Located about a five-minute drive from Biei Station is Biei Senka, a co-op showcasing the best seasonal produce Biei has to offer.
The site includes an organic health food grocery store, a deli, a bakery, juice bar, café, and even a fine dining French restaurant for those looking to treat themselves to a pleasant meal amongst the warm atmosphere at the foot of the surrounding hills of this quaint northern town.
Biei Senka truly is the one stop Biei shop. At Senka Market one can purchase freshly harvested vegetables and other products made from local farm produce, as well as a range of gifts and souvenirs. The market also takes orders to ship Biei-harvested rice and also offers free taste testing on a range of products. Be sure to try the delicious ‘Dice Milk’ before you go – a little snack made from rich Hokkaido milk and fresh cream produced in Biei. Senka Factory serves a number of delicious little seasonal treats and light meals made by a professional in house chef. Such specialties on offer include roll cake with erimo azuki beans produced in Biei, Biei pudding, pickled tomato syrup, fried chicken with roasted Kita Akari potatoes, and erimo azuki soft serve ice cream, to name just a few.
The fine dining French restaurant, Asperges, provides a classy, minimalistic approach to dining. Guest’s taste buds are transported to France whilst they sit back and enjoy the unhindered view of the natural beauty of Biei, through the comfort of the restaurant’s large glass windows. Asperges’ maxim is ‘nothing surpasses the delicacy of a fresh harvest. The flavours of Biei vegetables are unsurpassed by any other kind’. Indeed, the restaurant is dedicated to serving up high quality dishes made from only the finest ingredients to customers, with the head chef heading over to nearby farms every morning to pick the day’s produce himself as he works with farmers to come up with daily special menus that will satisfy and excite the palate. Popular menu items include Braised beef cheeks from Hokkaido stewed in red wine, Hokkaido cattle fillet steak, Assortment of Biei no Hatake 20 vegetables, and Moderne Soufflé Glace.
Don’t forget to visit the Biei Wheat factory whilst at Biei Senka. Open since 2013, the bakery sells specialty items baked using wheat produced in Biei, such as Biei Rusk and Yumechikara bread loaves. Though the bakery’s most famous item is without a doubt the Biei Corn Bun, which is produced in conjunction with the distinguished Shibuya bakery, Viron. The Biei Corn Bun is so popular that some sanctions have had to be put in place for customers. It is only sold in boxes of five, and each customer is limited to no more than two boxes.
The batches sell fast though, and it is not uncommon for customers to be lining up for the next fresh batch of sweet corn bread. Biei Senka is also well known for its ‘beans bread’ in which five different types of beans are stuffed in a soft bun. Only 30 boxes of bean bread are made each day, and it is very much a case of the early bird gets the bean bread, as all boxes sell out almost immediately when the shop opens.