Hokkaido is a vast and beautiful prefecture in Japan that attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year. Visitors to Hokkaido often come to engage in ski-ing and various snow-related activities. However, there is a lot more to Hokkaido than meets the eye. It is one of the best prefectures in Japan for doing souvenir shopping. The area offers many great souvenir sweets and snacks that you can buy and take home as gift ideas for your family or friends. But since countless souvenirs are being sold, you may easily get confused about what to buy in Hokkaido. And so to help you, we would like to share with you the top 10 souvenirs from Hokkaido.
Rokkatei’s Butter Biscuit Sandwich
Rokkatei is a well-known confectionery producer in Japan and their “Butter Biscuit Sandwich”, is one of their must-try snacks. This is a buttery biscuit sandwich that is filled with white chocolate and raisins. It is made using Hokkaido’s exceptional butter making it creamier. Eating even just one will leave you with a sweet pleasure in your mouth.
Just as the name suggests, this sweet souvenir is made up of crispy sweet corn that is beautifully coated with sweet white chocolate. The chocolate’s favorable sweetness is what makes this sweet gift a real piece of art. You can also come across some with seasonal flavors like melons, strawberries, or even milk in certain occasions.
Shiroi Koibito(White Lovers)
This sandwich-like sweet has kept its place as the most iconic souvenir from Hokkaido. And in fact, if you ask any Japanese what comes to mind when thinking of a souvenir from Hokkaido, their answer will be “Shiroi Koibito”- and for a very good reason. The way this biscuit is baked is so exquisite that anyone will want to try one more time. The treat consists of a thin piece of white chocolate that is sandwiched by a Langue de chat(a thin piece of cookie).
ROYCE’s Potato Chip Chocolate
While there are a wide variety of Potato chips flavors in Japan, the ROYCE’s “Potato chip chocolate” is the most famous in Hokkaido. This snack is made from a combination of chocolate and potato. The bitter-sweetness flavor created from the sweet chocolate coming together with the salty chips is just out of this world. Apart from the classic flavor, the snack is also available in two more flavors; caramel and cheese.
Nama Caramel means soft caramel thus it goes without saying that this treat is soft caramel. It is sweet and very chewy making it a perfect gift for a family member or friend with a sweet tooth. Allegedly to be handmade and hand wrapped, it comes in several different flavors. Since this treat sells a lot, it is a little harder to find it in the stalls sometimes.
Oh! Yaki Toukibi(Fried Corn)
This snack is highly recommended for those family members and friends who like lightly flavored snacks. The snack’s name means fried corn in Japanese. It is made with a base of Japan glutinous rice stuffed inside with corn. This makes it crunchy with a delicious taste when it melts inside your mouth. It comes in bite-sized portions that are wrapped individually.
The treat consists of buttery cookies sandwiching a sweet and sour jam surrounded by a chocolate coating. The jam is made using Haskap (honeyberries), a type of berry that is native to Hokkaido. If you are looking for that extra decadence, there is a Premium Black version that uses premium dark cookies.
This treat is produced by Ryugetsu, another popular sweet maker in Hokkaido with stores all over Japan. Drawing inspiration from the European-style spit cakes, it is a buttery cake with a sweet chocolate layer on its exterior. It is designed to look like the Japanese white birch trees. All the ingredients used are locally making it pretty darn tasty.
Sapporo Times Square
Although this product’s name sounds more like a location, it is going to be the softest and creamiest loofa cake you have ever tasted! In fact, it has grown to become a standard kind of souvenir in Hokkaido. It consists of tiny soft sponge cakes that are filled with custard cream.
If you have a loved one who prefers salty treats to sweet ones then this is the souvenir to buy for them in Hokkaido. Although it is very popular in Japan, it is made from potatoes that are grown in Hokkaido. It uses local ingredients including the salt which is from the Okhotsk region. You can get this snack in several great flavors all over Hokkaido.
Tips for Shopping in Hokkaido
Discover Local Markets and Shopping Districts
What to buy in Japan, in Hokkaido? Before you set out on your shopping adventure, take a moment to uncover the hidden gems of local markets and shopping districts scattered across Hokkaido. Sapporo, the bustling capital, boasts a plethora of malls and charming boutiques. Don’t forget to explore other towns like Otaru and Asahikawa, each with their own unique markets and specialty stores. Doing a bit of research beforehand will help you map out your shopping spree efficiently.
Embrace Nature During Shopping
Hokkaido wears different shades with each season, and this enchanting transformation adds an extra layer of charm to your shopping experience. From lively spring flower markets to enchanting winter wonderlands, shopping in Hokkaido is a year-round delight. Time your visit to coincide with the seasons to revel in special products and decor that mirror the spirit of the time.
Early Birds Snag the Best at Flea Markets and Bazaars
For those who relish the thrill of flea markets and bazaars, an early start is your key to scoring the best deals and uncovering the widest array of treasures. These markets are a treasure trove of local handicrafts, vintage finds, and unique keepsakes that narrate a story. Arriving early not only lets you beat the crowds but also paves the way for a leisurely shopping spree.
Discover and Try Delights in Food Markets
Hokkaido’s gastronomy is a work of art, and what better way to immerse yourself in its rich tapestry than by relishing its culinary creations? Don’t miss the chance to explore food markets like Sapporo’s Nijo Market and Otaru Sankaku Market, where you can savor ocean-fresh seafood, farm-fresh produce, and the famed Hokkaido dairy offerings. These markets are an invitation to indulge in authentic flavors and gather edible tokens for your loved ones.
Cash and Cards: Your Shopping Companions
While many establishments in Hokkaido welcome credit and debit cards, it’s wise to have a stash of cash, especially when you’re frequenting smaller vendors, local markets, or rural spots. Ensure you have a mix of denominations to ensure smooth transactions.
Bargain, Bargain, Bargain!
Although bargaining isn’t the norm in Japan, there are instances where a friendly negotiation might land you a better deal, particularly at flea markets and select souvenir shops. Polishing your bargaining skills can be an exciting addition to your shopping escapade, potentially leading to unique finds at a steal.
When you step into the shopping in Hokkaido, respect for local customs and etiquettes is key. Greet shopkeepers with a warm “Konnichiwa” (hello) and express gratitude with a heartfelt “Arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much). Simple gestures of politeness go a long way in fostering positive interactions and leaving a lasting impression.
Navigate Tax-Free Shopping
Many stores in Hokkaido extend tax-free shopping privileges to international visitors, translating into substantial savings. To take advantage of this perk, carry your passport and ensure your purchases meet the specified minimum requirements. Make the most of this opportunity to snag clothing, electronics, cosmetics, and more, sans the tax burden.
Have a Spare Bag for Souvenir Treasures
As you traverse Hokkaido’s shopping landscape, you’re bound to stumble upon unique souvenirs and trinkets that beckon to be taken home. Tuck an extra foldable bag into your luggage to accommodate your shopping haul. This small act of foresight ensures you have ample room for your newfound treasures without the need to purchase additional bags.
Engage with People and Culture
Beyond the products you procure, remember that shopping in Hokkaido is an avenue to craft enduring memories. Strike up conversations with locals, immerse yourself in cultural nuances, and capture your experiences through the lens of your camera. Your shopping venture is more than just an acquisition spree – it’s a canvas on which you paint the essence of Hokkaido and the tales that will forever remain etched in your heart.