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Mother Figure

This morning, here in Otaru Hokkado, we have heavy snow in sharp contrast with yesterday's sunlight. Most of vehicles on the road have the light on even in the daytime.

Even if the snow were so heavy, public transportation facilities such as route bus hardly go out of service in this city. They are very reliable, and we would not be able to get along without them especially in winter of Hokkaido.

On an icy road

It's very fine today in Otaru Hokkaido, but the air outside is rather cold. We have still so much snow all over the town.

Sunlight melts the frozen ground in a sunny place, and chill wind ices it again in the shade. In an alternating succession of the phenomenon, the snowy ground changes into the icy plane like a skating rink. We should mind our step when walking on the street.

The same is equally true of the roads in the city. We should be careful about the condition of the road surface when driving a car in winter.

Hideaway Cafe Free-Lance

Hideaway Cafe Free-Lance

"Free-Lance" is a Jazz cafe which has been a popular place among jazz lovers for over 20 years. A live jazz or sometimes other kind of music performance by the local musicians is given at odd intervals.

The owner, Yasuyuki Kanda, is also a local photographer. His monochrome images represent the strange charms of Otaru in Hokkaido very well. You can enjoy those interesting photographs in this cafe.

Free-Lance is housed in one of the old stone warehouses which make a part of Otaru's unique townscapes.

Skiing with the view of the sea

We have a lot of snow in winter here in Hokkaido. The snow falls in Hokkaido is powder snow which is said ideal for skiing and snowboarding.

In Otaru, there are three skiing grounds blessed with such quality snow. The point which makes Otaru's skiing grounds really unique is that all these skiing grounds overlook the sea, which means that you can have a panoramic view of Ishikari Bay while enjoying skiing. Otaru must be one of the rare places in the world where you can experience skiing with the view of the sea.

Please try skiing when you visit Otaru.

Muginowa Otaru

Muginowa Otaru

Muginowa Otaru, first opened as Otaru Bagel Factory in 2005, is the first shop specializing in bagel in Otaru. The bagel of this shop is made from Hokkaido flour with salt, sugar, yeast and Otaru's quality water as ingredients.

It comes in several different flavor, and sandwiches; smoked salmon +cream cheese, BLT, egg+lettuce+ bacon, liver paste+cabbage+ tomato are available, too. The bagel is big and chewy, so a sandwich is substancial enough as a meal.

The shop is on Yuragi Street which leads to Jozankei. From JR Asari Station, go up the road to Route 5.

Steep Slope Sisters

Steep Slope Sisters

Otaru in Hokkaido has a sister city in New Zealand. It is Dunedin in South Island.

Dunedin and Otaru have many things in common. One of them is that both cities are hilly and have many steep slopes. Dunedin has the world's steepest street called Baldwin Street. Its inclination is 38 degrees. I wonder if there is any slope in Otaru to cope with Baldwin Street.

Too Early Trimming

Too Early Trimming

Autumn leaves are really beautiful, but sometimes can be a nuisance once they fall on the streets.

Here in Otaru Hokkaido, howerver, it is a shame that ginkgo trees, along the street stretching from Sumiyoshi Shrine, have been trimmed before their leaves get golden yellow. Did they trim to avoid the trouble of clearing the fallen leaves?

Be that as it may, one of Otaru's seasonal beauties seems to be taken away because of this too early trimming...

Autumn colors in Otaru

It is getting quite cold early in the morning and at night here in Otaru Hokkaido. The difference of the temperature daytime and night makes autumnal tints so brilliant.

Otaru's autumn colors will be at their best soon. How about visiting one of Asari hot springs, where you can enjoy nice hot spring while viewing beautiful autumn colors of Hokkaido.

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