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Confections of a Cake-holic: Dessert cafe hopping around Hokkaido’s “Sweets Kingdom” Obihiro

Confections of a Cake-holic: Dessert cafe hopping around Hokkaido’s “Sweets Kingdom” Obihiro

Hokkaido (北海道), Japan’s northernmost prefecture, is not only celebrated for its stunning landscapes, but also for its delightfully fresh and delicious crops and produce, as well as its rich variety of sweets and confections. Obihiro (帯広) in particular stands out as a veritable haven for pastry enthusiasts, offering an array of delectable treats waiting to be discovered. 

 

As someone with a sweet tooth and a weakness for cake, going on a dessert hopping adventure in Hokkaido was something I knew I had to do on my recent visit, so in this article, we embark on a journey through Obihiro, and explore three must-visit confectionery shops and cafés that epitomise the taste and quality of Hokkaido.

 

Obihiro: The kingdom of sweets

Obihiro is a convenient day-trip from Sapporo. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Located in Hokkaido’s Tokachi (十勝) Region lies Obihiro, a city that has earned the moniker "Sweets Kingdom" (スイーツ王国 suītsu ōkoku) for its delectable confections and dairy-based treats. Just a 2-hour-45-minute limited express train ride from Sapporo, Obihiro makes for a great day-trip or an overnight stay, with many cafés being within walking distance from the station. Here are the three that I visited during my day-trip to Obihiro:

 

① Rokkatei (六花亭)

Walking into Rokkatei’s main store in Obihiro. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Stepping into Rokkatei is like entering a confectionery wonderland where tradition harmonizes with innovation. Established in 1933, Rokkatei has been a pioneer in crafting premium sweets using locally sourced ingredients from around Hokkaido, particularly the Tokachi region’s famed dairy products. Their main factory and flagship stores are located in Obihiro, with stores operating only in Hokkaido and no other parts of Japan. 

 

Rokkatai’s must-try and most popular item is the iconic Marusei Butter Sandwich (マルセイバターサンド). Encased between two delicate layers of buttery shortbread lies a rich and creamy filling made from Hokkaido's finest butter and delicious raisins. The juxtaposition of textures and flavours creates a symphony for the palate that will leave visitors craving for more. These have a short shelf life of just two weeks, so buy them only when you’re about to leave Japan!

 

Huge varieties of confections that you can pick and mix to create your own hamper. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The Rokkatei flagship store in Obihiro had a café, so I queued to try it out. You leave your name and number of people by the entrance, and the staff will call your name when a table is ready. While you wait, you can explore the retail section, which has a huge assortment of both Japanese-style and Western-style confections. The best thing is that many items are also sold in single individual pieces, and you can even make your own gift sets by picking and combining the items you want.

 

Delightfully delicious desserts. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The café menu was filled with so many delicious options and it was hard to decide, but I eventually ordered the earl grey tea cheesecake and a matcha latte, as well as the ice cream version of the Marusei Butter Sandwich―the Marusei Ice Cream Sandwich. It goes without saying that everything was fantastic, and I left with a fuller belly but emptier wallet. Rokkatei is one of my favourite confectionery stores from Hokkaido, so I had to get some confections to share with family and friends, including a few boxes of the Marusei Butter Sandwich!

 

Rokkatei Obihiro Main Store (六花亭 帯広本店)
Address: Nishi 2 Minami 9-6, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-0012 
Access: 6-minute walk from JR Obihiro Station (帯広駅)

 

② Romantei (ろまん亭)

Obihiro Romantei’s quaint café. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

The next stop on my dessert adventure was Romantei (ろまん亭). Originally a brand from Sapporo known for their Western-style cakes, they opened two stores in Obihiro, with one being a sit-down café with a cosy interior.

 

So good! (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Romantei’s most popular cake is their chocolate mont blanc (チョコモンブラン), which is comprised of three layers: a dense chocolate cake layer at the bottom, a layer of chocolate whipped cream in the middle, and a layer of thick piped chocolate ganache, made with their original secret blend. The chocolate flavour is decadent and unbeatable, and I loved it so much I ate two in two days in a row!

 

Obihiro Romantei (帯広ろまん亭)
Address: 5-5-5 Higashi 10 Jominami, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-0810
Access: 30-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from JR Obihiro Station (帯広駅)

 

③ Tokachi Toteppo Factory (十勝トテッポ工房)

Confections_Toteppo1.jpg (345 KB)

Tokachi Toteppo Factory’s scenic location. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

My final café for the day was the Tokachi Toteppo Factory. The Tokachi region where Obihiro is located in is famed for its dairy products, such as milk, butter, and cheese. 

 

Fancy some train-shaped cookies and cheeses? (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Tokachi Toteppo Factory is famous for its confections made with local milk and cheese, as well as sable cookies in the shape of steam-locomotive trains. “Toteppo” was the nickname for the former local railway that used to run in the area, where the shop is located.

 

The cutest little cake. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

While I arrived too late to dine in the café, luckily for me, some items were available for take away, and I got the adorable cake shaped like the shimaenaga (シマエナガ), a local bird native to Hokkaido, as well as a coffee with their delicious milky ice cream. Although the café was closed, the exterior of the shop is a beautiful garden esplanade, where there are benches for visitors to take a rest and enjoy the scenery.

 

Tokachi Toteppo Factory (十勝トテッポ工房)
Address: 17-3-1, Nishi 6-jominami, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido, 080-0016
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Obihiro Station (帯広駅)

 

Bonus: Ryugetsu (柳月)

Ryugetsu, Tokachi’s beloved confectionery chain. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Founded in 1947, Ryugetsu is a well-known confectionery chain hailing from Tokachi, and makes sweets with local Hokkaido ingredients. Its main factory at Ryugetsu Sweetpia Garden has a café, but is a 40-minute bus ride from JR Obihiro Station, which I did not have time for. Instead, I stopped by their main retail store near Obihiro Station to grab some confectionery as souvenirs.

 

Sanporoku, Ryugetu’s famous confectionery. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Ryugetsu’s most popular confectionery is "Sanporoku" (三方六), a log-shaped baumkuchen with drizzled white and milk chocolate that depict the bark of a birch tree. Launched in 1965, Sanporoku is moist and sweet, made with flour from Tokachi, as well as butter, sugar, and eggs from Hokkaido. Aside from the standard plain flavour, there are also other flavours like maple and chocolate, as well as seasonal flavours like strawberry and matcha.

 

It’s a good day for some Anbatasan. (Image credit: Carissa Loh)

 

Another one of Ryugetsu’s iconic confections is Anbatasan (あんバタサン), mixture of sweet red bean paste (あんこ anko) and creamy butter (バター)―two ingredients representative of the Tokachi region―sandwiched between two buttery sable cookies. The butter used is fermented butter, which adds a rich flavour to the cookie sandwich. Compared to Ryugetsu’s other offerings, Anbatasan was more recently launched in 2018, and has enjoyed immense popularity.

 

Ryugetsu Odori Main Store (柳月大通り本店)
Address: 8-15, Odori Minami, Obihiro, Hokkaido 080-0010
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Obihiro Station (帯広駅)

 

Head on over to Hokkaido, home of heavenly desserts

Dessert-hopping in Obihiro was an appetising adventure—a celebration of Hokkaido's rich dairy heritage and vibrant confectionery culture. From the time-honoured favourites to modern twists to traditional flavours, Hokkaido beckons with exquisite confectionery creations, so I’m sure this won’t be the last of my dessert destinations!

 

Header image credit: Carissa Loh

 

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