- May 20th, 2014
[Wakasaimo Honpo Head Office around Lake Toya-] Wakasaimo Looks More Real Than Real Potato
Wakasaimo Honpo (わかさいも本舗) is a long-established Japanese confectionery store based at the lakeside of Lake Toya. Mr. Hakosu Wakasa (若狭 函寿), the founder, used to start selling Wakasaimo (わかさいも) in 1930. Now all of Hokkaido people know it as an icon of the Wakasaimo Honpo. The Wakasaimo has been standard as a souvenir of Toyako Onsen (洞爺湖温泉) from old days. Except it, they also sell baked confectioneries, cookies and Japanese bun filled with sweet bean paste. Some branches open a business in Rusutsu, Date, Muroran, Noboribetsu, Sapporo and New Chitose Airport. The Wakasaimo Honpo also runs Choise (ちょいす), conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains, and has French Restaurant "Cote Dor" that got one star in MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2012 Special Edition and MICHELIN GUIDE Hokkaido 2017 Special Edition, Usuzan Ropeway and Daisetsuzan Asahidake Ropeway as group companies.
Lake Toya (洞爺湖) between Toyako town and Sobetsu town located in the northwestern direction of Muroran city is the 3rd largest caldera lake in Japan after Lake Kussharo and Lake Shikotsu, and was born by large-scale eruptions 110,000 years ago. In Shikotsu-Toya National Park, the perimeter of the lake is about 43 km, and 58 sculptures are located around the lake, and those create scenes in accord with the lake. Geographical features of mountains and the lake have been authorized in the World Geopark. The lake is one of major tourist attractoions in Hokkaido, and a lot of international tourists come. Windsor Hotels Toya Resort & Spa that 34th G8 Summit (Hokkaido Toyako Summit) was held at is famous, too. Around the Lake Toya, there are Toyako Onsen Resort (洞爺湖温泉) that is a sightseeing base, Toya Silo Observation Deck (サイロ展望台), Ukimido Park (浮見堂公園), Toya Onsen (洞爺温泉), Nakatoya Onsen (仲洞爺温泉), Nakatoya Camping Ground (仲洞爺キャンプ場), Green Stay Toyako (グリーンステイ洞爺湖), Takarada Camping Ground (水辺の里財田キャンプ場), Sobetsu-cho Onsen (壮瞥町温泉), Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山) and Mt. Usu (有珠山). Read More
Toya Onsen (洞爺温泉) is a hot spring place in the north side of Lake Toya (洞爺湖). Toya Ikoi-no-Ie (洞爺憩いの家) is built on a hill at around 110 m above sea level, and is beside old Hotel Toya Sunshine. Ukimido Park (浮見堂公園) that is one of 8 beauty spots around the Lake Toya and Akebono Park (曙公園) are around here, and those are well-known as a place famous for cherry blossoms. In addition, Toya Water Station (とうや水の駅), Silo Viewing Platform (サイロ展望台) and Takarada Campground (財田キャンプ場) are relatively near here. Read More
Although there are various theories, it is said that a root of the Wakasaimo is Wakasayaimo of Wakasaya-Shinise (若狭屋老舗) run by a same family in Suttu. In addition, Wakasaya Honpo (わかさや本舗) run by a same family in the Sapporo sales Imofumi (いも風味). The various potate-like sweets makee me understand those were popular at that time. My visited place is the Toyako Head Office near Toyako Visitor Center (洞爺湖ビジターセンター). Since the head office is built at the lakeside, a good view can be enjoyed. The building is large, a factory, a souvenir shop and a cafe are on the 1st floor, and Restaurant "Sendoan (仙堂庵)" opens a business on the 2nd floor. A hand bath for free is built in front of the entrance of the building.
Shikotsu-Toya National Park
Shikotsu-Toya National Park (支笏洞爺国立公園) has Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖), the 2nd largest caldera lake in Japan, and Lake Toya (洞爺湖), the 3rd largest caldera lake in the Japan, in the southwestern part of Hokkaido. In the national park, there are unique mountains such as Mt. Usu (有珠山), Mt. Tarumae (樽前山) and Mt. Showa-shinzan (昭和新山), and here is a tourist attraction on behalf of Hokkaido containing Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉) and Jozankei Onsen (定山渓温泉) in the 3 major onsen in the Hokkaido. Because it is easy to access the tourist attracions from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo city, the Shikotsu-Toya National Park gets popularity from tourists. The Shikotsu-Toya National Park is roughly divided into 5 areas, Yoteizan Area, Toyako Area, Noboribetsu Area, Shikotsuko Area and Jozankei Area. The area is 99,473 ha in total, it is very vast. It blows my mind why it adds the Yoteizan Area and the Jozankei Area, but I googled it, but I could not find. Read More
I visited here around 11:00 on a weekday. A lots of customers came. Here was a popular tourist facility after all. The Toyako Head Office was the only store that customers could sample "Imoten (いもてん)", fried Wakasaimo, in the Wakasaimo Honpo. So I guessed that a lots of customers came. I wanted to eat the Wakasaimo, a traditional Japanese confectionery, so I purchased a pack of the Wakasaimo. The price was JPY 648. A shop clerk allowed me to eat my Wakasaimo at the cafe, so I decided to eat it there.
Because it had been a long time since I had eaten this, I had a new discovery. I had thought that the Wakasaimo was sweet potato baked by soy sauce. * Imo means "Potato" in English. But it was wrong. I found a shocking papper that potatoes were not used at all. Bean jam made from beans was used to resemble mashed potatoes, and Kezuri Konbu was used as muscles of potatoes. Its appearance looked just a small potato. A slogan of the Waksaimo was that it looked more real than a real potato. The texture was same as the potato. It might be said that it was just the sweet potato. The taste of the Wakasaimo reminds a lot of Hokkaido people of their childhood. Thanks for the tsaty sweets!
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (105 Cars)|
|Regular closing day||Irregular closing day|
|Home page||Home page is this|
|Mapcode||321 518 489*42|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Lake Toya. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Lake Toya
A page of Shikotsu-Toya National Park is here
Shikotsu-Toya National Park
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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