Hokkaido Milk Is the Secret Behind Japan’s Delicious Dairy

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Besides the creamy and delicious taste of Hokkaido milk, other Hokkaido dairy products like hokkaido ice cream are quickly gaining popularity in Japan for their rich and wholesome flavors.

Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest and northmost prefecture. Hokkaido is known for its beautiful snowy landscapes that attract many tourists to the northernmost part of Japan each winter. Besides being Japan’s winter wonderland, there’s another thing that makes Hokkaido special: it’s famous Hokkaido milk. 

Hokkaido milk is known across Japan for its delicious creamy flavour as well as it’s overall high quality. It’s even considered to be the best milk available in Japan, and perhaps even the world. More commonly referred to as “Hokkaido 3.6 milk” in Japan, this full fat, creamy milk is a gem of Hokkaido’s food production.

Why Is Hokkaido Milk So Famous?

Hokkaido alone produces over 50% of Japan’s milk. 60% of the dairy product is sold in the form of milk, the rest of it is sold in the form of cheese, ice creams and many other milk products. The higher quality of the milk itself is believed to be from the ideal farming conditions of Hokkaido. The cool climate of the region, plenty of wide open pastures, and fresh air provide a stress free living environment for the cows.     

Hokkaido milk is said to have a mild vanilla flavour. The smooth, creamy and rich taste of the milk will coat your mouth when you taste it. It’s also sold in different packages and sizes according to the fat content of the milk. The most common type is the 3.6% whole milk. The other types that are available in the markets across Japan are the 4.6% High Fat Milk, 1.5% Low Fat Milk, and 0.5% No Fat Milk. Another unique characteristic of Hokkaido milk is that no other nutrients or supplements are ever processed into the milk. 

Healthy cows grasing in the pastures of Hokkaido, Japan.
Happy cows produce delicious milk, and in Hokkaido, the cows are certainly happy. image via shutterstock.com

Hokkaido milk is used for a wide range of products starting from cheese, butter, ice cream, different types of bread, chocolates, tofu and even in cosmetic products. Among all these, one of the most interesting products that is produced from Hokkaido milk is the milk beer commonly known as Bilk. Bilk has 30% milk content that makes the beer taste sweeter than usual. 

Hokkaido milk packages can be found in almost all supermarkets and convenience stores too. The price of Hokkaido milk is generally higher than other milk available in stores in Japan, as the quality of Hokkaido milk is much greater than more standard options.

Famous Hokkaido Ice Cream

Besides Hokkaido milk, another dairy based delicacy from the northern Japanese prefecture is uniquely flavored ice cream. Of course, ice cream that is made with the delicious Hokkaido milk already has an edge. But there is a lot more to it besides the creamy, delicious milk that they use. The most notable among them is the Hokkaido soft serve ice cream, also known more commonly as “soft cream” in Japan. The soft serve is made from fresh milk which gives it a distinctly milky flavor. The most common flavour of a soft serve is, of course, the original vanilla flavour. But Vanilla may turn out to be boring when you have so many unique flavours in front of your eyes. Discover a few ‘must try’ flavours of Hokkaido soft cream below.

A glass full of Hokkaido milk.
Hokkaido milk is famous around Japan for it’s creamy, almost vanilla-like flavor. image via shutterstock.com

Melon Soft Cream

Hokkaido Melon soft cream is super refreshing. It has a fruity & sweet flavour. If you want to have the best melon flavoured soft cream you must visit Furano in Hokkaido. They actually grow some of the most delicious melons in Japan. Santa No Hige is one of the most popular farms in the area. You get half a melon topped with the melon flavoured soft cream. The melon is juicy, fresh and sweet.

Lavender Soft Cream

Farm Tomita is the largest lavender farm in Japan. This beautiful lavender park is a major sightseeing location for tourists in Hokkaido. The beautiful purple flowers carpet the 5 hectares field during its peak of blooming in July. If you are planning to visit this beautiful park, you must try the lavender soft cream that is available only in Farm Tomita.

The refreshing lavender flavour spreads in your mouth with just a small bite. Sold inside the park in various locations, it’s a must try for everyone who visits the park. The price ranges between 250 yen – 300 yen for either a cup or cone respectively.

A cone full of vanilla ice cream in Hokkaido Japan.
The freshest soft cream in Japan can be found in the mountains of Hokkaido . image via shutterstock.com

Makiba Soft Serve

The guest ranch Lake Hill Farm is located on top of a beautiful hill near Lake Toya. This popular spot offers unique gelato and Hokkaido milk based soft cream made by dairy farmers. They use freshly harvested milk to make the soft serve. The Makiba no Gelato has around 40 flavours including matcha, cream cheese, and corn. Also, the “Makiba no Milk” (Maikiba Milk) soft serve is highly recommended. It has a smooth texture and the rich milky flavour bursts across your palette with each bite.

Have you ever experienced the beauty of Hokkaido? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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