Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Hokkaido Travel 🏨 Otaru Recommended Food and Places to Go + Otaru Hotel Close to Jr Station - Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal

Otaru (小樽) is a small harbor city in Hokkaido, 
Japan about half an hour northwest of Sapporo. 
It used to be a major fishing and trade port in Hokkaido, 
now it is a very popular tourist spot. 
Whether you want to see the famous Otaru Canal first, 
historic sites from Meiji, or go to the shopping street in Kojimachi, 
it's important to find a good place to stay where you can access everything.

Getting to Otaru from 
Sapporo New Chitose Airport
 Take a Shuttle Bus and Renting a Car  

We arrived at the New Chitose Airport in Sapporo
and figured it would be easiest to rent a car to travel around Hokkaido
since everything is pretty spread out.
Taking trains is of course doable,
but if you want to rent a car each car rental company has a free shuttle bus
that will take you from New Chitose Airport to their store.

It's always fun renting a car in Japan because 
you can see the newly developed Japanese cars that aren't in your country.

Nissan Rent-a-Car New Chitose Airport (日産レンタカー新千歳空港店)
🏢2-2-5 Kashiwadai Minami, Chitose, Hokkaido
☎: 0123-27-4123
⏰: 8am~9pm
Special Business Hours
(7/1~9/30) 8am~10pm
(11/1~3/31) 8:30am~7:30pm

⬟  ⬟        

Hokkaido Travel
Things to Eat in Otaru 

Hokkaido Ice Cream
Hokkaido is known all over Japan for its dairy products.
So eating some of Hokkaido's ice cream is a must!
Really anywhere you go you're bound to find delicious, creamy ice cream,

but "Soft Cream Janken", an ice cream shop near Otaru Canal Street,
is a place more than to just eat ice cream.

All over the outside of the store are wooden blocks with signatures and messages of customers throughout the years.
It's pretty cool looking at all the different things written 
and trying to find a spot to write something down of your own.

There are three main flavors,
vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. 

Normally in places like Tokyo buying ""Hokkaido ice cream"
can get up to about 500yen or more.
However here a regular cone (or cup) is 260yen,
AND they don't cheat you out in the serving.

🍦Soft Cream Janken (ソフトクリームじゃんけん)
 ðŸ¢3-10-21 Ironai, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido
🚙Car rental map Code: 493 720 582 *51
☎: 0134-33-8338
⏰: Mon-Fri 11am~6pm
Sat, Sun, Holiday 10:30am~6pm

Hokkaido Seafood Rice Bowls
Otaru Poseidon (小樽ポセイ丼) is a restaurant specializing in seafood bowls.
About a 7 min walk from the Otaru Canal along the port area of Otaru
where fishing was developed. 
Here it's easy to find dozens of sushi and seafood bowl restaurants in Otaru,
all containing native seafood. 

There are all sorts of restaurants along the street,
but we went to a local favorite Otaru Poseidon. 

They serve dishes containing sea urchin, salmon roe, crab, scallops, etc.
But if you go to the main chain restaurant, 

you've got to try the "Posei-don" with popular seafood!
You've got shrimp, scallops, sea urchin, crab, salmon, 
different types of tuna, ikura (salmon roe) all packed in one bowl.
It's much cheaper than eating in Tokyo, and you can be sure of its freshness.

🍚Otaru Poseidon (小樽ポセイ丼)
🏢4-9 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚙Car rental map Code: 493 691 004 *77
☎: 0134-61-1478
⏰: 11am~7pm (last order 6:30pm)

Local Hokkaido Dish "Genghis Khan"
Lamb BBQ, Genghis Kahn
We asked the hotel staff about the restaurants around Otaru, 
and they recommended Otaru Genghis Khan Kita Tougarashi 
inside Otaru Denuki (小樽ジンギスカン倶楽部 åŒ—とうがらし å‡ºæŠœå°è·¯åº—).

When we heard "Genghis Khan", 

we thought of the Great Khan of Mongol,
but apparently, it refers to a lamb dish 
grilled on top of a convex metal skillet.
Basically Japanese yakiniku over a round grill.

Why call it Genghis Khan ("Jingisukan", ã‚¸ãƒ³ã‚®ã‚¹ã‚«ãƒ³) though?
While chowing down on this extremely delicious and healthy meal,

we asked the store owner and she said that it's believed it's the "fact" that
Genghis Khan would eat grilled lamb and 
the convex skillet resembles a traditional Mongolian war helmet. 
Whatever the reason is, one thing we are certain of is that it is recognized throughout Japan as a local Hokkaido dish!

It's said that it's different in Hokkaido, 
such as eating sauce, eating spicy meat, etc. 
So every place you go to you are sure to experience a new taste.

Then for you Japanese beer lovers,
only in Otaru/Hokkaido can you get Sapporo Classic beer on draft!

Even in cans it is pretty rare so drink up!

🍚Otaru Kita Tougarashi (小樽ジンギスカン倶楽部 北とうがらし 出抜小路店)
🏢1-1-17 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚙Car rental map Code: 493 691 004 *77
☎: 0134-33-0015
⏰: (May~Oct) 11am~11pm (last order 9:30pm)
(Nov~April) 11:30am~10pm (last order 9:30pm)
*It is easy to see if you look for the blue signboard or wooden clock tower on the opposite side of Otaru Canal

Cantaloupe Ice Cream
Right next to the Genghis Khan restaurant we ate at inside Otaru Denuki
is a place that combines Hokkaido's famous ice cream and cantaloupe,
serving cantaloupe (or melon) ice cream!!
Santa-no-Hige, or Santa's Beard is an ice cream shop
where you can try Hokkaido's sweet cantaloupe at a really good price.
We have heard how you can eat cantaloupe ice cream in Hokkaido,
so when we found a shop we were SO happy and rushed in.

There are a series of Hokkaido cantaloupe ice cream to choose from!
The most basic is "
Santa's beards" (サンタのヒゲ; Santa-no-Hige)
that comes with a cut melon (1/2 or 1/4) and vanilla ice cream.
As you get down the menu you will see some 

with mix cantaloupe and vanilla ice cream, hot chocolate syrup, 
sweet red beans, etc.
Cantaloupe ice cream is a MUST TRY when in Hokkaido.

🍚Popura Farm Santa Claus's Beard Otaru 
(ポプラ ファーム サンタのヒゲ 小樽)
🏢Otaru Denuki, 1-1 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido
Google Maps
☎: 0134-34-1772
⏰: 10:30am~6:30pm (last order 6:00pm)

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Hokkaido Travel
Places to Go in Otaru 

Otaru Music Box Store
If you're in Otaru, you should really stop by the Otaru Music Box Store.
As you can see from the outside it's an old building. 
It was originally built as a warehouse in the Meiji era 
and has a long history of becoming the music box hall it is today in 1912.

You walk inside and it's almost like you're inside a fairy tale
with the yellow lights and harmonious music playing all around.
It's more of a store rather than a museum 

since the entire building is filled with stunning music boxes
on display and for sale.

There are many music box stores and museums all around Japan,
but this one in Otaru is said to be the biggest of them all.

🎶Main Building of the Otaru Music Box Museum (小樽オルゴール堂)
🏢4-1 Sumiyo-cho, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚙Car rental map Code: 493 661 522*51
🚉5min walk from JR Minami Otaru Station (南小樽駅)
☎: 0134-22-1108
⏰: 9am~6pm
*look for the big wooden clock tower

Sankaku Central Market
The Sankaku Central Market (三角市場; Sankakuichiba
is to the left Otaru Station (once you leave the station, 
or to the right if you are facing the station).
Just go up a few stairs and you will see one of the entrances!

Otaru Sankaku Central Market is basically like a fish market strip
that sells mega fresh regional seafood.
While walking down the single road
you can talk with the clerks,
check out all sorts of Hokkaido seafood you've never seen before,
 and even sample some food.
Many of the stands that sell the seafood have restaurants across
from them that serve dishes using the fish they're selling.

🎣Otaru Sankaku Central Market (小樽三角市場)  
🏢3-10-16 Sumiyo-cho, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚉1 min from Otaru Station (小樽駅)
☎: 0134-23-2446
⏰: 6am~5pm
Restaurants: 7am

 Tenguyama (天狗山) is a beautiful landmark in Otaru and
is the perfect place to gaze over the city and Ishikari Bay. 

The Michelin Green Guide Japan even gave it one star
From downtown Otaru you can ride a gondola 
that will take you to the mountaintop in 4mins. 

L: Hananade Tengu / R: Tenguyama Slider 
Tenguyama isn't only a spot to look over the city though!
There are traditional Japanese monuments to see
and if you go before 5pm, you can ride the Tenguyama Slider!

The Tenguyama Slider is like a bobsleigh without snow!
You start at the bottom of a hill on the mountain
and the bobsleigh connects to a cable cord 

bringing you 250m up the mountain. 
Once at the top, the real fun begins!
You are disconnected from the cable and are in complete control
while you dash down the hill.
With the handle, you can choose how fast you go,

but of course going full force is the most fun!!

🌄Tenguyama (天狗山)  
🏢2-16-15 Mogami, Otaru, Hokkaido
Google Maps
💴Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway: Adults 1,200yen, Children 600yen
Tenguyama Slider: Adult 400yen, Children 300yen

⏰ Ropeway: 9:23am~9pm (7/1~9/30 starts at 9am)
Tenguyama Slider: 10am

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery
Nikka Whiskey Yoichi Distillery is a whiskey distillery 
located about 35 minutes from Otaru Station.
If you don't have a car,
the closest station would be Yoichi Station (余市駅),
and it is around a 7min walk from there.

Japanese whisky is becoming more and more known worldwide,
especially Nikka whisky thanks to winning many awards at international festivals such as World Whiskies Awards.

Why have a distillery in Hokkaido though?
Apparently, the people of Nikka Whisky came to the area 
with the closest climate to reproduce the taste of Nikka Whisky 
handed down from home in Scotland.

You can take a tour of the distillery along with tasting some of their whisky.
All of which IS FOR FREE!

There are 3 whiskies you get to sample,
the Nikka Singlemalt Yoichi, Nikka Super Nikka, and Nikka Apple Wine.
Inside the sampling hall is also soda water, water, ice, and more for
mixing in case you don't want to drink them all straight. 

🥃Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery (ニッカウヰスキー 北海道工場 余市蒸溜所)
🏢7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi-cho, Yoichi-gun,Hokkaido
(北海道余市町黒川町 7-6)
💴 Free!!
☎: 0135-23-3131
⏰Guided tour hours: 9am~3:30pm (no English tours available)
Self-guided tours9am~5pm

Some Things to Do in Sapporo

Ramen Yokocho
Hidden away in the center of Sapporo's red light district 
is the best place to try local Hokkaido ramen,
Ramen Yokocho (ラーメン横丁)!
It originally started in 1951 and with its success, 
opened up currently 17 ramen stores in this single street!

Image source: Ganso Yokocho website

A famous broth base of Hokkaido is miso,
so miso ramen is a popular ramen choice here!

This time we ate the Spicy Miso Noodles (辛味噌ラーメン)
at Kunimitsu Menya (國光麺屋) and it was delicious!
Anywhere you go though you are sure to have some yummy Hokkaido ramen❤

🍜Ganso Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (元祖さっぽろラーメン横丁)
🏢3 Chome Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo, Sapporo, Hokkaido
(札幌市中央区南5条西3丁目6 N・グランデビル1階)

Sapporo Beer Museum
In America and other countries internationally,
when talking about "Japanese beer" Sapporo Beer always comes up.
There are a few breweries in Japan,
but since it's Sapporo Beer what better place to go to than in Sapporo!?

There you can choose between getting a guided tour (in Japanese)
or just exploring on your own for free inside the museum.
There are language cards at each display in the museum in English, Simplified Chinese, and Korean though so if you understand any of those languages
be sure to look at those for more information 

about the museum and history of Sapporo Beer.

After exploring the museum there is the Star Hall where you can drink 3 Sapporo beers on draft 
(or you can skip it all and go straight for the tasting hall).

Drinks you can choose from are
・Sapporo Black Label 200yen
A flagshig product, launched in 1977
・Sapporo Classic 200yen
100% malt, only in Hokkaido
・Kaitakushi Beer 300yen
Sapporo Beer's origional recipe, malt and hop combination
・Tasting set (includes all 3) 600yen 

 ・Mugi no Kutsurogi "Laidback Barley" (non-alcoholic beer) 200yen
・Ribbon Napolin (soft drink only available in Hokkaido) 100yen
・Apple Juice 100yen 
・Green Tea 100yen

🍺Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール博物館)
🏢9 Chome-1-1 Kita 7 Johigashi, Sapporo, Hokkaido
💴 Self-tour: Free
Guided tour: Adults 500yen, middle schoolers~20yrs 300yen, 
elementary schoolers and below free
🍻Beer tasting: *Glasses are 240ml* 
- Sapporo Black Label 200yen
- Sapporo Classic 200yen
- Kaitakushi Beer 300yen
- Tasting set (includes all 3) 600yen 
- Non-alcoholic beer Mugi no Kutsurogi (Laidback Barley) 200yen
- Soft drink Ribbon Napolin 100yen
- Apple Juice and Green Tea 100yen
☎: 0135-23-3131
11am~8pm (entree until 7:30pm)Guided tour hours: 11:30am~5:30pm (no English tours available)

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Hokkaido Hotel

For those also wanting information on a recommended hotel in Otaru,
 JAPANKURU wanted to share a hotel that's newly opened, 
Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
Why? Because this hotel is not only close to popular tourist spots
but provides great breakfast, relaxing baths, 
and rooms with a fashionable theme! 

⯂ Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
🏢1-5-7 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚉 Closest station: Otaru Station
⏰: CHECK-IN 3pm / CHECK-OUT 11am
📞: 0134-20-2200
Free WIFI available

⬟  ⬟        

Introducing Otaru's New Hotel
Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal Hotel Lobby

 Other than the very famous Otaru Canal, 
Otaru is known for its Western-style buildings of stone and brick. 
Following that famous motif, 
the hotel halls and lobby of Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is red brick. 
It's designed to look like a warehouse arch, 
with soft lighting and wooden floor, 
and when you walk through the front door, you can feel it.

Everything is very calm and comfortable and there is a seating area next to the check-in counter which is a good place to wait and have a cup of coffee. 
The coffee is only available for a few hours, 
but when it is available it is free!

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Otaru Hokkaido Hotel
Rooms at Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal 

There are various room types, 
but they are broken down into 4 main design concepts. 
Since the main difference is the concept, 
we're going to introduce those 4 designs. 
To get more of an idea of the room types or what they look like, 
check out Hotel Torifito Canal's room page

Or their reservation page (both in Japanese)

  Warehouse Concept (倉庫)  

 Set up with red brick walls, wooden furniture, 
and warm earth-tone colors to represent a warehouse,
this room also provides a mini bar with a barrel as a motif and
a desk mirror that is shaped as a
a ship's wheel.

   Soft Stone Concept (軟石)   

 This room's concept is based on the stone used on buildings 
from Taisho to the early Showa period, 
which was called "Wall Street in the North".
The interior is similar to the Warehouse rooms,
however here the color scheme uses different gray tones, 

creating a more stylish and calm sense.

  Zen Concept (禅)  

 You would think since it has a tatami floor, 
it would be called "Japanese style room" or something of the sort,
however the theme of this room is "Zen", 
something relaxing and modern.
With a serene color scheme of black ink and white wood on the walls, 

along with grass color and fine Japanese designs 
all over is said to guide those in the room to zen. 
If you don't get the relaxing feeling while being in the room, don't worry!
At least you won't have to worry about you or your kids rolling off the bed!
The beds are so low to the ground, 

they are easy to climb up on.

  Secret Base (秘密基地)   

 This room incorporates a bunk bed/sofa,
making your stay fun for those with a playful side!

Great for a family of four or a group of friends.
Just close the doors and batten up the hatches,
and you've got your secret base.

⬟  ⬟        

Breakfast Including Hokkaido Based Food
Breakfast at Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal

Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal has a highly recommended breakfast 
full of special originated in Hokkaido dishes and ingredients. 

Hokkaido is famous for all kinds of food!
Earlier we mentioned their dairy products,

but it is also loved for their potatoes!
At Hotel Torifito's breakfast, 
you can also have yummy pork for Makkari, Hokkaido. 

One food that particularly caught our attention 
is known as Hokkaido's soul food, "ankake yakisoba." 
Ankake yakisoba (あんかけ焼きそば) consists of hard, 
crispy yakisoba noodles that are covered with a thick sauce known as "an." 
If you have ever tried or heard of Nagasaki's "sara udon", 
it's similar to that. 
It's definitely worth a try!!

What we love about Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is its brick and wooden interior, keeping true to the traditional Otaru architecture.

⏰🍞Breakfast: 6:30-10:00 (last order time: 9:30)

 ⬟  ⬟        

Soak and Relax
Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal's Public Bath 

 Traveling can be exhausting, 
so we are always thankful for Japanese hotel's big public bath.
There are two bathhouses, men's and women's, 
at Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal and they alternate rooms daily. 

Inside the public baths are many toiletries for men and women
from popular brands in Japan.

For men, they provide Paul Stuart products and Sekkisei (雪肌精) for the women.

R: Mount Yotei (羊蹄山) / L: Otaru Canal (小樽運河) 
There are beautiful murals on the walls done by popular Japanese painters, 
one room has a painting of Mt. Yotei (羊蹄山
and the other the Otaru Canal (小樽運河). 
Since the rooms alternate daily, it gives you a chance to soak in both rooms!

⬟  ⬟        

Hokkaido Travel
Where to Go and Things to Do

We asked those that live in Otaru, 
and they said most people when they come to Hokkaido 
they stay in Sapporo then drive to Otaru just because 
they don't know where they can stay. 
However, if you stayed in Otaru, 
not only will you be granted the freedom to travel around freely, 
you are more likely to find an open room whereas in
Sapporo hotels would be full. 
Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal, regardless of location, room type, 
breakfast or bathhouse, brings unparalleled satisfaction to our journey. 
So how about trying and staying at Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal 
when traveling to Hokkaido!?

⯂ Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
🏢1-5-7 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido
🚉 Closest station: Otaru Station
⏰: CHECK-IN 3pm / CHECK-OUT 11am
📞: 0134-20-2200
Free WIFI available

🌞 More articles on traveling in Hokkaido ðŸŒž



  1. I had a great time with your post. This is so nice and my favorite place is that wooden blocks with signatures and messages of customers. Such a pretty idea. Big thanks for sharing this with us.

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