The Pocky Tour – Chances are, if you live in Saitama, you have heard about the famous Glico Pia East factory tour. Also known as the Pocky tour. It remains top of the list of free factory tours in Saitama (2015, down to #2 in 2017) and one of the best for the whole Kanto region (Greater Tokyo area). Due to its popularity, it is still necessary to book in advance. However, the good news is that the wait has been reduced from a year to a few months. We were able to get a booking both times 4 months in advance.
The Pocky Tour in 2020 (Covid-19)
March 1st 2020. Due to the prefectural efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, Glico Pia East closed temporarily until June 25th. Update August 7th 2020. The factory is still open for bookings since they reopened on June 25th. However, they will close from August 7th until 16th for the Obon Holiday Period. You can still book through their official website for a date after Obon. However, currently the month of August is fully booked up.
The pocky tour was on my wish list since it opened its doors in 2012. However, I was advised to wait to go until the kids were in primary school. In 2015, I just couldn’t wait any longer so I booked it for the whole family. At the time the kids were 5, 4, 2 and 0! (We visited again during Spring Break 2017). Much to my delight, everyone, myself included, enjoyed the tour much more than we thought we would. The tour is 70 minutes long. It includes a brief video, museum tour, tour of 2 lines of products and an interactive quiz game in a futuristic gaming room. In fact, the whole tour building has a futuristic feel.
The kids found the tour very intriguing, apart from a short video at the start of the tour. In the museum they have a display of 1,500 mini toys. The toys used to come with one of their products. They also have an old-fashioned vending machine. My son was lucky enough to try it out. It uses an old 5 yen coin that is no longer in circulation. In that area of the museum they have the brand symbol of the running man. The running man is synonymous with “that” billboard in Osaka which is somewhat of a tourist attraction these days!
The free factory tour
The beautifully presented tour guides explain each element in detail and allocate time for taking photos. There are some parts of the tour where you can’t take photos. They let you know which sections. The tour is in Japanese, but the whole tour is quite visual so I would not say it is essential to completely understand the language. (Japanese is required to book the free factory tour). After the museum tour you move onto the factory element, where they show you two different line productions of Glico products. Following that you are led to the gaming room, where pairs sit at a table with buzzers of different colours representing different answers in an a, b or c type interactive game. The kids really loved that.
The Pocky workshop
After the interactive quiz the free part of the tour is over. You can, however, pay 500 yen per person to enjoy decorating your own giant Pocky. It is important to note that on a very busy day they limit the number of people who can do the make-your-own-Pocky. They decide at the very start of the tour who gets to do it. They prioritise primary school students in higher grades.
We were very lucky that our 5, 4 and 2 year old were able to participate on the day we went. They absolutely loved decorating their own giant-sized Pocky and it was definitely the highlight of the morning for them. You get a box to place your Pocky in and a bag of goodies with Glico products and inflatable Pocky.
The factory is less than an hour from Tokyo and thanks to the extension of the Ken-O expressway, the factory is very accessible from other prefectures in Kanto too. It is just 2 kilometres from the Okegawa-Kano exit of the Ken-O expressway. By public transport you can take a 12 minute bus ride bound for Glico Pia East from Kitamoto Station on the JR Takasaki line.
The Pocky Tour Information
OPEN: Saturday to Thursday (closed on Fridays)
TOUR TIMES: 9.30, 11.00, 12.30, 14.00
BOOKING: 048-593-8811 or online:
On the live link below, click the part I’ve circled in yellow in the image below to be brought to the booking form:
ADDRESS: 〒364-0013 Saitama Prefecture, Kitamoto, 中丸9丁目55