Let’s get local specialties in Tokyo! Popular antenna shop tour Vol.1 ~ Hokkaido ~
What comes to your mind when you think of a comfort food of Hokkaido? Genghis Khan, Zangi, crabs, salmon, or Shiroi Koibito? Oh, oh, that’s not all. In Hokkaido, a treasury of foodstuffs, there are lot of excellent foods that have not made a debut yet. Seeking unknow gourmet foods of the north region, let’s scope out the antenna shop “Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza Yuraku-cho Branch.”
Reasons why Hokkaido is popular among foreign travelers
According to the report of survey compiled by Hokkaido Economy and Tourism Bureau, the estimated number of foreign visitors to Hokkaido in 2017 was 2,790,000, accounting for 9.4% of all inbound foreign tourists in Japan. By country, the number of visitors to Hokkaido from China is the largest, followed by Korea and Taiwan.
The reasons are because of the easing of requirements for issuing visa and the inauguration of regular direct flight, etc. As tourists can enjoy hot springs and snowy landscape, Hokkaido seems to have become a popular travel destination.
Popular travel destination, Hokkaido If you can easily buy souvenirs of Hokkaido in Tokyo, it is convenient, isn’t it.
Let’s get delicacies from Hokkaido in Yuraku-cho, Tokyo!
Mr. Yohei Kawai, a shop manager, told about an operation policy of Dosanko Plaza, an antenna shop for Hokkaido.
“We wish to make customers’ dining tables enjoyable with delicious foods from Hokkaido in areas around Tokyo.”
Therefore, with a relatively low hurdle to participation, the shop is widely open to local business operators in Hokkaido who don’t have sales channels in big cities. Thanks to such operation policy, we can have a chance in Tokyo to encounter rare products which we could hardly find even if traveling around Hokkaido.
At the Yuraku-cho branch, soft-serve ice cream containing juice of Yubari melon (390 yen) is very famous. It is so popular that people form lines to buy it. You must not miss it. Now, we are introducing unique approaches of this shop which are not known so much.
Points different from other antenna shops! You must check “Rookies Stage”.
The shop is full of confectioneries, dairy, marine/pastoral processed foods. The total number of products is over 1,200. Especially, products of ROYCE' that is famous for chocolate occupies a corner of the shop. The shop has the widest variety of ROYCE' products in Tokyo.
“Rookies Stage”, a special corner set at the center of the shop, attracts attention. New products that were launched outside Hokkaido within the last one year are displayed, divided into the first stage and the second stage.
On the first stage, about 50 ~ 100 kinds of new products are displayed. Meanwhile, products displayed on the second stage were top 50 % of all products sold on the first stage for three month, which achieved good sales.
Furthermore, top 10 items that survive the three-month competition on the second stage will be promoted as winners of the Rookie Grand Prix and moved to shelves for regular products.
Whether products can survive or not depends on their potential. No other antenna shops have adopted such thorough sales strategies. So buyers of major department stores come to the shop in order to check trends.
In other words, the products displayed on the shelves for regular products in this shop are excellent players proved by sales figure. Those who got such products as souvenir must be happy.
At the booth next to Rookies Stage, promotion events for raw delicacies and packed lunches are held on a weekly basis. You should check event information appearing on the website of Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza Yuraku-cho Branch.
The best 3 of foreigner’s favorites at Yuraku-cho Branch
What kind of souvenirs are chosen by foreign travelers? We asked Mr. Kawai again.
The most popular product is “Cheese Bretonne at 1,512 yen (5 pieces) ”. This is French traditional confectionery, Galette Bretonne about 5.5 cm in diameter. As primary ingredients, Nakashibetsu Gouda cheese, representative cheese of Hokkaido, and butter are used. This is an excellent product you can enjoy rich flavor of cheese and crispy texture.
The second place winner is “Scallops at 1,296 yen (40g).” It is made by drying scallops from Okhotsk Sea. Selected scallops boiled with salt are dried in the sun in a traditional way. They are plump and naturally sweet, and suitable for rice with assorted ingredients, soup, and other dishes.
The third place winner is “Hokkaido Pure Horse Oil at 3,240 yen (large size 225 ml)/1,080 yen (small size 70 ml)”. This is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory cream made of horse oil for skin treatment. The oil is so smooth that even rice-grain sized oil can cover all over hands.
Are there any products that are available only here outside Hokkaido?
The Yuraku-cho Branch carries products which are supposed to be available only in Hokkaido. “Sapporo Noh Gakko at 1,080 yen (24 pieces)” is one of such products. This is a cookie made of fresh milk, butter and wheat flour produced in Hokkaido, and popular with gentle milk flavor.
“Nomu Yokan ICHIZU at 3,240 yen (600g)” produced by traditional confectionery shop in Kitami City is also rare. It is made by using twice as many azuki beans produced in Kitami as ordinary yokan. So it tastes very rich. It is good to drink as is, or add it to ice cream and a toast.
Advice on shopping from staff
“We are carrying a lot of rare local products, in addition to standard sweets from Hokkaido. At our shop, foreign customers can be exempt from taxation. Precautions are indicated in Chinese and Korean. As English-speaking staff is always available, please feel free to drop by our shop.”
Ms. Natsuko Suzaki (vice shop manager/Hokkaido food meister)
We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy to everyone who suffered from damages caused by Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake in September 2018. If you are planning to visit Hokkaido, please check the most updated information before your journey.