Where & What To Eat in Hokkaido: 7 Must-Try Local Foods

Where & What To Eat in Hokkaido: 7 Must-Try Local Foods

Here's the ultimate guide on where you should feast at in Hokkaido!

Whether it’s your first visit to Hokkaido, or your nth time there, Hokkaido never fails to satisfy your hearts and bellies to the fullest. Touted as the food capital of Japan, Hokkaido is renowned for its fresh, delicious and premium produce, from seafood to cream puffs and yakitori. With a smorgasbord of delightful foods, you might be tempted to try and eat everything in sight!

But what are some of the foods that you simply cannot leave Hokkaido without feasting on? Read on to find out!

1. Locally grown Hokkaido produce

Hokkaido boasts acres of expansive fertile farmland, and it is used to support their booming produce industry. From dairy products to vegetables, Hokkaido’s local produce is fresh yet delicious. Chefs who use the local produce grown by Hokkaido farmers, cook amazing dishes for visitors to get a taste of Hokkaido’s authentic flavours, so be prepared to leave with your stomachs full and hearts warm after your meal.

Image credit: Brasserie coron

Starting out as a humble bakery in 2012, Brasserie coron  is the latest venture of the coron boulangerie chain, and their first restaurant after opening a string of bakeries. It was borne out of the owner’s intention to make delectable food using only Hokkaido produce. Hence, what sets the coron brand apart is that their dedication to using ingredients sourced locally, right down to the wheat in their flour.

Image credit: Brasserie coron

Did you know that Hokkaido was one of the first places in Japan to start making wine, after Japanese settlers in the Meiji period built a winery? Brasserie coron doesn’t just stop at their delicious nosh – they pair ingredients made in Hokkaido with Hokkaido wines to provide you with the best dining experience! Plus, they work closely with local farms so you know that you’re getting quality produce while supporting the local industry.

Image credit: Hokuren Kururu

For a more hands-on experience, try Kururu no Mori, a farm which offers you the opportunity to try your hand at harvesting some crops and cooking your harvest. It’s a fun way of getting acquainted with the local produce, and you can even buy some fresh produce for yourself at the farmers market!

Image credit: Hokuren Kururu

Or… you can skip all of that and head straight for the buffet at their famous farmer’s restaurant! You’ll be spoilt for choice with a variety of dishes made with local ingredients from Hokkaido, some sourced directly from their own farm! Affordable and delicious, get your stomachs ready for an absolute feast. Do take note though, that Kururu no Mori does not serve dinner.

Brasserie coron
060-0061 Marui Imai Sapporo Main Store 3F, west2 south1 chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
10:30 – 19:30 daily (unless the department store is closed

Kururu no Mori – くるるの杜
377-1 Ōmagari, Kitahiroshima-shi, Hokkaidō
Farmer’s Restaurant 11:30 – 15:00

2. Hokkaido quality conveyor belt sushi

Many people visit Hokkaido for its fresh seafood and sushi, but you don’t necessarily have to visit an extravagant restaurant for top quality sushi! Conveyor belt sushi restaurants offer superb sushi as well, and many locals frequent them too. Here are some of the conveyor belt sushi shops highly recommended by locals!

Image credit: Kitaichi Shokuhin

The sushi served in Hokkaido’s conveyor belt sushi shops are unlike any other, due to the variety and freshness of the seafood. Shops like TORITON, which can be found in various locations around Hokkaido, boast unique sushi such as zuke or aburi prepared by their own masterchefs. These chefs carefully cultivate flavours to complement the catch of the day, tweaking their sushi recipes to present customers with plates of perfection. Many locals choose TORITON as their go-to sushi place, so you know you’re definitely in for a treat!

Image credit: Hanamaru

Another well-loved sushi chain is Hanamaru, which originated in the port town of Nemuro. With access to the freshest of harvests from Japan’s bountiful seas, Hanamaru consistently serves extraordinarily fresh fish. What’s more, it is directly connected to Sapporo station and hence extremely convenient for all travellers to visit. If there’s a waiting list for a table, you can spend your time shopping for souvenirs at the station first!

Image credit: Kantaro

Don’t miss the sushi chain Kantaro as well, which traces its beginnings back to 1982 in the fishing port of Hakodate. You’ll find that fresh fish is one of the winning points of Hokkaido’s sushi shops; Nagoyaka Tei even delivers fresh gourmet sushi to their customers!

Kaiten Sushi TORITON – トリトン
Outlets available at Sapporo, Asahikawa, Kitami and Engaru (refer to website for more details)
11:00 – 22:00 daily (For Sapporo outlet; check timings for other shops at the website)

Kaiten Sushi Hanamaru – 花まる
Conveyor belt outlets (Kaiten-sushi Nemuro Hanamaru) can be found in Nemuro and Sapporo while sushi bar outlets (Sushi Bar Siki Hanamaru) can be found in Sapporo (refer to website for more details)
11:00 – 22:00 (depending on the outlet, check timings on website)

Kantaro – 函太郎
Outlets available at Hakodate, Hokuto, Otaru and Chitose (refer to website for more details)
11:00 – 22:00 (depending on the outlet, check timings on website)

Nagoyakatei – なごやか亭
Outlets available at Sapporo, Kushiro and Obihiro (refer to website for more details)
11:00 – 22:00 (depending on the outlet, check timings on website)

3. Hokkaido dairy products

Image credit: Niseko Takahashi

In Japan and all around the globe, Hokkaido milk is renowned for its quality. Did you know that Hokkaido produces more than 50% of the milk in Japan? Everything in Hokkaido, from the cool climate to careful treatment of cows, convene to produce milk of the highest quality and distinct flavour.

Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm Kobo carries a wide range of milk products from bottles of milk to soft serve, cakes, puffs and more. If you’re a dairy lover, try their ice-cream making workshop or have a sumptuous meal at one of their eateries which feature dairy products like cheese, cream and butter in their dishes. Enjoy your ice cream made from farm-to-table fresh milk, with a resplendent view of Mount Yotei to boot!

Hakko-Gakuen Nousanbutsu Chokubaijo is both a farmers market and an agricultural school. Recognised by locals as having one of the best soft serves in Sapporo, you definitely need to have a taste of their richly flavoured milk ice cream when you visit! The availability of soft serve is dependent on the season, so do check before making a trip down.

Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm Kobo – ニセコ高橋牧場
888-1, Soga, Niseko-cho Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 048-1522
09:30-18:00 daily (depending on the season)

Hakko-Gakuen Nousanbutsu Chokubaijo – 八紘学園農産物直売所
13-1-12, Tsukisamu Higashi 2-jo, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 062-0052
10:00 – 17:00 Fri-Wed (May – Oct), 10:00 – 16:00 Sat-Mon (Nov – Apr)
*Ice cream is not served during winter

4. Unique foods in Instagram-worthy cafes

Image credit: Wednesday cafe&bake

The cafés in Hokkaido aren’t just hipster and Instagrammable, they serve incredible food and drinks made from quality ingredients as well. Tucked in a little wooden shed is Wednesday Cafe&Bake which offers a cosy ambience and good coffee. Opened in August 2017, head over for some good food and take your favourite coffee blends back with you as a souvenir.

Higashikawacho, where Wednesday Cafe&Bake is located, is a burgeoning trendy area where more and more fancy cafes are starting to emerge! So head on down and you’ll never know what other quaint cafes you might discover.

Image credit: mora_the_explora

Ice Cream Bar HOKKAIDO Milk Mura is one of the quirkier bars you’ll find in Hokkaido. The owner, who was trained in France, concocts his own Hokkaido milk ice cream and desserts and pairs them with various spirits. It boasts an impressive collection of more than 100 different liquors! Be blown away by the delightful drink and dessert pairings available, arranged to give you optimum tasting pleasure!

Image credit: baristartcoffee

Cafés like Baristart Coffee are all about pale wood furnishings and minimalist designs but their ‘choose your own milk’ mantra is a testament to their stand on the role of Hokkaido milk in the local coffee scene. They even make regular tours to milk farms around Hokkaido, to gain a deeper understanding of the milk that they use in their coffee and maintain a close relationship with local producers!

Image credit: (left) Kitaichi Glass (right) Gemini Street

It is unlikely that you will find a café as gorgeous as Kitaichi Hall, an extension of Kitaichi Glass Otaru glassware company. The dark wood in this hall is illuminated by the light of 167 flames, painstakingly lit by the staff every morning. Have a meal surrounded by chandeliers and oil lamps, along with the live piano performances every weekday afternoon; you’ll get a nostalgic yet romantic café experience unlike any other.

Wednesday Cafe&Bake
Kita 1, Higashi 8-go Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido, Japan 071-1438
11:00 – 18:00 (closed on Thu)

Ice cream Bar HOKKAIDO Milk Mura
New Hokusei Building 6F, 3 Chome 7-1, Minami 4 Jonishi, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Hokkaido
13:00 – 23:00, 17:00 – 23:00 Wed (closed on Mon)

Baristart Coffee
‘Choose your own milk’ stand: 4-8furi-den Bld.1F, Minami1-jonishi, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0061
09:00 – 19:00 daily
Coffee cafe: Sanzyouutsukusimatsu Bld.2F, 14-5tyoume, Minami3-jonishi, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0063
11:00 – 16:00 (closed on Tue)
Coffee stand: 22-118-12, 4-jodori, Asahikawa-shi, Hokkaido, 078-8214
08:00 – 20:00 (closed on Thu)

Kitaichi Hall – 北一ホール
7-26 SakaiMachi Otaru, Hokkaido, 047-0027
08:45 – 18:00 daily

5. Skewers, beer and more at izakayas

Image credit: 串鳥

When in Japan, a round of drinks at an izakaya is not to be missed! Popular izakayas like Kushidori and Kon serve tasty and light skewers to go with your pint of beer. You can also find oden, a mix of various ingredients in hot broth, rice bowls and other slightly heavier dishes if you want to add on to the assortment of skewers. Almost any kind of Japanese food is available at izakayas, plus you get to drink and eat in the same space as local Japanese – the perfect opportunity to make new friends and immerse yourselves in the local culture!

Image credit: Sumibi Izakaya En

At Sumibi Izakaya En, the skewers are charcoal-grilled to bring out the best flavours – you won’t be able to stop at just one! They also offer sets with hotpots and other dishes that are perfect for sharing amongst big groups.

Image credit: Hiragishi Golden

Not entirely sure what you’re looking for? Go to Hiragishi Golden, a street full of izakayas and eateries, to find something or somewhere that catches your eye! Expect a small cluster of bars often frequented by locals and a warm ambience.

Kushidori – 串鳥
Outlets available in Sapporo, Iwamizawa and Asahikawa (refer to website for details)
Ranges between 15:30 – 00:30 depending on the outlet

Kon – 根
Minami 5 Jonishi 2 Chome, Shakokaikan Bd. B1 Sapporo-Shi
17:00 – 02:00 (closed on Sundays and Holidays)

Sumibi Izakaya En – 炭火居酒屋 炎
Outlets available at Sapporo (refer to website for details)
16:00 – 01:00 (depending on the outlet)

Hiragishi Golden – 平岸ゴールデン街
8 Chome-2 Hiragishi 2 Jo, Toyohira Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 062-0932, Japan
Hours depend on individual shops

6. Hokkaido-style ‘Shime’ Parfait

A typical Japanese person wraps up a night on the town with something they call a ‘shime’ ramen. In Sapporo, however, getting a ‘shime’ parfait is all the rage – meaning that you end off your night (of drinking, usually) with a pretty parfait. Parfait shops like Parfait, Coffee, Sake and Sato open late into the night, offering seasonal as well as regular parfaits that complement their range of beverages, including alcoholic beverages like sake.

Image credit: risotteria

Using seasonal ingredients, Gaku Inc. serves elaborately constructed and artisanal desserts to end off your night. Each of their outlets offers you a unique dining experience; their Parfaiteria PaL branch combines both liquor and parfait in a delicate balance of flavours, while their Nanakamado store exudes chill café vibes.

If you’re looking for a wider range of desserts to bring your night to a close, try Initial, which serves a colourful array of sweet desserts not limited to just parfaits. Take your pick from shaved ice desserts, sundaes and so on.

So remember, after your drinking session at an izakaya, head over to any of these places for a ‘shime’ parfait to end the night on a sweet note!

Parfait, Coffee, Sake, Sato
Minami 2 Nishi 1-6-1, Dai 3 Hirona Bd. B1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
18:00 – 00:00 (Mon-Thu), 18:00 – 02:00 (Fri),  13:00 – 00:00 (Sun)

Gaku Inc.
Parfait PaL: Minami 4 Nishi 2-10-1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
18:00 – 02:00 daily
Nanakamado: Minami 4 Nishi 5-10, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
18:00 – 00:00 (Mon – Thu, Sun) 18:00 – 02:00 (Fri – Sat)

Minami 3 Nishi 5-36-1, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
17:00 – 00:00 (Sun-Thu), 14:00 – 00:00 (Fri-Sat)

7. Genghis Khan

This puzzling name is bound to confuse you, as the dish itself doesn’t in fact, have any obvious relations to the Mongolian figure. A popular dish involving grilled lamb and vegetables, and often served with beer, the name supposedly originates from the shape of the griddle (resembling a Mongolian soldier’s helmet).

Image credit: Hirotomo

Nevertheless, it’s a delicious and unique meal that you should definitely try! If you’re apprehensive due to the possible gamey smell of the meat, put your worries to rest at
Daruma Honten. They are popular amongst locals, and established since 1954. Known for their unique flavours of Genghis Khan, you have to try out their secret sauce which adds depth to the taste of grilled lamb meat!

Image credit: chako56lovekeichan

Alternatively, head to one of Hokkaido’s more established brands – Matsuo Genghis Khan – which marinates the meat prior to grilling, providing you with an even more aromatic and savoury taste of lamb meat. Eat the meat and vegetables with their special dipping sauces provided for an authentic and gastronomically amazing experience!

Daruma Honten
4 Chome-5 Minami 5 Jōnishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-Shi
17:00 – 3:00 daily

Matsuo Genghis Khan – 松尾ジンギスカン
Outlets available at Sapporo and Chitose airport (refer to website for details)
Hours depend on individual shops

Hokkaido is irresistible in terms of food and we’ve just shown you why. So follow this guide and prepare your stomach for sumptuous meals, exquisite desserts, fresh premium ingredients and more! A truly phenomenal gastronomic adventure awaits you in Hokkaido.

To find out more about the best food spots in Hokkaido, visit the Hokkaido Tourism Organization’s website or Facebook page! And if you are going to embark on your foodie adventure in and around Sapporo but have no idea where to stay, browse a catalogue of potential accommodation at Agoda.com!

Brought to you by Hokkaido Tourism Organization.

About Author

Chloe Ang
Chloe Ang

Chloe spends her life trying to find the divine balance between eating, reading and travelling. When she’s not bounding off to explore new places, she’s likely slothing it out and stuffing her face. Her dream is to eat and read her way around the world, but her ultimate dream though is to be a cat.