We’re not at this Furano vineyard for the grapes.

Hokkaido is famous for its wide-open vistas, a rarity in mostly mountainous Japan, and its delicious food. So on a recent trip to the country’s northernmost prefecture, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma went looking for a place where he could enjoy both at the same time.

That search led him to the town of Furano, where Hokkaido confectioner Rokkatei has a cafe called Campana Rokkatei. Campana is Italian for “bell,” and sure enough, during Masanuki’s eight-minute drive from Furano Station to the cafe, he spotted a bell tower along the side of the road, standing in a vineyard.

Also in the middle of the vineyard is the cafe, with a rustic-looking storefront and a sign bearing the characters for Rokkatei (六花亭) in a calligraphy-style font next to the entrance.

Where things get really, beautiful, though, is once you’re inside the building and get a look at the view out the back.

Scenery like this is hard to come by on Japan’s main island of Honshu, where wide flat areas tend to get quickly filled in by urban development. Being able to see so far with an unbroken line of sight without first hiking to the top of a mountain or riding an elevator to a skyscraper observation deck was something Masanuki hadn’t been able to do for a long time, and he spent a few moments in appreciative awe.

He wasn’t just here to drink in the scenery, though, but also to eat the sweets.

The cafe offers treats both to-go and for eat-in, and Masanuki started with the Furano Mochi, which is only available at Campana Rokkatei. It’s a baked mochi morsel with both locally grown sweet red beans kneaded into the rice cake and a bean paste center.

The outside is crisp, but the inside is soft and smooth, giving you a great mix of textures, and there’s variety to the flavor too, as the mildly sweet start transitions to a refreshing salty finish.

It was so good that, flavor-wise, Masanuki could have happily eaten two or three in one sitting, and at just 110 yen (US$0.80), even a triple helping wouldn’t have busted his budget. He only had so much space in his stomach, though, and he needed to save room for the Pudding Cake too.

At 500 yen this is a little more expensive, but still a perfectly reasonable price for a cafe dessert in Japan. The Pudding Cake is a firm purin-style pudding with a cake core that sits on a dollop of cream.

The mixture of custard and caramel flavors give this one a nostalgic appeal, and after Masanuki finished his last bite while sitting on the terrace, he set down his spoon and looked up at the big, blue, beautiful Hokkaido sky.

By the way, there’s one more thing Hokkaido is famous for: snow. As the coldest prefecture in Japan, the prefecture spends a lot of the winter blanketed under a layer of snow, and Furano is no exception. Because of that, Campana Rokkatei is usually closed during the winter, but if you can visit on a day like the one on which Masayuki did, it’s hard to imagine a better place for a mid-afternoon sweets session.

Cafe information
Campana Rokkatei / カンパーナ六花亭
Address: Hokkaido, Furano-shi, Kiyomizuyama
Cafe open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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