20 September 2013

Sapporo Sweeties ~ Hokkaido, Japan

We only had a few days in Sapporo so we concentrated our dessert action on the famous Hokkaido cheesecake, but we took a bunch of photos of the cakes that got away.

Sapporo is in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island and prefecture of Japan. Hokkaido is famous for it's fresh produce, it's like the Tasmania of Japan. Unlike much of Japan there's plenty of room for cows which means lots of dairy, which means lots of desserts.

The cheesecake (or 'cheesecakey' in Japanese) certainly lived up to expectations. It turned out there were a few varieties of it. Our favourite cheesecake by far was like a cheesecakey souffle, it was so light yet so rich and cheesy.

The easiest places to find great desserts are in the department store food halls (called depachika), which are kind of like Australia's David Jones Food Halls, only a million times better. These are a cinch to find in the basement of the main train station. We got loads of free samples at the depachikas in Sapporo, way more than we got in Tokyo.

Lowly convenience stores also stocked some mean desserts, there seemed to smaller specialty suppliers catering to 7 Elevens and the like. A simple banana'n'creme crepe from the 7 Eleven shouldn't taste this good, it was amazing.

Melon bun and puddings from a local specialty shop. The puddings came in glass jars that were too good to throw away, they were cleaned and came home with us. The puddings were a burnt sesame flavour and a chocolate, creamy and smooth.

Japanese soft serve icecream is pretty good and was available in many places, like next to a soup curry restaurant. The best stuff tastes like cream, really pure cream.

We thought this convenience store cheesecake was amazing, until we tried real serious cheesecake from the department store food halls.

Another 7 Eleven cheesecake sweetie.

Custard ice cream with a dollop of red bean jam from a store in Susukino.

The cakes are perfectly presented in the depachika and often sold by the slice as well as whole. A really, really, really seriously good piece of cake can be had for $5-7 bucks. At home in Sydney we like a piece of cake on a Saturday afternoon and it's a struggle to find anything good.

More cake.

Boutique condensed milk, would have love to have tried that.

Lots of fresh fruit and cream.

Sweetie making machine. We stood for ages watching this contraption pump out small waffles, it was an engineering marvel.

Dessert buffet...

This was Alison's most favourite cake of all, just so unbelievably pretty.

Shawn loved Fruitscake Factory. There's a number of them around Sapporo.

Cake from Daimaru food hall presented in a lovely bag, the lady come out from behind the counter and bowed as she gave it to us. And it was a four dollar piece of cheesecake.

It was served in a box with a collar to ensure it wasn't squashed in transit, with two little icepacks to keep it cool. Again, this is for a $4 piece of cake!

Seriously good cheesecake.

Chiffon cakes were everywhere.

Gooey rice balls covered in a sweet sesame paste from the convenince store.

More cheesecake.

The lady told us this was souffle - it's actually like cheesecake souffle, the lightest cheesecake we've ever had. Incredible.

Chocolate flavoured chips. "That's a bit over the top" we thought...

Rare cheese cake. Gimme.

We bought a whole (small) cheesecake and hooked straight in, while standing in an upmarket busy underground pedestrian mall. Who cares? Bringing your own spoon on holidays sometimes pays off bigtime (well, it's a spoon and a fork in one actually, extremely handy!)

We weren't total pigs, we didn't eat it all...

More rustic style sweeties in a bakery out in the burbs.

Rilakkuma and Doraemon sweet buns.

Sapporo Airport is a sweetie fest as well. There's working bakery making these huge sponge cakes.

Sapporo Airport even has a chocolate factory (Royce Chocolate), it's a buzz to watch.

These beauties were made mostly be machine then hand-finished by staff.

Packaged chockies.

So cute!

Royce chocolate covered popcorn...

There were lots of free food samples at the airport, there's basically a food hall there. This frozen fruity cheesecakey thing was amazing.

We relented, how could we not try chocolate covered chips? They were like chock bickkies but slightly salty, we were surprised at how well it worked.

We were overwhelmed by the quality and richness of the desserts, cakes and sweets in Sapporo. All that local milk, butter and cream is certainly used to create sweet creations unlike anywhere else in Japan. We ate cheesecake every day for six days and still craved it when we left.

We love Japan.


  1. Omg all those desserts! You guys seriously have me wanting to go there to eat ALL the desserts and cakes!

  2. Looks amazing!
    I just had to smile when reading:

    "hooked straight in, while standing in an upmarket busy underground pedestrian mall. Who cares?"

    Because actually the Japanse DO care - for a native it would be an absolute tabu to do so. But well, the Gaijin bonus - that's why such a harsh country like Japan can also be great (namely, when coming as a foreign traveller).

    Thanks for the entertaining post. Looking forward to the next one!

    1. It gets worse - we took advantage of the Gaijin Pass to have a little picnic on the floor in the underground mall outside Daimaru food hall.

  3. Wow, I really want to visit Japan for their cakes and desserts (and junk food...)! I love cheesecake souffle!

  4. One thing that is missing: did you drink any hokkaido milk!?!?!?

    1. I'm sure there was some milk drinking in there somewhere, mostly in coffee.

    2. We bought a carton of local milk from the combini - does that count?

  5. This is such an unbelievably beautiful post on Japan - great job guys!

    I am overwhelmed by how pretty all those cake are..Japan is calling out to me!

  6. Those photos are amazing. I dont really like cheesecake but looking at those photos well maybe I would.

  7. I am almost frothing at the mouth with jealousy. How did you not die from sensory overload from all this perfection?! Everything looks so delicious and perfectly triangular, there's SO much attention to detail! Thanks for sharing, I love your travel posts.

    1. We were lucky a lot of the time we were so full from constantly eating the powers of cake resistance were with us.

  8. I would probably cry looking at those beautiful cakes on display. and LOL on your finishing the whole cheesecake there! :)

  9. Oh, I could really have some sweets after looking at these photos.
    btw, the sweet bun next to Rilakkuma is actually Anpanman. :)

  10. I think the cheesecake souffle is what they call Japanese Cheesecake in HK and blogsphere? Did it have a cloud like moist cake texture that tasted of intense western cheesecake??

    If so, the good news is making it home yourself is even better! I follow the recipe from thelittleteochew.com and it comes out wonderful every time.

    1. Ah yes the cheesecakey souffle is generally what I thought Japanese cheesecake would be too. Oh no I can't make it at home, I have no cake self control...

    2. But the homemade version is sooooo good... maybe at christmas then or your birthday =)


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