Day 11, Mon 12 Dec 16 – Otaru

20161211_222433877_iOSBrrr… I braved the early morning cold and walked to the nearby 7-Eleven for my cannot do without milk tea and a bowl of steaming hot…

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Oden!
The oden was for my husband who cannot eat carbs. I had my fish cutlet sandwich bought last night.20161211_224650786_iOS20161211_225212390_iOSWell, I concluded that cold fish sandwich didn’t taste nice. Good thing I have a nice bottle of 7-Eleven Kirin milk tea to wash down the fishy taste. Talking about 7-Eleven, as I’m writing this post, 7-Eleven Singapore launched a Japanese treats campaign. I was looking forward to them bringing in great stuff like the milk tea, ice-cream and Ippudo New York cup noodles.20161207_000013645_iosBut sadly, only these came. 20170420_043633465_iOS.jpgOnce everyone was done with breakfast in their rooms, we walked to JR Sapporo Station for our first train ride of the trip.20161212_000119000_iOS.pngSo the plan was:

I wasn’t sure whether my plan was feasible or too ambitious. Anyhow, it’s always better to have a plan, at least for me. Read on to see if I managed to follow it through. But before that, some pictures taken from the train window on our way to Otaru.

sea to otaru
So cool to see a snow covered beach.

otaru rock
Wonder if there’s a story behind this rock.

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Otaru city in the distance.
As the train approached a station, my daughter who was counting the number of stations wanted to alight. I pulled her back because I distinctly heard the announcement that the next station was Minami-Otaru. Turned out my daughter was right. We missed our stop and ended up at JR Otaru Station. 20161212_011335913_iOS.jpgSigh. My entire plan got turned upside down. The end point had become the start point. Well, I have learnt after so many free and easy trips to be flexible with my plans. Go with the flow and make the best out of everything, even boos boos like getting off the train one station late. So we walked down the main street, Chuodori, until we reached Otaru Canal where Chuo Bridge was. We followed the path alongside the canal to Asakusa Bridge.20161212_013211528_iOS

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Asakusa Bridge and Otaru Canal Cafeteria

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Looking back to Chuo Bridge from Asakusa Bridge
Right across Asakusa Bridge was Denuji-koji, famous for eateries like Sawasaki sushi, Naruto fried chicken, Nikka whiskey, Popura Farm rock melon ice-cream, etc.20161212_014005975_iOS20161212_014702546_iOS.jpgThe rest of the group weren’t hungry so they moved on to Sakaimachidori Shopping Street while my family tried the fried chicken.20161212_015500460_iOSNaruto was the first of many food stops. As we walked on, each holding a piece of fried chicken, I spotted Otaru Canal Terminal and recalled that Amato main shop was situated inside. Read about this confectionery brand on kimi and good! hokkaido! so we went in to check it out.20161212_020818921_iOSThey served cakes and ice-cream and sold an array of cookies. We ordered a strawberry sundae so we could unload our bags and slowly explore the samples. Our favourite was the Marron Coron, three layered round cookies in an assortment of flavours. Samples were only available for the original flavour but since it was so good and the shop sold the other flavours in individual packs, we bought a few to try. We figured we could get them at New Chitose Airport. We did but only after asking the information desk where to get them. Apparently only one shop at the airport sold it – Kita Kitchen by Marui-Imai Departmental Store. The selection wasn’t as extensive as Otaru but we were glad they had our favourite flavours – matcha and red tea. 20170219_085937220_iOSOne of the things I learned from this trip: If you see something you like, best to get it straight away. If not, ask the staff where else to find it.

Ok. Back to Otaru. Stepping out of Canal Terminal was the start of Sakaimachidori Shopping Street. We walked pass a few shops that sold glass ornaments. Then a promoter offered us samples outside this kelp shop. It was really good so we bought 2 packs. Moving on, something green caught our attention. 20161212_030239673_iOS.jpg20161212_030206256_iOS.jpgMatcha! We entered the shop and there was like so many things we wanted to try – mochi, castella cake, soft-serve, drink. In the end we bought everything. The shop name was Sawawa. There’s an outlet in Nishiki Market, Kyoto but I didn’t recall seeing it when I visited.

Then it was LeTAO galore. Le Chocolat on one side of the street, Pathos and Plus on the other side. We sampled the famous Niagara Chocolat but it was way too sweet for us. At Pathos, we tried the Double Chocolate Fromage and the Original Fromage. We all preferred the original. There were lots more to try but we were experiencing a sugar high and craving for something savoury, so we headed out in search of Ika Taro and found it just two shops away from Le Chocolat. My older daughter sampled all kinds of cuttlefish until she settled for two she thought were the best.20161212_032544365_iOS

The other packet was shredded cuttlefish
Right across Ika Taro was Rokkatei. Having visited its main store in Obihiro, we thought of giving it a miss but I read on a blog there’s a cafe with free coffee so we thought of taking a break there. Well, everyone seemed to think alike. It was so crowded and there was no empty table. We left and went next door to Kitakaro, home to baumkuchen, okaki (mochi rice crackers) and cream puffs.20161212_032736301_iOSNot a fan of baumkuchen (I prefer kueh lapis), I went straight for the okaki samples. They were alright, some flavours more tasty than others but nothing spectacular. The real deal was further inside the shop where the cafe was, the one I was looking forward to try – cream puffs! 20161212_033002058_iOSThere were three kinds to choose from and since I couldn’t read Japanese, I bought all three.   20161212_053838803_iOS.jpgBefore we left Kitakaro, we tried the Otaru edition apple cake. It was so good that we wanted to buy a box but it had to be consumed within a few days. So we just ate more samples to savour the taste.20161212_033734661_iOSOur plan to rest at Kitakaro failed as the seating area was limited so we took our cream puffs and went next door to LeTAO main shop.20161212_035153313_iOSThe cafe on the second floor was the perfect place to take a break from walking but definitely not eating. Just take a look at the menu. Cake and tea set! Who can resist?20161212_051858889_iOS20161212_051512492_iOS.jpgWe ordered one amazing cheesecake set and a basic cake set to share and also polished off all the three cream puffs from Kitakaro. 20161212_052805612_iOS20161212_053040705_iOS  Image may contain: coffee cup and food

After all the cream and cheese, it’s time to burn off the fats by visiting the Music Box Museum and Character House Yume-no-Oto. 20161212_040838249_iOS20161212_040901862_iOS20161212_131711.jpgIMG_2814.JPGIMG_2816.JPGFinal stop for the day was Gin no Kane. We couldn’t decide whether to go to No. 1 or No. 2. Both were crowded with China tourists. In the end, I just popped into No. 1 and bought souvenir cups without the cake set. After all the yummy desserts we ate, the slice of cake at Gin no Kane paled in comparison. 20161212_045038708_iOS.jpg20161212_045706660_iOS20161212_045716023_iOSI didn’t get to do all the things in my plan and there were other places to explore like Sankaku Market and North Canal. Unfortunately, we only had one day to spend in Otaru and the weather was just too cold to be walking outdoors for long. For future visits, might be good to stay over or go during warmer seasons.

Our return journey was via JR Minami-Otaru Station. The walk to the station was mostly uphill with nothing much to see. And the station was really small. IMG_2831.JPG20161212_064040182_iOS.jpg20161212_070242175_iOS.jpgBack at Sapporo, we split up. My family decided to try Butadon Ippin located at Stellar Place, which was highly recommended by friends.20161211_093628676_iOS.jpg20161212_090215683_iOS20161212_091518626_iOS20161212_091612160_iOSVerdict? Not as good as Pancho and the other two butadon places we tried. Read more about them in my butadon review. My husband figured the chef wasn’t generous enough with the sauce when grilling the meat. And since the shop sold the sauce, he bought a bottle to experiment cooking butadon at home.20161221_130448747_iOS.jpgTada! Our own version of butadon. Not as charred and the pork wasn’t from Tokachi but the taste was there. And it was yummier than Butahage butadon at Liang Court.20161229_102657189_iOS.jpg

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Butahage @ Liang Court
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