Otaru This & That

Strolling Back Streets

One of the Otaru’s charms is the atmosphere that is created by buildings and narrow back streets.

The small alley called “Denuki Koji” stretching along Rinkosen Street behind Otaru Museum Canal Annex is interesting to walk. You will find some tranquil feeling even though it is in the bustling tourist spot near the Canal.

The Old and The New

The area around JR Minami Otaru Station was the business center of Otaru in the early 20th century.

There are many relics reminding of those flourishing days in this area. One of the examples is the storehouse made of stone. You can see many old storehouses here in Wakamatsu, Nobuka, Irifune areas. I am going to introduce the images of those storehouses in the near future.

The image is a typical old-time merchant house in Wakamatsu. The part of the brown wooden sliding doors must have been a shop.

Yubari Melon Soda

Melons are one of summer Specialties of Hokkaido.

"Yubari melon" produced in Yubari city is known as a brand melon for its quality, and there are some confections in which melon juice is used as an ingredient, and sold exclusively in Hokkaido.

I found one of those items yesterday.
It is "Yubari Melon Soda" produced by SAPPORO Beverage Company.

Its flavor and color is just like melon!
If you cannot take real melons back home, this soda might be an option. At least, you can find how melons taste like.

Yubari Melon Soda is produced for a limited number and time.

Mt. Kenashi Lookout

If you ever drive along Route 393 to Kiroro Resort in Akaigawa Village, please do stopover at Mt.Kenashi Lookout. You can enjoy a spectacular view of Otaru from there.

Mt.Kenashi Lookout is located in the highest point among Otaru's three major lookouts.

The period of time between the end of September and middle of October is most recommended to visit Mt.Kenashi when autumn color of leaves are beautiful.

A view of Otaru from Mt.Kenashi Lookout

On a sunny day,the Mashike mountain rage sometimes can be seen beyond the sea in autumn and winter when the air is clear and crisp.

Navel of Hokkaido

Furano City that is located in the center of Hokkaido is called "Navel of Hokkaido".

I visited Furano, Biei and Asahiyama Zoo in Asahikawa city that are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Hokkaido on my guiding job on the 19th.

Being blessed with an ideal weather, the tourists I attended on enjoyed and looked very happy with the beautiful scenery of the areas.

Ningle Terrace in Furano

Ningle is the name of the dwarf that is believed by Ainu people to exist in the forests in Hokkaido.

15 log cabins in the forest are all shops selling various kinds of handicrafts.

Good Remedy for the Heat

It should be much cooler at this time of year, but hot summer in Hokkaido still continues.

When it is really hot and humid, eating watermelon is one of the best remedies to get rid of the heat for me.

The watermelon contains a lot of juice, and I think well-cooled watermelon is much effective than ice cream when it is very hot, and you are thirsty.

Hand-rolled Sushi

Sushi comes in various figures in Japan.

At the supermarkets and convenience stores, you can find sushi wrapped with plastic wrap called Temaki-zushi(hand-rolled sushi).

Sushi of this style is made to enjoy fresh crispy touch of ‘Nori’, dried laver. It is handy and quite reasonable for lunch or snack.

However, you need a little trick to complete the sushi successfully.
Sushi rice is supposed to be wrapped with Nori as it should be by following the instruction written on the wrap, but I almost always blow it.

The images are the process of making a hand-roll Sushi.

Tanabata Festival

August 7th is the day of Tanabata Festival in Hokkaido, whereas it is held on the 7th of July in most other areas of Japan.

Tanabata is the star festival originated from a Chinese legend about a couple,Vega and Altair, allowed to meet each other by crossing the Milky Way only once a year.

On the day of Tanabata, many houses, normally with children set up a decorated bamboo grass at the door wishing a happy reunion of Vega and Altair.

People also make a wish of their own by writing it on the strip of paper and tying it to the branches of bamboo grass.

Former Temiya Railway Line

There is a railway track that is not in use any more in Otaru. It is the Temiya line that used to be the main line linking Otaru and Sapporo.

It was in 1880 when the first railway in Hokkaido was laid between Temiya in Otaru and Sapporo. In those days, JR Minami Otaru Station was originally ‘Otaru Station’.

Later, when Hakodate line to link Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate was developed, present JR Otaru Station was placed as Otaru Central Station.

Corn on the Cob

One of Hokkaido's delicacies in this season is corn on the cob.

Boiled corn on the cob is sold at greengrocers and super markets usually until the end of September, and we eat corn as a snack in Hokkaido.

Corn stalls are a popular summer scene of Odori Park in Sapporo, and many tourists as well as the locals enjoy roasted corn on the cob in the park.

Corn on the cob is very simple, but very good summer taste of Hokkaido. Please try one if you have chance. You will find how sweet the fresh corn is!

A boiled corn on the cob is about 150-200 yen.

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