... If you're curious, check out the En-eating editorial department. I went to visit Gari-Gari-kun's factory in Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture, taking 5 hours for a round trip (yes, 5 hours for a round trip!)!
■ We have arrived at "Honjo Senbon Sakura" 5S "Factory"!
About 30 minutes by taxi from Honjo Station on the JR Takasaki Line. We have arrived at the "Honjo Senbon Sakura" 5S "Factory" in Honjo City. Expectations are high for the new and large facility where Gari-gari decorates the walls. So what kind of fun is there?
■ Factory tour started!
What surprised me when I saw the inside of the factory was the bright atmosphere. The secret of brightness is that the floor is the color of "soda blue". The company says that this color is called "Gari-blue" color together with Gari-gari-kun's name. This "Gari Blue" color is also used in employee work clothes, creating a calm atmosphere.
The internal tour time is about 35 minutes. We asked them to explain in order the four stages of "manufacturing ice cream mix," "manufacturing shaved ice," "molding," and "packaging-shipping."
■ Gari-gari can do this!
Let's briefly explain the manufacturing process of Gari-Gari-kun. The first is the production of the "ice cream mix," which is also the source of that "soda blue." After mixing raw materials such as water, sugar, and fruit juice, it has a smooth texture and is sterilized by heating. The "aging room" is where the tank that cools this "ice cream mix" is placed. Each tank contains 8,000 liters of "ice cream mix", which is equivalent to about 100,000 Gari-gari-kun! Moreover, it seems that there is still space to increase the tank. The popularity of "Garigari" seems to continue to grow in the future!
And there are two types of this "ice cream mix", "dark" and "light". Did you notice while eating? Actually, Gari-gari has a two-layer structure, and the reason was the order in which these two types of "ice cream mix" were added.
The first thing to put in the mold is "light-colored ice cream mix". This will be the outer ice lolly, and will be the "shell" that keeps the shape of Gari-gari. Next, put the "dark ice cream mix" in the mold. This is mixed with the shaved ice to form "shaved ice", which is the inner part of Gari-gari. Even though it is "shaved ice", it does not crumble easily and is easy to eat. The texture of Gari-Gari was the secret of this two-layer structure! It looks like a simple ice cream, but it's actually elaborate. The reason why it is loved by both children and adults seems to be hidden in such depth.
Once you have the shape of Gari-gari, stick an ice stick before it hardens. It is an ice stick with a mixture of "hits", but since the machine randomly inserts it, employees do not know which one is the "hit". The winning ratio also seems to be a secret. Well, if you're curious, you'll find out thoroughly, the eating editorial department. Like the 7-hour " Eyebrow Koala " survey, it's likely to take on another big challenge!
When the contents are solid, pull it out of the mold and put it in the package. It is said that 2.5 million "Gari-Gari-kun" are produced at this factory a day! The factory operates 24 hours a day, sorting 2.5 million bottles, packing them in boxes, and shipping them to consumers nationwide. Gari-gari-kun's demand is not just a thing.
■ Last time for tasting and souvenirs
The tour ends with a break hall where you can sample, take pictures, and buy souvenirs. Colorful illustrations of Gari-gari and his friends are drawn all over the wall, creating a bright and fun space.
You can choose your favorite taste for each ice cream tasting. I chose "Gari-Gari-kun Mikan Sour" released in January 2013. This texture is born like that. When I ate it while thinking about the manufacturing process, it felt even more delicious. This taste has been introduced in past articles on eating food, so please read it.
Don't forget to ask after eating deliciously. If you write your wishes on the "request stick" and throw them into the mouth of "Gari-gari-kun Daibutsu", your wishes may come true !? Not only pursuing good taste, but also playfulness is important. I have to. Gari-gari has been loved for a long time because of Akagi Nyugyo's corporate culture.
In addition, while taking a commemorative photo with Gari-gari, trying the "smell quiz", and checking the limited goods at the souvenir shop, the time passed in a blink of an eye, 90 minutes. The tour is over. It was a lot of fun! Thank you very much!
■ Gari-gari was made under strict hygiene management
What impressed me especially this time was the thorough cleanliness of the factory. According to the pamphlet, it is a hygiene management system that is "comparable to pharmaceutical companies." Certainly, looking at the work clothes that cover the whole body and multiple inspections, there seemed to be no chance of contamination with germs and foreign substances. Gari-gari-kun is delicious and can be eaten with peace of mind because of thorough management. On top of that, it is surprising that the price of one bottle is about 60 yen.
■ Summary: I want to go even if it is difficult to make a reservation! A place where you can like "Gari-Gari-kun" more
"Honjo Senbon Sakura" 5S "Factory" is full of fun for both adults and children. The difficulty is that it is difficult to make a reservation, but there is a possibility that it will be canceled. If you are thinking of going out, please check the "vacancy status" on the official website frequently.
Learn happily and eat deliciously. After a fulfilling factory tour, you will surely like Gari-gari even more!
That's why Gari-Gari-kun, thank you for your cooperation this summer! First of all, let's get the Gari-Gari-kun Kiwi released on April 30th!