Hokkaido: Gentei

I am walking out of Sapporo Station and passed right by the Seven Eleven convenience store when my eye is caught by two words: Hokkaido Gentei. Shoot, now I have to stop and actually check it out.

It’s corn tea and limited only to Hokkaido. Dang it. I have to buy it now.

I buy it, bring it home and drink it.

It’s pretty good! Definitely tastes like corn. I wouldn’t normally buy things like these because I’m just not interested in new drinks. I like my standard drinks just fine. However, because it was labeled as gentei, I actually caved in and bought one of these things.

But I’m always a sucker for these Hokkaido Limited editions. I am also quite easily persuaded by marketing campaigns when it comes to the limited time only editions of products.

I fully admit it, I am weak.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of products that you can only get in Hokkaido. Fifteen years ago, when I first came to japan, Royce Chocolate was only sold in Hokkaido. The last few years, though, they’re everywhere. I’m glad to see that. You can finally get them in most airports all over Japan. I also know that in New York, you can actually buy them at one of the stores that opened up in the city. Because these chocolates are so yummy, I’m so glad that they’re popular enough to warrant being sold at major cities all over Japan and all over the world. It’s not just a Hokkaido thing only.

But there are still a lot of goods that you can only get in Hokkaido, though.

As in all parts of Japan, though, many of the products are locally made, so you literally cannot buy them anywhere but in the towns that they are being made. But I’m glad to see some of them in grocery stores, like that corn tea, or the Black Label Sapporo beer. For beer though, one of the things that are only sold in Hokkaido is the Classic, as in the above photo.

Others are chocolates, or uniquely Hokkaido items: katsugen. It’s hard to describe drink, but it taste kind of like Yakult, which is a sour, yogurt-y drink that is made with bacteria that promotes gut health.

Other times, too, it’s products that come from specific Hokkaido-only institutions. I mentioned previously the cookies made by the Hokkaido Agricultural Cookies that are really yummy. There are lots more. One of the most famous establishments in Hokkaido, or mainly Sapporo, is Morihico Coffee, which has a very famous coffee shop in the Maruyama Area. Their cafes are very famous and there are some really nice ones all over the city.

Below, they’ve also ventured into producing portable drinks to fit their brand.

Canned coffee so good.

The above is the ubiquitous cans of coffee sold everywhere, especially in convenience stores and vending machines. I picked this one up from a kiosk at the train station. You can see that on the actual can itself, the words Hokkaido Limited is proudly and boldly printed. Incidentally, the water used to make the coffee comes from the natural spring waters of the Niseko area. So again, proudly Hokkaido-made.

I also bought one of these bags of potato chips made by national brand Calbee. This was part of their series on promoting local tastes from the 47 prefectures. The one picture below was the “Hokkaido taste” of age-imo, which literally means fried potato. But they’re referring to the picture on the bag. This is age-imo which is sold only at the Togeyama Pass when you’re heading up to Rusutsu or Jozankei. It’s a famous local food sold at the rest stop. Tiny potatoes are dipped in a sweet-pancake like batter and deep fried. It’s a sweet snack more than anything. If you can imagine a sweet version of the American corn dog but without the hotdog in the middle. Instead, the inside is made of potatoes. It’s kind of like that 🙂

I really do like the idea of having these Hokkaido products. It’s an awesome feeling and makes me feel so happy to be living here.

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