A kid free trip can be hassle free. Hence, it also made both mummies missing their beloved child badly. Everyday, without fail a video call back home just to see their face and hear their voice. Tell me bout the separation anxiety! 😀
Day 2 of the Hokkaido trip will going to cover Otaru.
the daily sight as we walk from Tmark City Hotel to Susukino station.
It was before 9am. Many shops were still closed. So, we decided to pick a random cafe at Susukino station to get a quick breakfast. Need my caffeine fix. LOL! A thick toast & a cuppa drink(tea/coffee) which cost ¥918/person.
The Japanese are so well-discipline when getting in and off the train. Unlike the Malaysians who often rush to get into the train before people inside got the chance to get down. Probably because of our poor timing/ unpunctual public transport made us don’t want to miss any ride.
Susukino is our nearest connecting station from Tmark City Hotel. So, from Susukino we took the subway to Sapporo. Cost ¥200
At Sapporo station, we were unsure where to buy the train ticket to Otaru. To our relief, we asked from the information counter. Although there’s a language barrier, but giving hand directions will help too.
Hence we took the local train with reserved seat for total cost of ¥1160/way. Traveling time from Sapporo to Otaru took about 40 minutes. Very clean and comfortable ride.
This line go along the sea shore line between Zenibako station and Asari station. A beautiful view that you may not want to miss.
Yes. We’ve reached Otaru.
Weather was all good when we arrived. A lil breeze too.
This is the bus schedule & fare. In case if you want to return Sapporo by bus.
This is Otaru station. Where the buses and trains meet here 🙂
Otaru is like a small town, I felt. You can download or printout the map of Otaru from HERE. Alternatively you can also get a colorful map from the information counter as you arrived at the station.
We decided to make our 1st stop at Sansaku Market, which is just opposite to Otaru Station (direction – 10pm clockwise).
This market is quite small. Not only they have seafood shops but also small restaurants serving fresh seafood. The seafood are what you sees below.
After a stroll at these fresh seafood market, both Ashley & I said “I want to eat now. Here!” 😀 We randomly chose one which we sees it has more crowd.
Sat on the tatami section and read the menu.
This a free snack. Guess what? It looks ugly but its quite yummy and can be addictive. Its dried squid with its ink!
Assorted sashimi platter. Consists of prawn, salmon, scallops, mackerel, squids and crab meat. The sashimi was really fresh and delicious.
A bowl of rice topped with vibrant colors of sea urchin (uni), popping salmon roe, salmon slices, crab meat was something unforgettable. It was my first time eating raw sea urchin. Not quite used to that taste.
This serving cost ¥2000, comes together with a bowl of scallop soup.
A satisfying meal that cost ¥3000. Dirt cheap!
At Otaru, there are four Otaru Stroller’s tourist buses, which connect Otaru Station with all of the tourist’s spots. The buses run every 30 minutes around the city center and once per hour in the less central areas. The fare on both tourist and regular buses is a flat 220 yen per ride or 750 yen for a one-day pass that is valid for one day usage.
We bought the one day pass. ¥750
The interior of stroller’s bus looking quite unique.
The bus made its first stop at Otaru Canal
Otaru (小樽) is a small harbor city, located northwest of Sapporo. Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo.
So, this is the popular stretch of canal. Actually its not very long. Otaru Canal, 1140m in length and 40m in width, was completed in 1923 after nine years of construction work. Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) was a central part of the city’s busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.
This place will gives you a totally different kind of atmosphere during the day & night, also during winter (snow) time. At night, this path will be lit up by gas lamp. Sounds romantic.
My travel buddy & I
traditional rickshaws for hire, with a certain fee. Not quite sure bout the price and coverage area.
Opposite Otaru Canal is Otaru Denuki Allay. Where you can find restaurants here too.
After the canal, we walked to Sakaimachi Street (境町通り, Sakaimachi Dōri) is an attractive, preserved merchant street in central Otaru, a short walk from the canal area. Many of the buildings along Sakaimachi Street have since been converted into restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, boutiques and museums.
*sigh, it was a wet, rainy afternoon*
We stopped by for the 7 layers ice cream, which I’ve seen people blogged about. Its located next to Museum of Venetian Art.
Choice of ice creams with price tag on it.
We ordered rainbow ice cream of course! Cost ¥550
From top layer onwards; grape, strawberry, green tea, melon, vanilla, chocolate, lavender.
worth for instagram √ worth for the taste ×
Each color, each layer are made of different flavors. I wouldn’t say that its super nice, because not every layer tasted good, but its definitely looking attractive. The texture of the ice cream is quite normal, I felt. I personally like the melon flavor most.
There are total 6 LeTao stores in Otaru. Each store is of different specialty. Apparently Otaru is LeTao head store.
LeTAO PATHOS is their largest store. On the first floor is a confectionery with popular products, including Double Fromage, a place where you can eat crepes and other sweets and purchase leather items by Somes Saddle.
On the second floor is a cafe where you can enjoy original cakes only from PATHOS as well as plates of pasta.
We came to Rokkatei & Kitakaro to shop for some confectionery. I personally preferred Kitakaro. They have varieties of biscuits, baum, and their popular cream puffs. Besides that, they also offered samples. At least you can try before you decide to buy more or less.
Baum sample by Kitakaro.
cream puffs by Kitakaro.
If you are a fan of Totoro, there’s a small shop here at Otaru, next to the Music Box Museum.
Otaru Music Box Museum
A museum that contains exhibits about the development of music boxes, a collection of several notable music boxes, as well as an extensive store that carries many different types. Outside of the music box museum, the steam clock was a gift from Vancouver to Otaru. Powered entirely by steam, the clock plays a chime every 15 minutes, and features the main steam whistle on the hour.
a large shop with a wide variety of music boxes on sale.
Alternatively, you can also opt to customize your own by selecting your choice of music from the list of music displayed here-with an additional fee. However the choice of figurine model was quite limited.
Varieties of Fortune Cat. (these are not music box)
After spending at least an hour here, I couldn’t make up my mind. Hence, the price ain’t cheap, I end up empty handed. LOL! LOL! I didn’t buy any. 😀 😀
After a tiring day, we decided to take a break at LeTAO Cheese CakeLab, which is very near to Music Box Museum.
It was already late noon. Many popular items were already sold out by then.
Cheese made soft served ice cream was really good. Texture was smooth and tasted like having cheesecake in a form of ice cream.
We also ordered 2 different slices of cakes. Total ¥730.
Left (Double Fromage Roll) Right (Double Fromage). Both having similar taste, but I personally preferred ‘Double Fromage’ as you can really taste its richness of flavor. The upper layer is creamy smooth no-bake cheesecake, and the lower layer is rich, tasty baked cheesecake. The cake texture is very light and the cheese taste is not overpowering too.
We wanted to try the nice tempura place at Otaru-Denuki (as recommended by people). Unfortunately the restaurant was closed on that day. It was already 7pm. Therefore we made our way back to Sapporo by bus (Cost ¥610) from Otaru Station. Then, from Sapporo we took the Subway back to Susukino (Cost ¥200).
By then we were already so tired with all the walking and traveling. Therefore we settled our dinner at a small ramen shop located near to Tmark City Hotel.
Choice of food/ramen is quite limited. With the help of one local diner, he suggested which to choose and also helped us to place order because the owner don’t seem to know a single word of English.
A bowl of Miso Ramen Cost ¥800
We opt for thin noodle. Noodle texture was crunchy. Serving was big, comes with rich flavorful miso+pork broth, pork slices. This bowl of ramen was such a comfort meal after a tiring day + cold weather. I reckon, this was one of the best ramen I ever had.
Total spending for Day 2 – ¥7443/person
**Otaru is a nice place to visit. Its peaceful and relaxing place. A trip to Otaru can be done in a day. Best is to depart early from your location in order to arrive Otaru early, so that you could spend more time at Otaru. Please take note that most of the shops closes at 6pm. Even the Otaru Stroller’s last ride is before 7pm.