In summer, Sapporo ice cream is some of the tastiest around. But actually, Japan has a unique culture of eating ice cream in winter.
You might wonder, "why eat ice cream when it's cold?" Especially in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, where winter is absolutely freezing. But for that reason, insulation in buildings is excellent, and it's quite comfortable indoors. Which leads to the urge to eat ice cream.
Here are four popular Sapporo ice cream shops, where you can experience the "winter ice cream" culture of Hokkaido.
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1. Maruyama Gelato No.24 HACO Store: Gelato Made with Quality Hokkaido Milk
Maruyama Gelato is located in Nijuyon-Ken Station, which is about 15 minutes away from Odori on the subway. It was originally in the Maruyama area, and in autumn of 2019, they moved to “No.24 HACO,” where their gelato factory and sister store pizzeria are located.
The reason behind their popularity is the full menu with original items. They have Japanese gelato flavors such as yomogi (Japanese mugwort), sakura mochi (red bean paste covered in pink rice cake wrapped in pickled cherry blossom leaf), and hojicha tea. They also have various items made with carefully selected fruits and vegetables from Hokkaido.
What makes the flavor stand out is the quality ingredients. They use pasteurized milk gathered from cows kept on fertile grounds in Biei Town located in the middle area of Hokkaido. The quality of this Hokkaido dairy brings out the full flavors of the other ingredients.
The most recommend gelato is the combination of "Hokkaido Dattan Soba," with a unique fragrance and "Biei Fresh Milk," where you can taste the deliciousness of the milk (double: tax included 450 yen). You will also want to keep an eye out for the limited time flavors when you visit.
If you don't have time to visit Nijuyon-Ken, you can always visit their other ice cream shop in Daimaru Sapporo.
- Address 〒063-0802 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Nishi Ward, Nijuyonken 2 Jo, 4 Chome−5−29 No.24 HACO 1F
- Phone Number 011-676-6208
Hours: 11:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m. (L.O. 4:00 p.m.)
2. Gyokusuien: Enjoy Authentic Matcha Ice Cream!
There is a place where you can enjoy Sapporo ice cream, plus authentic matcha sweets produced by a Japanese tea specialty shop!
Gyokusuien, located at Minami 1 Jo-higashi 1 chome, is a wholesale shop specialized in Japanese tea that opened in 1993.
Currently, they sell quality tea leaves to general customers at wholesale prices, and Japanese tea instructors will advise on selecting tea leaves. Also, they work on combining tea and food ingredients from Hokkaido, and their original sweets have attracted attention.
“Yukimoe Parfait” (standard 390 yen, high quality 480 yen, tax included) expresses the four seasons of Hokkaido.
It is made from soft-serve Hokkaido ice cream that looks like soft snow, matcha ice cream that expresses the vibrant green of spring and summer, tokachi tsubu-an (red bean paste) and Hokkaido brown rice cone that expresses the autumn harvest and fertile land of the north.
The style of matcha used changes daily, and the standard version uses one type of tea, and the high quality uses two to three types.
A popular item that gets sold out every day is the “Yukimoe Parfait Deluxe Teyaki Matcyha Cone” (550 yen tax included), is a parfait where you can enjoy a cone made with two to three types of matcha. Each cone is made by hand, and they can only provide a few dozen a day.
If you want to enjoy the flavor of matcha further, how about trying out the “Yukimoe Matcha Latte” (450 yen tax included). By pouring freshly made luxurious matcha on soft-serve ice cream in a cup, it creates a matcha milkshake-like texture.
For dessert, you can order takeout or eat at the shop. When you eat at the shop, they provide freshly brewed hojicha.
- Address Minami 1 Jo-higashi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0051, Japan
- Phone Number 011-231-1500
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Holidays
3. UMIERE: Cute Looking Soft-Serve Ice Cream
Have you heard of the soft-serve ice cream called "Moko Moko Soft?" It is a thick soft-serve ice cream that has a round form, and it has become popular on SNS. The store that started the trend "UMIERE," is located in a building across the Sapporo Factory in Sapporo City Chuo-ku.
The soft-serve ice cream is sold in a lifestyle shop that sells sundries and clothing. There is also space where you can eat inside.
The item that represents UMIERE is the "Hokkaido Organic Milk Soft" (tax included 430 yen). They use Hokkaido Organic Milk that is produced by cows that are raised with feed, not using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The cute round form holds while you take pictures. Another reason behind its popularity is the rich but not too sweet milk soft-serve ice cream.
Kuromitsu Tapioca Soft (tax included 600 yen), places the soft-serve ice cream in the middle and topped with black tapioca. The contrast of the tapioca, kuromitsu (brown sugar syrup), and soft-serve ice cream make a great visual for photos.
The Gorogoro series with lots of fruits are also popular. The cups are filled with colorful seasonal fruits and it not only looks cute, but it’s also delicious.
- Address Kita 3 Jo-higashi, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 060-0033, Japan
- Phone Number 011-211-4738
Hours: 11:00 a.m - 7:00 p.m.
4. MISSU HOUSE: Handmade Ice Cream and Parfait
MISSU HOUSE is a handmade ice cream shop that opened in 1985. They have a strong preference for their ingredients and use milk and other materials from Hokkaido. They try to avoid additives as much as possible to create ice cream with natural flavors. They focus on the handmade process when making their select Sapporo ice cream.
The store in Sapporo Chuo-ku Fushimi is two stories, and the 2nd floor is the parfait specialty shop, Parfaiteria. Here you can enjoy handmade soft-serve ice cream as a parfait.
The parfait always has handmade ice cream made for the main ingredient. Also, the toppings to enhance the parfait, such as shiratama (rice-flour dumpling), jelly, and mousse, are made by hand in such a way so you can enjoy various textures in one parfait. The most popular items are the "Kichigo no Yogurt Parfait" and "Matcha Parfait."
Gelateria, the ice cream specialty shop on the 1st floor, sells soft-serve ice cream and 20 flavors of ice cream on cones. They are closed during the winter period from mid-November to mid-March. However, they still sell takeout ice cream in cups on the 2nd floor Pafraiteria.
Japanese flavors such as matcha and "Sakura" with cherry-blossom leaves are popular with foreign visitors. They also have Hokkaido specialty flavors such as milk, cheese, and corn.
MISSU HOUSEMissu house
- Address 2-20 Fushimi 2- chome, Sapporo Shi Chuo Ku, Hokkaido, 064-0942, Japan
- Phone Number 011-552-5531
Hours : 11:00 a.m - 6:30 p.m.
Winter Hours: 11:00 a.m - 6:00 p.m. (L.O. 5:30 p.m.)
Closed: Monday, (if its a holiday the following day will be closed)
Buying Local Specialty Sapporo Ice Cream at Hokkaido Convenience Stores
There is a limited Hokkaido ice cream only sold in convenience stores and supermarkets in Hokkaido. It is called “Hokkaido Toukibi Monaka" (tax included 140 yen). Toukibi means corn in the Hokkaido dialect. The monaka wafers look like corn on the cob and made with corn powder, so it has a nice aroma of corn.
Other than specialty shops, you can find local specialty ice creams at large supermarkets and roadside stations.
We recommend trying various local ice creams during your travels.
Text by: Minna no Kotoba Sha
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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