GLICOPIA EAST: Visit to Pocky Factory

Who doesn't know Pocky?
Who doesn't love Pocky?

I love Pocky! And I have been wanting to visit Pocky (or Glico, name of the company which produces Pocky) factory since four years ago, and finally I visited one of the factories. I AM SO HAPPY!

In summer 2015, I stayed in Ashiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Knowing there is a Glico factory called Glicopia in Kobe, I have been wanting to go, but all in the website is in Japanese, I couldn't understand and even I went there I wouldn't understand what the staff explain.

Now my Japanese is getting better and I still remember I wanted to go Glico factory. I don't know how many Glico factories in Japan, but as far as I know there are three Glicopia which are open for public. Glicopia Kobe and Glicopia East in Saitama are producing Pocky and Pretz, and also Glicopia Chiba, the Glico ice cream factory.

I visited Glicopia East in Saitama. The factory tour is free and all you need is reservation in advance. The reservation website page is all written in Japanese and the guided factory tour held in Japanese, so if you'd like to visit Glicopia, you can ask your friend or someone who speaks Japanese to book and take you there (and translate). You can book the tour up to three months in advance and you can check which schedule is available (weekend might be difficult to book).

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What I don't understand is we only can book the tour for minimum 2 persons. I don't know if we want to go alone, maybe call. But luckily, I have my brother to come with me! I feel sorry for him since he didn't understand Japanese. I think he was happy to visit Glicopia, though.

We came here by train and we arrived at JR Kitamoto Station. There is a bus running from station to Glicopia, but we chose to walk around 2.5 kilometers. Our tour schedule was 14.00 and we arrived station around 12.45, so we had a lot of time.

There was a group of school students also.
After we arrived Glicopia, a lady who is a staff there asked my name and asked me to wait for 10 minutes before the door was opened. We spent the time to eat ice cream we bought from vending machine and looked around the shop.

Glicopia East.
My brother and vending machines.
After we entered the building, we were guided to a small hall with seats and screen, and before it started the staff lady explained about an activity after the tour that we can join, which is kind of making our own Pocky. She called participants who are still elementary school student who want to join the activity and she gave them cards to keep. Next, she called participants under elementary school student age who wanted to join. Last one, she called all the adults who want to join. I WANT TO JOIN BUT WHY NO ADULTS RAISE THEIR HANDS. So I don't want to join... too shy... 😏

Glicopia reception counter.
In the beginning of tour, we were shown a documentary video about Riichi Ezaki, the founder of Ezaki Glico Company, and the history of Glico. In 1919, Ezaki learned that water used for boiling oyster contains glycogen, and he made a caramel candy containing glycogen. At first, he wanted to name it glycogen caramel (グリコーゲン・キャラメル/gurikoogen kyarameru), but it was too long and ended up he cut it and became: Glico (グリコ/guriko). Glico had a picture of running man on its box and until now still is a kinda mascot of Glico.

Currently, Glico produces various confectionery, beverages, ice cream, and the most famous one are Pocky and Pretz. Glico also produces cosmetics line branded as GG.

Even the toilet sign, Glico running man.

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Then, we were divided by group of 10-15 people. We are going to see the factory! Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures inside the factory. We were brought to the 3rd floor where they are producing and packing Pocky. We were shown from the last step of production, which is packing into boxes.

In case you don't know Pocky, Pocky is chocolate-coated biscuit sticks, and this brand is really famous in Japan and in the world. The original flavour is chocolate, but now they produce many coating flavour such as matcha, blueberry, banana, and even other biscuit flavour. Glico also make seasonal flavour and also special edition Pocky.

Pocky collab with Fauchon, a confectionary brand from France. The biscuit flavour is pistachio.
Currently, Glicopia East producing matcha flavour Pocky special for spring which will be sold starting at February. The factory itself works 24 hour non stop with more than 500 workers. All production lines are generated by machine and the factory workers are doing the quality control. Glicopia East produces 70.000 boxes of Pocky in a day.

Since my Japanese is limited and the lady guide speaks formal Japanese, I understand maybe... 60%. She asked the participants,

"What will we do with the defective products?
What do you think?
Are we going to sell cheaper?"

I was curious with the answer... but ended up I didn't understand at all. 😂 I googled and turned out they will 'recycle' and use for cattle food.

By the way, we couldn't see how they put the coating on the biscuit, the guide said it's company secret.

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Next, we were guided to 6th floor where we can see how they make Pretz. Pretz is also stick but the ingredients are totally different with Pocky. While Pocky is biscuit and mostly sweet, Pretz is inspired from pretzel and savoury.

We can see the dough are cut into 3mm width long walking dough and they are cut into specific length (I'm not sure how long is Pretz stick). The dough will enter the 45 meters-long oven and then put flavours, and ready to be packed!

Me and big Pretz Salad box.

Glicopia East is currently producing new flavour which will be sold in March. The packaging colour is lime green, but we don't know what flavour is it. The guide didn't tell us since it's still secret and she told us to see by ourselves. But the thing is too far, cannot see the letter on the packaging.

Two most famous flavour of Pretz are Salad, and Tomato. Now, they are selling Cheese flavour and we were given tester to try!

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And then we came back to the first hall to see how chocolate is made. Chocolate made from cacao fruit beans and the trees can grow around equatorial area. From the beans, cacao mass are taken and they will send to Glico factory. Many ingredients such as dairy, sugar, will be mixed with cacao mass, so the chocolate will taste good.

Then, we were brought to Stadium Hall. Inside, we did like a competition. So every two people sit in one seat, and become a team. We need to answer the quiz questions. The thing is we don't really understand Japanese... so the first two questions we answered wrong, but other five were right! The team who answered all the questions right and fastest got a gift which is a family pack Pretz!

The seats inside stadium hall.
Last one, the lady guide explained about the company and how Glico expanding their business overseas. There is also a replica of old vending machine for sales of caramel candy and the toys which enclosed with the candy. There are more than 50000 kind of toys but they only exhibit 1500 of them. And the most interesting part~ finally we can take picture! We can take picture with the big Glico running man, with the big boxes of Pocky and Pretz, and big Pocky balloon as well.

Big strawberry Pocky.

History of Pocky.
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Every tour participants are given a goodie bag with Pretz Salad in special Glicopia East packaging and Pocky ballon which until now I don't know how to use. The tour ended in 70 minutes and I would like to come to other Glicopia! Or even come back Glicopia East, and answer all the quiz questions right so I can get the prize. *ambitious*

So happy!
Me copying Glico running man.
Special edition Pretz. 
Inside shop.

Inside the goodie bag. Right one is the Pocky balloon.

Glicopia East
〒364-0013 Saitama Prefecture, Kitamoto, Nakamaru, 9丁目55
Access by public transport: JR Kitamoto Station, and transfer by bus.
Bus schedule: http://maru-ken.co.jp/route-bus/route-15/





4 comments:

  1. Wah seru ya tempatnya. Jadi pengen pergi jg suatu hari. Tp itu bikin appointmentnya ga usah nelpon kan ya Mba? Soalnya aku belom yakin bisa ngomong di telpon pake bahasa Jepang. Ntar yg angkatin itu telfon bisa stress besar. Hahahha

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    1. Ngga usah, kecuali di atas 9 orang, hehehe...

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  2. Ya ampun, surga banget ini. Tapi sayang ya hanya bahasa jepang aja, gak ngerti dong mereka ngomong apa.

    Btw, kok gak angkat tangan na, seru tuh buat pocky bareng anak-anak, hahahaha

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    Replies
    1. Iyaaa, kalau buka Bahasa Inggris makin susah di-booking deh, hahaha... semoga cepat buka yang English.

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