Cheese factory, or in Japanese, Cheezu Kobo, is a must-visit when you are visiting Furano. Furano, like other cities in Hokkaido, is blessed with high quality milk, so the cheese produced in Furano is top quality.
Upon entering the factory, you will see the production line making cheese on the first floor. I was bewildered to see black cheese wheels sitting on another shelf next to the more familiar Camembert wheels. I got my answer soon enough as I arrived at the second floor.
Here, there is a shop area selling cheese and cheese-related merchandise. Before deciding on your purchase, you can sample the various cheeses that the factory makes. The main three are: squid ink Camembert cheese called Sepia, Camembert cheese and Wine Cheddar. I had to try the squid ink Camembert cheese. It was a soft, tasty Camembert with a slight squid ink taste! Since it’s not everyday that I saw squid ink Camembert cheese, I also bought some for my friends to taste.
The Cheese Factory also organizes various workshops where visitors can try their hand at making cheese, ice cream or even bread. Visitors who are keen to try these have to book in advance prior to their visit to the Cheese Factory. Some of these workshops have a minimum number of visitors before they can open. Sign up with some friends and have fun making your own cheese!
On the same level, there is also an exhibition of the cuisines made using Furano cheese. They feature various local restaurants in Furano’s downtown that make use of Furano cheese in their cuisines. The one that really sparked my interest was the squid ink ramen but, alas, I didn’t get to try it during my visit.
The building of the Cheese Factory reminded me of a huge European barn house, adorned with large windows that look out to the green fields outside. There is a sitting area on the second storey as well, so you can have your ice cream while enjoying the scenery through the large windows.
After you are done tasting the cheese and ice cream in Cheese Factory, why not pop over to the little pizzeria, La Bottega della Pizza next to it? You can get a slice of pizza for 400 yen, freshly baked in a traditional stone oven. Of course, Furano cheese is used in the pizzas in La Bottega della Pizza!
The Cheese Factory is best accessed by car or taxi. Since I did not rent a car, I took a taxi from Natulux Furano, the hotel I was staying at. The tour buses that run in summer (e.g. Twinkle bus) also make a stop at the Cheese Factory. Do inquire at the Furano Tourism Association near the JR Furano station when you visit!