Thursday, March 10, 2011

week 24_Otaru, Japan

From our hotel in Sapporo we took a day trip to Otaru, Japan - a small seaside town. I'm pretty much a sucker for little seaside towns. Who doesn't love the quaint feeling, cozy little shops & restaurants, smell of the ocean on the breeze...?

Yep, I was there.
The primary activity in Otaru was a tour of a historic Japanese "mansion". I'm not sure if mansion is the best word, but it was a very large Japanese home built by a fishing millionaire years ago. The home has now been converted to a museum. It was impressive, especially considering the age of the home - and uniquely Japanese compared to a traditional Chinese home. You'll notice the rope and bamboo plant rigging in the photo below... I'm not exactly sure of the background, but this was a common sight among Japanese landscapes... in multiple different towns, and actually added some flair to the green & snowy backdrop.
Herring Mansion (Nishin Goten), Otaru, Japan
My favorite room - the entryway / reception hall.
Hand-painted ceiling tiles
Dining Room
the daughter's room
There was plenty of history explained on the tour, mostly in Chinese, but I did have a pretty informative English brochure and friendly coworkers to point out the highlights to me along the way. Mostly it was just interested to again see the distinct differences between Japanese and Taiwanese cultures. It is evident to me in design, dress, art... pretty much everything... that they are uniquely different from one another. After the tour we enjoyed a tasty sushi lunch...
This sushi is about as fresh as it gets.
Followed by tea/coffee at a small cafe where we were able to keep whichever cup we chose to drink out of as a little souvenir (as a matter of fact, other than a couple of pencils that I bought - and think are really fun - this was the only souvenir I ended up bringing back from the trip) I chose a simple cup with a Japanese woman painted on the side. On the back of the cup it says the name of the town...

Roadside vending machine, Road winding up a mountain...
Free-standing vending machines seemed to be pretty common on the island of Hokkaido. I'm not entirely sure where the plug is for this thing, but it was amusing to me that you could be driving up this mountain and just pull over real quick to grab a Coke :) After the mansion tour, we spent some free time exploring the town - mostly in the area closest to the water - there were all kinds of cute shops & restaurants begging for our attention, but my favorite part had little to do with any food or gifts...

I just really enjoyed the town itself. 

Canal, Otaru, Japan

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a great place to visit but I don't think I would choose winter. would love spring!