How to Visit the Meiji Chocolate Factory

How to Visit the Meiji Chocolate Factory
© Bittercup / WikiCommons
While sitting on the train that takes thousands of passengers between Osaka and Kyoto every day, riders are greeted by a wondrous, mouth-watering sight if they happen to be looking out of the window instead of at their phones. A gigantic chocolate bar standing stories high over the tracks halfway between the two cities. However appetizing this may look, however, it can’t be eaten. This is the Meiji Chocolate Factory. Read on for a insider guide to the best way to visit it.

Producing huge amounts of chocolate daily, the Meiji Chocolate Factory is a marvel of productivity and design. Even though you unfortunately can’t taste it, you can go inside for a tour (and the chance to sample more appropriately sized treats). But, how does a person get inside this Willy Wonkan wonder?

The Meiji Chocolate Factory and a passing JR train. © 切干大根 / WikiCommons

About Meiji

Meiji is the mecca of chocolate in Japan. The logo is ubiquitous from convenience store shelves to locals’ pantries. Meiji’s signature milk chocolate is their most famous and beloved product, but the company manufactures other types of sweets as well as dairy goods like cheese and yogurt. The company was founded in 1916 and recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. The milk chocolate was introduced in the late 20s and the sweet and creamy taste has become such a staple that the recipe hasn’t changed much since then. Today, their products are consumed around the world.

You can even catch sight of the logo on special trains in Japan. © Martin Abegglen / Flickr

How to get inside

The Meiji Chocolate Factory in Osaka isn’t the only of the company’s production centers in Japan, but it is the most unique. As a functioning factory, there are many limitations for visitors, so getting inside isn’t easy. You can only visit at certain times of the day, and you better not try to get in if you’ve got a cold or other contagious illness. The factory typically only gives tours to groups of children on field trips or bookings of 10 or more people. They also don’t accept bookings from overseas. However, if you are in Japan and have access to a phone, you can try your luck and give them a call. If they already have a tour booked for the day and it’s not too crowded, you may be able to jump in! If you’re staying in a hotel or with locals, you might want to ask a Japanese speaker to call for you since there is no guarantee the person taking reservations will speak English. There are instructions on how to book a tour here, but they’re in Japanese.

What’s in it for visitors? The whole factory smells like chocolate. You can see the manufacturing process up close and check out candy-themed exhibitions and more giant chocolates. The tour may not be for everyone, but for kids and chocolate lovers (so, pretty much everyone) it’s sure to be an exciting and rare experience.

Getting There

If you’re staying in or around Osaka or Kyoto, the best way to get there is to take the JR Kyoto Line. You can hop on at either Osaka or Kyoto Station. Get off at JR Settsu-Tonda Station. The factory is about a 15-minute walk from there. You can’t miss it. Of course, you could just ride the JR Kyoto Line between Osaka and Kyoto and spot the factory out your window near Takatsuki Station. Grab a chocolate bar before you get on the train and enjoy the ride.