankeionsennishi, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:30
    Closed: Thursdays
    Official Website: https://www.amenohitoyukinohi.com

     

    KANON pancakes, Shiroishi Ward

    Matcha Tiramisu Pancake: ¥1500

    This is a famous pancake shop in Kikusui. Tuck into a stack of fluffy pancakes inside the relaxing and soothing restaurant. The Matcha Tiramisu Pancakes are soaked with liqueur, creating a texture that is softer and moister than their standard pancakes. In addition to the matcha liqueur, the pancake is also dusted with matcha powder for a richer matcha flavour. Finally, they are drizzled with delicious brown sugar syrup and topped with walnuts.

     

    ▼KANON pancakes

    Address: 5-5-18 Kikusui 3 Jo, Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo,

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Orders: 16:00)
    No Regular Holidays
    Official Website: https://kanon-pancakes.com

     

    Any cafe, Kita Ward

    Matcha Kintoki: ¥1350

    This shop uses gluten-free ingredients in their food. This pancake dish is made using unpolished rice powder, three pieces of Turkish delight, red bean paste, rice flour dumplings, and cream made from Hokkaido-produced mascarpone and fresh cream. The cream is full of the bitter and delicious flavour of matcha, making the pancake sweet and very delicious. 

     

    ▼Any cafe

    Address: 3-2-24 Kita 18 Jonishi, Kita Ward

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30 (Last Orders: 18:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/any_cafe_sapporo/

     

    If you are looking for delicious matcha desserts in Sapporo, let this article help you decide where to go. When your food cravings kick in, make sure to visit Kei‘s Instagram which is full of the most delicious meals, drinks and desserts in Hokkaido. 

     

    Original Article Contents and Photos by: Kei (@607keih )

  • Winter is Coming: Warm Up With Hot Pot at Hot Spring Hotel Hoshino Resorts KAI

    29.December.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    The cold weather is here, and it’s only set to get colder. When winter falls in Japan, one of the best things people like to do is cook hot pot. Hoshino Resorts is offering the same service for guests this winter at 14 branches of their ‘KAI’ onsen ryokan (hot spring Japanese inn) brand hotels up and down Japan, with each hot pot filled with the taste of local cuisine.

     

    Winter is truly the best time to eat hot pot for Japanese people, as they huddle around the table nice and toasty and tuck into their piping hot dinner. We’re showcasing 9 of the hot pots you can enjoy at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter season.

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru: “Gyu Shabu” – Dashi made delicious with plentiful dried tuna

    KAI Tsugaru is situated in Aomori, and this hot pot is made one with one of the prefecture’s most famous ingredients: tuna, which is caught during the autumn and winter seasons. The main player of this beef shabu hot pot is its dashi which is made from the sweet juices of tuna which go deliciously well with the beef. If you’re looking for a hot pot that’s a little different from the usual options, you’ll love this one.

     

    Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 1)
    Plan Name: Ooma no Gaguro Zukushi Kaiseki (大間のまぐろづくし会席)
    Price: From ¥24,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/tsugaru.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga: “Kani Sukinabe” – Zuwai-gani snow crab

    At KAI Kaga, which is located in Yamashiroonsen, Ishikawa, this hot pot they have cooked up is made in a kombu dashi and is filled with legs of zuwai-gani snow crab and a variety of winter vegetables like bok choy and edible chrysanthemums.

    The dish makes full use of the delicious flavour of the crab. It’s also served in kunitani-ware made by a young craftsman and Yamanaka lacquer ware, adding to the originality of this hot pot.

     

    Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 29-January 6)
    Plan Name: Katsu Kani Zukushi no Tagu Zuki Kani Kaiseki (活蟹づくしのタグ付き蟹会席)
    Price: From ¥47,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/kaga.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps: “Yuki Nabe” – Thawing of spring

    The hot pot at KAI Alps in Nagano includes fluffy cotton candy which is based on the snowy mountains of the alps. When you pour the soup over, the cotton candy melts, symbolising the thawing of spring, to reveal the beef and vegetables. The cotton candy adds a light sweetness to the soup as well as fun visual effect.

     

    Running: December 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
    Plan Name: Yuki Nabe Kaiseki (雪鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥25,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/alps.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa: “Ise Ebi & Roast Beef Ryujin Nabe” – The dragon god’s hot pot

    KAI Kinugawa in Tochigi has created a hot pot based around the legend of the Ryuokyo dragon god, capturing its malevolence. It’s cooked over stones heated to almost 800℃.The soup bubbles as the pot begins to boil and cooks the seafood and other local ingredients from Tochigi, making sure to draw every last delicious drop of flavour from them.

     

    Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 28-January 4)
    Plan Name: Ise Uni to Gyuu Roosu no Ryuujin Nabe Kaiseki (伊勢海老と牛ロースの龍神鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥31,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/kinugawa.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara: “Uni & Beef Sukinabe” – Satisfying spices from the mountains and seas

    KAI Sengokuhara in Kanagawa has created a hot pot that’s made with lots of ingredients from the mountains and the seas. By using a bounty of uni, which goes incredibly well with beef, it adds a rich sweetness to the overall flavour. There is also a secret flavour hidden under it all: syrup made from the ao mikan citrus which grows in the city of Odawara. This not only adds an exquisite sourness to the hot pot, but also serves to elevate the sweetness of the uni.

     

    Running: June 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
    Plan Name: Uni to Gyuu no Sukinabe Kaiseki (雲丹と牛のすき鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥46,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/sengokuhara.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito: “Sankai Nabe” – Soaking up the mountains and seas of Ito

    Shizuoka is home to KAI Ito, where guests can enjoy yet another hot pot lavish with ingredients from the mountains and the seas, like splendid alfonsino―which Ito enjoys an abundance of―as well as seasonal vegetables and beef. There are two soups to combine these ingredients with: a bouillabaisse which contains a dashi made from fish from Ito filled with splendid alfonsino and vegetables, and a beef soup.

     

    Running: October 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
    Plan Name: Sankai Nabe (山海鍋)
    Price: From ¥25,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/ito.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu: “Tecchiri” – A taste of the Torafugu tiger pufferfish

    KAI Enshu is another hot spring inn, located in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka. Their “Tecchiri” is made with Torafugu tiger pufferfish. None of the flavour of the fugu is wasted in this hot pot, and that is proven as the entire thing is made right in front of customers’ eyes. The zōsui is made with a KAI Enshu-original blend of sencha green tea called souka (爽華), which ensures that element of locality is included in the dish as Shizuoka is famous for its tea.

     

    Running: October 5, 2019 – March 31, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
    Plan Name: Fugu Zukushi Kaiseki (ふぐづくし会席)
    Price: From ¥31,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/enshu.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo: “Kani Sukinabe” – Collaboration between Katsu Matsubagani & Shijimi

    KAI Izumo is situated in Tamatsukuri Onsen, an onsen hot spring in Tamayu, Shimane. Their “Kani Sukinabe” is made with rich snow crab crab which has an exquisite sweetness and is soft in texture. From beginning to end, this hot pot is a crab party in your mouth.

     

    Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 31-January 4)
    Plan Name: Tagu Zuki Katsu Matsubagani Zukushi Kaiseki (タグ付き活松葉蟹づくし会席)
    Price: From ¥45,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/izumo.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso: “Netakuri Nabe” – Rich miso and cheese

    The base of the soup in KAI Aso, located in Kumamoto, is a mix of milk from Jersey cattle and miso. It contains wagyu Japanese beef and seasonal vegetables. Its appearance is based on the Aso Caldera region of Kumamoto Prefecture and its incredibly vast grasslands.

     

    Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
    Plan Name: Wagyuu to Caciocavallo o Tanoshimu Netakuri Nabe (和牛とカチョカヴァロを楽しむねたくり鍋)
    Price: From ¥46,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/aso.html

     

     

    Below is a video which showcases each of these local hot pot dishes, so be sure to check it out if you’re not already watering at the mouth

     

    All of these hot pots are made with only the best local ingredients as expected of KAI, and all are available for the rest of winter only. Guests can experience the local regions not only through the food, but in the tableware each hotel uses. If you’re in Japan this winter, be sure to book with one of the many Hoshino Resorts KAI branches and stay warm with a delicious serving of hot pot.

  • Beautiful and Scrumptious Strawberry Desserts You Have to Try in Sapporo This Winter

    28.December.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In Japan, strawberries are the perfect winter treat. In this feature, we’re going to look at the most mouthwatering strawberry desserts in Sapporo with the help of Hokkaido dessert expert Kei,(@607keih) whose Instagram is full of the most delicious dessert pictures you have ever seen.

     

    MIRAI.ST, Sapporo Station

    Strawberry and Pistachio Shortcake Parfait: ¥1650

    Dig through the rich pistachio ice cream to discover layers of whipped cream, sponge cake and strawberries. You will also come across pistachio panna cotta and crispy biscuit which contributes a wonderful texture. The fusion of strawberry shortcake and pistachio is divine. Finally, the strawberry jam leaves you with a sweet and tangy aftertaste for a refreshing finish. 

     

    MIRAI.ST

    Address: Shikishima Bldg. B1, 3 Chome−3, Kita 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours

     Mondays-Thursdays: 11:30-23:00

    Fridays and Saturdays: 11:00-24:00

    Sundays:11:30-21:00
    No Regular Holidays
    Official Website: https://miraist.com/

     

    INITIAL SAPPORO, Susukino Station

    Natsumizuki Strawberry Parfait: ¥1800 *Only 10 sold per day.

     This parfait is made using Natsumizuki strawberriesーa type of strawberry that is not available to buy at the market. With a sugar content between 18 and 18 degrees Brix, these strawberries are especially sweet and juicy. Below the mountain of strawberries is pistachio soft-serve ice cream followed by chocolate soft-serve ice cream and crispy feuilletine. Sweet and tangy fruits such as blueberries and blackcurrants garnish the parfait and will leave you feeling refreshed. The balsamic flavour on the strawberries accents the flavour perfectly. 

     

    ▼INITIAL SAPPORO

    Address: DRESS Floor 2, 5−36-1F, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours:17:00-24:00
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/initial_sapporo?lang=ja

     

    Matcha cafe RIQ, Susukino Station

    Strawberry Forest:¥1980

     This parfait is also made using Natsumizuki strawberries. A Christmas biscuit, chocolate ice cream and berry ice cream hide the sponge cake core. It tastes just as marvellous as it looks. This is a great way to get your strawberry fill. 

     

    ▼Matcha cafe RIQ

    Address: T5 Building Floor 2, 5 Chome, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-23:30
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.riq-jp.com/

     

     

    Umiere, Bus Center Mae

    Strawberry Open Sandwich: ¥400

    Umiere’s delicious open sandwich has returned. A slice of bread is smothered in whipped cream and layered with strawberries – simple yet beautiful. The whipped cream perfectly balances out the sweetness of the strawberries. The bread is very fluffy and delicious.

     

    Umiere

    Address:  5 Chome, Kita 3 Johigashi,  Chuo Ward, Sapporo
    Opening Hours:11:00-19:00
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/umiere6/?hl=ja

     

    Berry Berry Crazy, Susukino Station

    Strawberry Parfait: ¥ 1570

     All throughout the year, strawberries sourced from Urakawa in Hokkaido are on the menu at Berry Berry Crazy. Fresh strawberries fill the centre of the parfait along with sponge cake, cream, milk gelato, strawberry jelly and crispy dough. The parfait comes with strawberry sauce and condensed milk on the side to add as you please.

     

    Berry Berry Crazy

    Address: Floor 2, 5 Chome−20, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 12:00-17:00

    Daytime-Only Menu: 18:00-24:00 (Last Orders: 23:30)

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/berryberrycrazy/?hl=ja

     

    Nagayama Rest, Bus Center Mae

    Basque Cheesecake and Strawberry Winter Parfait: ¥1580

    Basque cheesecake is trending in Japan and now you enjoy it in a parfait. Basque cheesecake makes up the centre of the parfait and is surrounded by fresh strawberries, soft-serve ice cream, mascarpone cream, meringue, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chip cookies and much more. It is moderately sweet and goes great with a cup of coffee.

     

    Nagayama Rest

    Address:   Nagayama Memorial Park, 6 Chome-2, Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-22:00
    Closed: Every second Wednesday of the month.

    Tabelog: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010202/1058864/

     

    These desserts are perfect to satisfy any strawberry-lover exploring Sapporo so if you’re ever in the area you should definitely try one. 

     

    Kei’s Instagram page is a wealth of recommendations for meals and desserts in Hokkaido, so be sure to check it out if you’re planning to travel there.

     

    Original Article Contents and Photos by Kei (@607keih)

     

    *The information on the desserts mentioned in this article are subject to change at any time. For the latest updates, please refer to the links provided in this article.

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