Otaru (小樽) is a port city in Hokkaido, Japan and is a particular interest for tourists. The city serves like a small resort community for those living in Sapporo (the main city in Hokkaido). Although the city is small, it offers a lot for tourists such as extremely fresh sushi, shopping arcades and bazaars, and the historical architecture.
I visited the city during my week long vacation in Hokkaido. It is relatively close (about 45mins by train) to Sapporo, where I based out. One particular place I found interesting during my day trip there was the music box museum. They displayed a wide collection of music boxes from different cultures and time periods. The museum also served as a store that lets visitors make their own box. Starting from the wood of the box, to the music and to the accessories that adorn the box, people can make their own music box to their own liking. I would have loved to have make my own box if I had the time, disposable income, and space for it.
Otaru was also particularly beautiful during during the winter festival (雪祭り). During this time, the entire canal region is lined with small snow sculptures, and is lit with hundreds of candles. For the duration of the festival dozens of volunteers light up and maintain the candles each night. The combination of the old architecture, and the candle light glow, gave Otaru a very nice and warm atmosphere. Otaru was definitely worth the day trip from Sapporo.
MUSIC BOX SHOP – Dozen of visitors shop for various accessories for their custom music box in the Music Box Museum.
SNOWSTORM – A lamp post by the canal is covered in snow after the city is hit with a large snowstorm.
FIERY STAR – An inception of stars sculpted in snow.
OTARU CANAL – Flowing candles are placed in the canal only during the festival to add to the ambiance. This area is the most commonly photographed in Otaru.
SNOW TOWER – Intricate snow sculptures are made along the canal and lit with numerous tea candles.
SNOW TUNNEL – Visitors walk through a tunnel carved through a mound of snow