If you’re reading this, it’s because no one guessed the mystery city. It’s called Otaru. (It was actually on the map that I put on the post for the first week.) Otaru is about a 20-30 minute train ride from Sapporo, the largest city on the northern island of Hokkaido, and is home to many people who work in Sapporo. As I mentioned in last week’s post, Sapporo has its internationally-acclaimed Snow Festival every February. Otaru runs a concurrent snow festival at the same time as Sapporo, adding to the overall attractions that draw a few million tourists each year.
However, Otaru has a relaxed feel that makes a visit at any time of year a good idea.
Otaru is known for many things. I mentioned the sushi in Week 2. (Click here to see the Week 2 post.) More than the sushi, it is known for its food overall and even its own brand of beer. It also boasts a confectionary, called LeTAO, that is famous all over Hokkaido.
It is known for a canal that runs through the city.
It is also known for glass blowing. Tourists can pay a fee at a glass shop to create their own items. Shops hold glass blowing shows.
My favorite attraction, though, is the Otaru Music Box Museum. No visit to the area is complete without it. The two-story structure is in a brick building over 100 years old. Visitors can build their own music box in addition to viewing music boxes from history. (The woman in the middle picture is my MIL. My boys call her Obaachan.)
In front of the museum is a steam clock. It was made by a Canadian clock maker. The chiming is well known.
Lastly, on our visit to Japan, I’ll leave you with one final picture of my smiling boys. The music box museum and clock are in the background. Hope you enjoyed the tour.
Walt Mussell primaily writes historical fiction with inspirational and romantic elements. His favorite setting is medieval Japan and he refers to his writing as “Like ‘Shogun,’ but the heroine survives.” He also writes Biblical fiction and is working on a manuscript with a 19th century American setting. He has one published novella in the Christmas anthology, Hot Cocoa for the Heart.