shopping_cart Shopping

Hokkaido Natural Cheese Concierge-Cheese no Koe

place5 minute walk from Exit A3 of Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station

Hokkaido natural cheese specialty store in Kiyosumishirakawa

Published: May 31, 2017

If you are a lover of cheese and on the look-out for something different, then why not make your way to Cheese no Koe (The Voice of Cheese), located on a side street behind Kiyosumi Street, across from the southeast corner of Kiyosumi Garden.


You can’t miss the shop, with its distinctive front window depicting the outline of Hokkaido, one of Japan’s four main islands. The significance of this soon becomes clear once you look at what the shop has to offer – natural cheeses produced in dairies from all over Hokkaido. What you have here is the only purveyor in Japan dedicated to the selling of Hokkaido natural cheeses.


In the shop one of the display counters is crammed with a selection of soft natural cheeses…



… whilst the other display shows off the harder cheeses (here we see a customer deep in thought over which hard cheese to go for).




The cheeses are from over 30 “workshops” located across Hokkaido, where 60% of the milking cows in Japan graze. Shipments from these cheese workshops make their way to this small shop in Koto-ku by air and truck every day, depending on the type of cheese and shelf life: for example the Mozzarella, with its short life, is shipped fresh as soon as it is ready.


Cheese no Koe was started by Mr. Toru Konno in late 2015. After working as a government officer with cheese makers in Hokkaido, Mr. Konno decided that he would rather work with the producers on a more personal level. He chose to open the shop in this area due to its “shitamachi” (old town) atmosphere. Despite its somewhat hidden location Mr. Konno has visitors from all over the world including Canada, China and France in addition to the local clientele and chefs looking for that special cheese.


On the weekday I visited the shop there were two ladies from Saitama prefecture who had come on the recommendation of a friend living in Hokkaido.



The cheeses come either individually pre–wrapped by the dairies or whole and are then cut up and wrapped on site by the staff of Cheese no Koe. The former are sold as is, whilst the latter, usually longer-dated cheeses, can be cut to order and then sold by weight.


Whilst Mr. Konno specialises in selling cheeses made in Hokkaido, he sometimes introduces cheeses from other areas of Japan, such as Saga and Miyazaki prefectures.  Having made the effort to hunt out this cornucopia of cheese, you should try some of the quintessential Japanese products, such as the semi-hard mature miso-flavoured cheese…,


…or the interestingly green-coloured seasonal Yomogi (mugwort or wormwood) Mozzarella, which is only available in spring.


And of course, there are others, including sake (Japanese rice wine) cheese. However, according to Mr. Konno, there is no top favourite cheese in his shop, as everything sells well.


Whilst Cheese no Koe focuses on its cheese plate, it is also renowned for its soft-serve ice cream, which some claim to be the best in Tokyo. The ingredients are simple: they are the milk left over from cheese production plus sugar. The taste varies according to which cheese farm in Hokkaido the milk comes from. The afternoon I was there, the milk came from Adonai and had a fresh, clean, creamy taste and was worth every bit of its ¥380 price.




To go with the cheeses, Mr. Konno sells a selection of wines produced by some 40 wineries in Hokkaido. He says that his wish is to introduce these lesser known wines to a wider audience, and what better way to achieve this with his customers than by matching up a particular wine to a cheese from his stock.



In addition, every second and fourth Saturday of the month Cheese no Koe holds a fresh vegetable and fruit market in the store, offering products farmed by acquaintances of Mr. Konno. These vegetables look more wholesome than what you can buy in the average Tokyo supermarket.


So, if you are looking for cheeses that are a little bit different and a little bit special, Cheese no Koe, with its wide selection of Japanese natural cheeses, is the place to come to.



Story and Photos by Jeremy Hutchinson