Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and the second largest of the Japanese archipelago. Hokkaido (北海道) means Northern Sea Province in Japanese. Indigenous Ainu people were the original inhabitants of Hokkaido, which was previously called Ezo or Ainu Moshiri (Land of the Ainu).
What comes to mind when we think of Hokkaido today? It is famous for being the location of the annual Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri), where ornate ice carvings are on display. It is also the habitat of Japanese macaques—you know, the monkeys that like to soak in natural onsen hot springs. What is less known is all the delicious dishes and specialties that come from Hokkaido.
One cuisine that Hokkaido is well known for is seafood. The cold and nutrient-dense waters around the island are a perfect habitat for fish and seafood such as crab, squid, sea urchin, salmon roe, and scallops. The Tinned Crab Miso Bagna Cauda is one way to eat famous Hokkaido crab without spending too much money for this delicacy. This crab miso has a texture somewhere between canned crab and melted fondue. It is a salty, creamy, umami accompaniment to crackers and a perfect dipping sauce for vegetables.
Hokkaido has lots of open land compared to other islands, so dairy and meat products feature heavily in Japanese candy and Japanese snacks from the region. Examples are beef, butter, milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Natural Yeast Bread: Hokkaido Cream is an irresistably fluffy bun that can only be described as decadent. The bread is infused with the high-quality cream that Hokkaido is known for.
Another item featuring Hokkaido dairy is Milk Jam Set: Matcha & Hojicha. This two-jar set of sophisticated jams turns green tea flavors into a creamy spreadable form and adds a subtly sweet addition to rolls, crackers, or crepes.
The expanse of countryside in Hokkaido also translates to lots of fresh produce in the area. Potatoes love the volcano rich soil and cooler climate of Hokkaido. One Hokkaido potato-based snack is Jaga Pokkuru, which are crispy and salty little potato snacks in the shape of French fries. Just a warning that you will most definitely eat the whole bag once they’re opened.
Soybeans grown in Hokkaido are used in Funwari Meiji Mochi Puffs: Kinako. These light delicious Japanese sweets are made from mochi rice and coated in a layer of kinako, which is roasted soybean flour. You will also most definitely eat the whole bag of mochi puffs, but hopefully you saved them for dessert after you polished off the potato snack.
Another produce grown in Hokkaido is the melon. The Yubari King Melon is a gold ribbon cantaloupe that costs a fortune. Fortunately, you can enjoy the taste of this signature melon without breaking the bank in Yubari Melon Chocolate Langue de Chat cookies. They are a crispy chocolate biscuit in the shape of a cat’s tongue filled with fragrant melon cream.
Because Hokkaido is a top tourist destination, especially for domestic travel, there are lots of edible gifts to buy while on holiday there. You can also skip the plane ticket and experience these authentic miyage-gashi, or souvenir treats, just by traveling to your electronic device and looking through what Bokksu has to offer.
Bokksu Market lets you select a Japanese snack box that grabs your fancy. Or perhaps you prefer a Japanese candy box with your favorite sweets and treats. At Bokksu.com you can also sign up for a Japanese snack subscription box and receive a monthly delivery of premium Japanese snacks, sweets, and teas made from artisanal boutique shops.
What are you waiting for? Vicarious travel is only a click away.
By Megan Taylor Stephens