After visiting Shiroi Kobito Park (the place which produce the delicious white chocolate biscuit), we headed on to Otaru, which was a 30 minutes drive away.
Otaru is one of the recommended destinations for tourists to visit as a day trip from Sapporo as it brings about a charming vibe with its low-rise conserved buildings. However for this trip, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed with my visit to Otaru – mainly due to its overcrowded streets filled with tourists. The entire town has been infiltrated with endless gift shops, eye-catching banners in English and a lot of people.
We visited on a Saturday, where the locals could possibly contributed to the crowd, and the available carparks were very almost packed (and expensive at the same time). Parking cost approximately 300-400Y for 30 or 60 minutes.; can’t exactly remember. If I didn’t recall wrongly, we parked at the parking area for a hospital. Everywhere in Otaru is within 20 minutes walking distance so I don’t think it really matters.
We started off my having a meal in a random shop which serves Japanese food. Somehow wished we had seafood instead. This bowl of clamp soup was not bad but the chicken karrage was average.
We didn’t do much research of Otaru and there were only 3 destinations in my list – the music box “museum”, LeTao and Otaru Canal.
This music box “museum” is with inverted commas because their museum collection was barely 20% of the entire.. shop. They had 3 floors of retail space – selling everything that could come with music. Their museum collection had a bit of history – but most of the vintage pieces that were on display were also priced for sale. So.. I couldn’t really understand why this place could be considered a museum, Nevertheless, I didn’t walk out empty handed.
Being a fan of carousels or anything that turns (currently have a wooden one and another musical one which I won(aka used a lot of tickets to exchange for) from the arcade back in Jenkinsons), I decided to buy myself a carousel. Sadly, the one I saw and resisted against buying because it was too expensive back in 2011 (below) wasn’t available anymore.
I eventually walked out with this silver piece – a little less exquisite and almost half the price. It plays a disney music ‘When you wish upon a star’. The good thing I like about it is that the horses actually moves up and down when it turns – similar to the real thing.
They even have a musical box for the frozen fanatics.
We also stopped to have a small bite on the LeTao pastries which was decent but not a die-die must try dish. Or perhaps I was still too full from breakfast/tea.
You will also chance upon a lot of rickshaw man providing their not-so-cheap services around the area. It’s really a tough job and they don’t seem to be getting much businesses. It is likely that this service may phase out in the years to come.
We walked to (the supposed famous but looks ordinary to me) Otaru Canal. I don’t know why I can never appreciate the charm or romantic vibes or beauty of this. Went to the Tourist information centre to collect my chop, took a few photos and we were ready to leave Otaru.
The 2 hour plus drive from Otaru to Lake Toya was a very beautiful one. Along the way, there were observation decks with parking lots where you could snap up some photos or just enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
The beauty about driving (I know I mentioned a couple of times in my various entries) is being able to stop the car at random locations or drive slowly to appreciate the beautiful and picturesque sight. It was a rather hilly drive and the clouds were lying very low at some parts of the journey. Sometimes it feels like we were driving through the clouds 😀
There was a mystery mountain/volcano along the way which looks very grand and majestic. It was Mt Yotei, a stratovolcano, known for having a striking resemblance to Mt Fuji due to its symmetrical vibes.
This volcano was attracting our attention for more than 30 minutes of the car drive as we had to drive beside it for a part of the journey.
Next Entry – Lake Toya