There are so many delicious Japanese snacks that are not available anywhere outside of Japan. From the limited edition regional Pocky and KitKat to the traditional senbei, everyone has their favorite. But for me, every time I go to Japan there is one snack, which I will go out of my way to hunt down: Shiroi Koibito.
Shiroi Koibito translates to “White Lover” and it’s a simple yet delicious cookie made by the popular Japanese snack maker, Ishiya, located in Sapporo Hokkaido. Why the name “White Lover”? The story goes that the founder of Ishiya was coming home from a day of skiing, when it started to snow and he casually remarked, “it’s snowing white lovers.” The name has stuck ever since.
Shiroi Koibito was first introduced in 1976, and for a long time was only available in Hokkaido. Its popularity grew as Japanese tourists and businessmen brought back Shiroi Koibito as souvenirs from their trips to Hokkaido. Today it is one of the most popular Japanese cookies, selling over 200 million cookies every year. It even won the 1986 Monde Selection, which is an annual competition that recognizes the best food items in the world. Shiroi Koibito has become so popular that there is even an amusement park and museum dedicated to showing you more about how it’s made.
The packaging is one of the reasons why Shiroi Koibito is so popular amongst the Japanese. The white and evergreen colors along with a picture of Mt. Rishiri in Hokkaido, reminds people of the beautiful snowy rural Hokkaido landscape. I’m a winter person and love to ski, so this packaging almost reminds me of a warm ski lodge surround by pristine snowcapped mountains.
Fun fact: Originally the Ishiya founder was planning to make European-style cookies. When he saw Mt. Rishiri, it reminded him of the Swiss Alps, so he decided to put the drawing of Mt. Rishiri on the cover of the box. Japanese people love Europe, so the hint of European inspiration on the packaging makes it feel luxurious.
Mount Rishiri ©Jiro H
Overall, the packaging is great. Each cookie is individually wrapped and partitioned. Inside of the box, is a quote that goes, “This cookie has premium white chocolate sandwiched between two delicate cookies. We hope these cookies bring you joy and happy memories.” No doubt, eating these Japanese cookies certainly brings joy to my life!
The cookies have a light delicate texture but don’t crumble easily. They are perfectly golden and sandwiched with just the right amount of white chocolate. The ratio of cookie to white chocolate is perfect, and I couldn’t ask for a better balance. In addition to the original white chocolate version, you can also get the milk chocolate version of the cookie.
There’s really nothing more to say than that I can eat these for days! These are a must buy, and it’s a shame that they aren’t readily available outside of Japan.
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