The first stop of my second time to Japan was Otaru. As usual, I was clueless about the town knowing that it will be fully taken care of my best friends and as usual, I am glad it was a nice surprise to “meet” the place.
Otaru is one of the most famous port town in Hokkaido. My first impression of it was its similarities with Busan especially the Otaru JR station neighborhood. But, unlike in Busan, we didn’t stay in the city center. Our inn was located right by the sea and it was just damn gorgeous.
The inn was located in a quiet corner in a peaceful neighborhood with only small number of houses. It was a picture perfect weekend getaway kinda place.
While Yin was engaged in a lengthy conversation with the inn manager, a fellow Shanghainese who migrated to Japan. I took some snaps of the inn. Meanwhile, Charles, bless his heart, carried our heavy luggage upstairs, one-by-one.
The room was my most favorite part of the place, even in Otaru overall. I fell in love with it the minute I walked into it. I am not into vintage stuff, but I am always drawn to old places with personalities. With flowers printed duvet cover, staircase to the attic and a painting of a ship on the wall, the inn room got plenty of it.
Also, the sea was just right beside the inn and we could hear the waves all day long which gave the calming effect. We went to sleep minutes after we hit the cover. I really wanted to hear the waves sound again, I downloaded a white noise app on my phone once I was back home. Unfortunately, it didn’t feel the same at all.
Imagine living here, would you live in Otaru? At least for some time? Me? I would love that. Just me with the waves and abundant supplies of fresh air and sunshine. Also, the inn has a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the sea on the first floor. PERFECT.
In the evening, we went to Otaru-shi, the summer festival in the neighborhood. There were food stalls selling all sorts of yummy looking snacks, Kawaii looking teenagers in a group and kids running around in their cute yukatas. So much happiness wrapped in one festival.
And look at this sunset you guys! It evokes feelings worth hundreds of blessing hashtags.
Oh, speaking of the sun and stuff. It gets bright here by 4AM. Whoaa.. That was surprisingly exciting for me. I got to live the reason behind Japan’s title as the land of the rising sun.
We went to the town at night looking for food and we were not disappointed at all. Otaru has plenty of restaurants for a small town, though some were already closed as we reached there pretty late.
Now, this was my second favorite thing about Otaru. We had a meal in a Japanese-Korean restaurant. We had the most succulent and juicy slices of beef, which melted in our mouth. To say it was delicious would be an understatement. We suspected these were the famous Wagyu beef, but were too drunk, with sake, to remember to check it with the waiters later.
This canal was the most famous thing in Otaru. Tourists who spoke different languages were taking picture of it. I didn’t find that fascinating, though. Maybe I am missing a historical part of it.
If you do know something about Otaru canal, do share it with me.
We only stayed for one night in Otaru. The day after we went to Furano, which was also an amazing town. I will share more about it sometime soon. For now, let me end this post by saying I recommend Otaru for a weekend getaway, especially if you are a local. For my fellow travelers, Otaru could be a great place to finalize your book, hide from IRAS, or even for when you seek a momentary silence from the world. Even if it’s just for a night.
This is a picture I saw in the Booking.com of Geihinkan Otaru inn. It looked amazing covered in snow, don’t you agree? Otaru stay had been remarkable during summer, maybe I should visit it again when it is snowing. That would be a good enough excuse to book another trip to Japan during winter.