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Home to a wide range of classic ice creams, from mom-and-pop favorites to premium products

The first ice cream in Japan was made on May 9, 1869. Ice cream was first sold in Yokohama by Fukuzo Machida, who wanted to recreate the ice cream he tasted in the United States as a member of a delegation in 1860 to finalize the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan. Initially ice cream was considered a luxury item, but as time changed ice cream became a trendy dessert because it stood as a symbol of Western civilization. By the middle of the 20th century ice cream had become a staple summer time treat enjoyed by all. Today, there are countless flavors and types of ice cream sold in Japan, from low priced to premium products, which are sold just about everywhere in supermarkets and convenient stores.

Map

Ice cream is made throughout Hokkaido mainly in areas that produce a lot of raw milk, by a variety of companies, from small local store to farms and major milk companies. If you visit a municipality with a lot of dairy farms, often times you will find locally made ice cream for sale at souvenir shops or roadside stations.

 

■Map / Main producing municipalities  Shibecha Town, Hamanaka Town, Betsukai Town, Nakashibetsu Town, Otofuke Town, Naganuma Town, Otaru City, Sapporo City, Nakasatsunai Village, Hakodate City

 

High quality ingredients that live up to the moniker Dairy Kingdom

Many of the ingredients used to make ice cream, such as raw milk, eggs and sugar, are all produced locally in Hokkaido. Major milk companies have factories located throughout the prefecture, while even many small scale dairy farms have their own production spaces where they make their own homemade ice cream.
Many of these small dairy farms that make their own ice cream use locally grown fruits and vegetables, but it is interesting to note that some also use rather unique flavors, such as deep ocean water, konbu kelp and wasabi, among others. Some of the most popular products include those with a Japanese-inspired taste, such as ice cream mixed with azuki sweet beans, and ice cream filled cream puffs.
Many people living in Hokkaido also enjoy eating ice cream in the warm indoors during winter.

Ice Creams Family

  • Betsukai Nyugyo Kousha
    Betsukai Town boasts the largest milk production in all of Japan and many dairy products are made locally with its milk. The brand Betsukai Ice Cream Stand utilizes the taste of raw milk to create rich and creamy ice cream without the aftertaste. It is available in four flavors, including vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and matcha.
  • Naganuma Ice
    Naganuma Ice makes 13 different flavors of ice cream from local Hokkaido ingredients, including haskap and Yubari melon. Of these, five have received certification as heritage foods of Hokkaido Prefecture. The company operates Ice no Ie shops in Naganuma Town, Kuriyama Town and Otaru City.
  • Hokkaido Ice Cream Promotion Cooperative
    This cooperative was established by Naganuma Ice of Naganuma Town, Sakura Foods of Otaru City, Betsukai Nyugyo Kousha of Betsukai Town, and Tokachino Fromages of Nakasatsunai Village. The shared brand called Kita no Love Letter is available in eight unique flavors representative of Hokkaido, including azuki beans, wine, vanilla and cheese.
  • Hakodate Rakuno Kosha
    The company makes the Hakodate Gyunyu brand of milk, which is a very popular product in Southern Hokkaido. Its ice cream is available in six flavors, including vanilla, coffee, chocolate, matcha, blueberry, and melon sherbet. It also sells a herb ice cream made from kurumbasso, a native herb found in Hakodate.
  • Snowbrand Parlor Co., Ltd.
    Founded in 1961, Snowbrand Parlor is one of Hokkaido's oldest makers of ice cream. In 1968, the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited the company during their trip to Hokkaido. The company's best seller Snow Royal Special is a thick and rich ice cream made from milk with a fat content of 15.6%. The company's jumbo parfait served at its flagship store in front of Sapporo Station is a local favorite.
  • Yotsuba Milk Products Co., Ltd.
    The company manufacturers milk and dairy products using high quality milk produced in Hokkaido. These products are favorites among locals. The brand Yotsuba Tokachi Ice Cream is made from 100% Tokachi sourced milk and doesn't use stabilizers of any kind. The company operates Yotsuba White Cosy cafes at Sapporo Station, New Chitose Airport, Tokyo Sky Tree Town and Soramachi.

Seasons

Ice cream is readily sold throughout the year without any seasonal bias. In Hokkaido, where people spend the bitterly cold winter indoors, there is the popular belief that ice cream consumption does not decline during the winter time.

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