The Glico Pia East Factory tour was on my wish list since it opened its doors in Kitamoto City in 2012. However, at the time I was advised to wait until my kids were older to go. In 2015, I just couldn’t wait any longer so I booked it for the whole family. At the time my children were five, four, two and a baby! Much to my delight, everyone, myself included, enjoyed the tour much more than we thought we would. In fact we loved it so much we have been several times since!
Glico is the name of a large manufacturing company headquartered in Osaka, Japan. One of Osaka's most iconic billboards is of the "running man" logo of the company. Glico makes many things including baby formula and ice cream, but this factory tour is of their most famous and beloved confectionary products: Pocky and Pretz. Pocky and Pretz are both stick shaped snacks, but Pocky are dipped in chocolate and Pretz are not. So loved they are that there is even a Pocky and Pretz Day on November 11th each year in Japan!
The tour at the factory in Kitamoto City, Saitama, is 70 minutes long. It includes a brief video, the museum 'zone', a tour of the Pocky and Pretz production lines and an interactive quiz game in a futuristic gaming room. In fact, the whole tour building has a futuristic feel. At the start of the tour they offer you a chance to sign up for a workshop at the end of the tour where you can decorate your own giant Pocky. It costs 500 yen per person if you choose to participate in the workshop. Whether you participate in the workshop or not, everyone gets to take home a free bag of goodies. Each time the contents have been a little different, but there is always a free box of Pocky and Pretz in the goodie bag. At the factory gate there is a souvenir shop where you can buy even more Glico goodies including rare flavors and / or giant sized Pocky.
The tour (without the workshop) is free, but it needs to be booked in advance. However, the tour is temporarily closed to the general public due to the pandemic. On the day the tour is conducted in Japanese. The first few times we visited there was no English language support, but on our last visit they had added a basic English language brochure and some English language signage in the factory.
Booking the tour
The tour can be booked through the website. It is all in Japanese, but it is manageable even if you don't read Japanese. Several readers of my personal blog were able to book the tour from overseas without any Japanese language ability. I have included a screenshot of the booking form for when reservations reopen. Once you click on the button circled in yellow it opens a form to choose your date and record your personal details. The tour times are 9.30, 11.00, 12.30, 14.00 six days a week, closed on Fridays.