Monday, March 3, 2014

Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 6 (Otaru)

Date of Travel: 2-12 Aug 2013

Otaru Canal - Kena bluff! This photo looks way nicer than it actually was
Having given up our car on Day 5, we took the train to Otaru for a day trip, since people say it was easy to get there by train, and difficult to find a parking at Otaru. Bearing in mind that this was summer, I think that was a mistake. All the tourist sites found in Otaru stretches across 2 JR railway stations - Otaru Station and Otaru-Minami station. The obvious choice was to stop at Otaru Station first, and walk to the canal, and then make your way west and shop along the way and finally going home via Otaru-Minami station.

We timed our departure to make it for "brunch" at Yabuhan Restaurant, Otaru. Yet another reason why we stopped at Otaru Station first, it is a 5 minute walk from there. This restaurant opens at 11:00am, and we had to make sure that we arrive at 11:00am, to avoid the long queue after. It was the best darn soba we ever had! You may check out the menu here as well

Yabuhan Restaurant, since 1954. Sitting in front, slightly after 11:00, no queue yet. Yay!

Ordinary Soba was 550¥(RM18), but this above was 800¥(RM26) for buckwheat. Very refreshing on a hot day like today

Nishin fish, fast becoming our favorite fish to have in Japan. Slightly sweet, flavor full of depth! 650¥ (RM21)

Looks like ordinary tofu right? Wrong. Tofu in Japan is so full of flavor. 500¥ (RM16)

Thank you for delivering a nice pot of soup for us to enjoy after the meal
With our tummies filled, we walked along the covered shopping mall, on the way to the famous canal.

HH bought a pair of shorts at the shop on the left. 630¥ (RM20) very cheap!

Many quaint boutiques along the way

When we finally found the canal, I remember saying out loud, "Is that all??". I am sorry, but the moment we arrived, I felt utterly and horribly cheated. I had so much expectations of a weaving canal, with many branches leading to many picturesque photos and buildings. What you see above, is the only picturesque thing about the canal. It felt more like a monsoon drain to me. On the other side of the canal, is a warehouse which they turned into a complex of restaurants. Everything was so touristy and fake.

BUT the day is not lost. We made our way to the Sakaimichi Shopping street, and wandered in and out of many shops. It was a really long walk on a really hot day! I'm guessing about 2km in all. Couldn't wait to leave actually.

Too hot to walk? Pay for a trishaw ride

Or ride on the trolley bus, 750¥(RM24) for a day pass. But you'll miss out on all the shops then

Learn to make your own glass bead. Very costly, can't remember how much

5-flavor ice cream for 450¥ (RM15)!
In conclusion, Otaru had only 3 wonderful things for me. No.1 is the Yabuhan Restaurant. No.2 is Rokkatei, which was introduced to me by many bloggers from Singapore. In the end, I agree with them wholeheartedly! No.3, is the music box museum. Though touristy, I fell in love with that place and brought home a very special music box.

So what is Rokkatei???
Rokkatei - a shop selling the most mouth watering snacks. And i normally dislike Japanese snacks!

Freshly made to dine here, or buy their take-away snacks

This cheese cracker has a very smooth and subtle cheese inside. Went really well with the dark choc biscuit. 150¥ (RM5). But cannot bring home.
Cream puff for 80¥ (RM2.60). Very nice and refreshing! But cannot bring home.

This is the star attraction to me - MUST TRY! Crispy Pie Sandwich for 110¥ each. With lemon-chocolate cream containing honey and jelly made with Quince, a highly fragrant fruit. This product is not sold at the airport.
Just a few doors away from Rokkatei, is the music box museum and the clock tower intersection. If you're lucky enough, you get to see the steam clock and hear its chimes upon the hour.

We heard and saw the clock turn 4, then only we decided to take a photo. D'oh!
3 floors of  music boxes!

A music box made out of nails, screws and nuts! Amazing!!
We finally left Otaru, and went back to Sapporo for our final night there. We decided to try yet another famous dish, Genghis Khan lamb. At that point, we were thinking, "Anything But Seafood". All the famous ones, as you may have guessed, were completely full. So we found this hole in the wall type of place and ventured in. Great ambience and taste!
Photos of Little Sheep at the top, about to be eaten by hungry people

One woman running the whole shop. To order, she brought a magnet of a sheep to ask if we wanted lamb

Only 3 tables, and a counter. Can't fit very many here

I have to say, this was really good! Our meal came to 4100¥ for 2 pax, along with a 2 drinks and extra appetizer

This is the appetizer, Nishin Fish again! We ordered 2 extra plates of these

Ladies do still wear traditional costumes on a night out

Train to Otaru 620¥ x 2ways x 2pax = 2480¥
Yabuhan Soba 550+800+650fish+500tofu = 2500¥
Shorts 630¥
Magnet 736¥
Ice cream 450¥
Potato 180¥
Rokkatei 340¥
Magnet 420¥
Music box 3570¥
Genghis Khan lamb + add nishin fish + coke n oolong tea 4100¥

Other days in this series:
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 1
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 2 (Furano)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 3 (Furano)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 4 (Unkai, Mitsui Factory Outlet, Sapporo)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 5 (Sapporo)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 6 (Otaru)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 7 (Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Tokyo)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 8 (Tokyo - Kichijoji and the best darn steak ever!)
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 9 (Tokyo - Asakusa & Tokyo Metropolitan Govt Building)  
Japan 2013: Tokyo + Hokkaido - Day 10 Final (Shibuya) 

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