Otaru One Day Tour
Our third day in Hokkaido (北海道) and we are looking forward to another 8-hours day tour with a guide from Hokkaido Experience as mentioned in my previous blog entry~! Here’s the one-day tour program details for our journey to Otaru~! (灬˘╰╯˘灬)♥｡･ﾟ
This time we had Nobuko Iwasaki-san as our tour guide who amazingly is a translator in Hokkaido! That also means that her English is superb, making it really comfortable for us to talk to her with ease in English. （ ^ω^）
So after meeting us at our hotel lobby, we headed off to the Sapporo station to take a 40-minute JR train ride down to Otaru. Otaru is definitely a more peaceful looking place as compared to Sapporo or probably because it was a weekday? Anyway the weather was superb for the day and it was totally enjoyable to walk around Otaru in such fine weather. Nobuko-san brought us around Otaru and the first stop was to a sake shop! Being with a tour guide is really good as they are the bridge between us and the native Japanese and we even got to try some sake for free~! Yippee! （ ∩＾ω＾∩）
So next up was a short walk from the sake shop to our first sightseeing location, the Otaru Canal (小樽運河)~! ♥ how they actually restore the canal, preserving the look while presenting new ideas within the warehouses themselves by housing various museums and restaurants. The whole place just feel so peaceful with the lovely weather and artists doing their stuffs such as caricature and selling their handmade art pieces. I will say it’s a lovely place for dating! ♥
Then Nobuko-san brought us to Otaru Denuki Koji (小樽出抜小路), which if I never remember wrongly actually houses various small restaurants in the small alleys. We just had a quick walk-through since most of them are not opened yet. Peeking into the restaurants, we realised they were all really small in their setting! Probably only ten or so customers can dine inside? Hehez. (´ㅂ｀)
After which, Nobuko-san brought us into a fish cake shop for a short stopover. Upon researching, I realised this shop is actually pretty famous in Otaru! It is none other than Kamaei (かま栄)~! Of ‘cos we didn’t miss out the chance of buying some of the fried fish cake to fill our stomach while resting a bit after some walking around.
Then we had a walk down to the Sakaimachi Main Street (堺町本通り) where most of the happenings of Otaru can be found. You can find lots of restaurants, shops and what-nots in this main street. Nobuko-san then brought us to a Kitaichi Glass (北一硝子) Studio, where we can observe how glasswares/glass accessories are being made. As Otaru is a well-known city for their glasswares, you can also find a lot of shops selling them. I was kind of tempted to bring some back but held off the thought on impulse spending. Haha! (；゜∀゜)
Look at the lovely two-tone heart-shape pendant! I was really tempted to get it though… Meh. (✘～✘…
After marveling at the lovely glass-making processes at the studio, it was about time for lunch~! So Nobuko-san recommended us to Fuji Sushi (ふじ鮨) for reasonably-priced Japanese food.
After a fulfilling lunch, we headed off to look at lovely music boxes at the Music Box Museum~! Since the museum spans across a few buildings, Nobuko-san brought us to the one (Hall 2) that has a collection of antique music boxes, organs and what-nots. Feng totally doesn’t remember about this photo and said that’s a… Dog. Wahahahaha! Σ(◎Д★）
There will be a Japanese guide in the museum that explains the history of the music boxes and luckily for us, we had Nobuko-san to translate those Japanese into English so that we understand what the Japanese guide was saying. Hehez. Talk about the advantage of having a guide with us! (ゝ。∂)
The Japanese guide will also play the music boxes for us. Seriously cool stuff! Hehe.
The Aeolian Pipe Organs (photo on the left) was the focus in Hall 2 and will only be played at certain time intervals. We had the pleasure of listening to the Japanese guide played the organ for us. Lovely lovely experience in Hall 2. (´ㅂ｀)
Then we proceeded to the other Music Box Museum building. I will say it’s more of a music box shop more than a museum since that’s where you can look around and get loads of interesting and one-of-a-kind music box for yourself! *control control*
Christmas mood is all around in the lovely shop and we got ourselves a lovely music box for Christmas and one wedding gift for our buddies. Hehez.
After touring the Music Box Museum, Nobuko-san brought us to try delicious Otaru sweets/dessert~! Puffs, cakes, chocolates and many many more! I think we went a bit mad-crazy buying them again. Hahaha! I was in love with LeTAO but too bad we can’t bring back the cheesecake. It’s like one of my favourite sweets from Japan now. Hehez.
There are still so many places in Hokkaido that haven’t been explored including the most sought-after snow and skiing~! Hopefully we will be able to go back to Hokkaido again to experience their winter, minus the freak winter/snow-storm weather they had in 2012 until now. I just need moderate snowing. Thanks. Haha! Once again, we had a great experience with Nobuko-san and wouldn’t hesitate to get her for our tour guide again if we are ever going back to Hokkaido again. (ت)♪