Countdown events for New Year

There are some great opportunities for the countdown party to New year in Otaru.

I'll introduce you them today.

With delicious local beer!

【Countdown 2012】

Time: 2011/Dec.31. 8pm ~ 2012/Jan.1. 5pm

Place: Otaru-soko No.1 (Otaru's local beer brewery)

Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Otaru station.

★This brewery is located along the Otaru canal, which has good restaurant with stage for concerts too. Dance and music shows will be held from 8pm. They sell advance eat & drink ticket for 2,000yen. (Face value is 2,500yen)

Website: http://otarubeer.com/jp/

With delicious Japanese sake!

【Tanaka Sake brewery "Yuku sake Kuru sake 2012"】

Time: 2011/Dec.31. 11pm ~ 2012/Jan.1. 2am

Place: Tanaka Sake brewery Kikkogura branch

Access: 40 minutes walk from JR Otaru station. 15 minutes walk from Minami Otaru station.

There is no bus around this time.

Taxi...from Otaru station, 10minutes.

from Minami Otaru station, 5minutes.

★They offer first Japanese sake of the year. You can enjoy "Herring soba (noodle)", rice cake and so on.

Website: http://www.tanakashuzo.com/

See the first sunrise of the year!

【Mt.Tengu Rope way】

Time: Run from 2012/Jan.1. 6:30am

Place: Mountaintop of Mt. Tengu

Access: Special bus runs for the first sunrise from Chuo-bus Otaru station terminal. It takes about 20minutes to the base of Mt. Tengu.

Bus Timetable... 6:30, 6:36, 6:42, 6:48, 6:54, 7:00, 7:06, 7:12, 7:18, 7:24, 7:30, 7:36, 7:42, 7:48, 7:54, 8:00, 8:12, 8:24, 8:36, 8:48

★They provide free hot soup with rice cake from 7am, limited for 100 visitors.

Website: http://www.cks.chuo-bus.co.jp/tenguyama/

Otaru is quite cold place but would you like to enjoy a great new year in Otaru?

Thank you for your reading my blog this year.

I will do my best more for this blog next year.

I wish you a bright and successful New Year :)


The 14th Otaru Snow Light Path

In the coldest time of the year, a romantic event is held every year in Otaru.

The name of the event is...

"Otaru Snow Light Path"


We don't have details of this event yet, but surely Otaru becomes romantic during this term, because lots of candles are put everywhere in our town, on the surface of Otaru canal too.

Date...2012/Feb.2 (Fri) ~ 12 (Sun)

Time...5pm ~ 9pm

Website... http://www.yukiakarinomichi.org/

Would you like postcards of this event??

These postcards can be purchased at Canal Plaza and

Asakusa bridge tourist information :)


Business hours for New Years' Days

Hi, how are you?

We finished an our long event "Otaru Long Xmas" 2 days ago.

One of our tourist information "Canal Plaza" looks like a little bit quiet now.

Thank you for so many visitors coming to Canal Plaza.

There are only 4 days left in 2011.

We have been receiving inquiries these days about business hours for new years' days.

Tourist information centers

Dec 31...9am~3pm

Jan 1...Close

Sushi restaurants

Almost all sushi restaurants close on Dec 31 and Jan 1, and open from Jan 2.

Sweets shops

Almost all sweets shops open without holiday.

Fish markets

Only "Sankaku market"(三角市場) opens every day.

Almost other markets close on Jan 1~4.

(Rinyu morning market 鱗友朝市) is closed until Jan 1o)

Shops on Sakaimachi street

Open every day without holiday.

(Glass shops, music box shops, and other souvenir shops, etc)

Ski Resorts

Open every day without holiday.

Other Facilities

Otaru Aquarium...close on Dec 29 ~ Jan 1

Otaru Museum...close on Dec 29 ~ Jan 3

Otaru city museum of art...close on Dec 29 ~ Jan 3

◆Former Otaru branch of Nihon Yusen Co...close on Dec 29 ~ Jan 3

◆Museum of Bank...close on Dec 31 ~ Jan 5


Website for Free Direct Bus service!

Hello, how are ya :)

I introduced about free direct bus service before, and this is a website for reservation and details⇊


We are looking forward to seeing you in Otaru!!


Skiing and Hot spring...Great!!

I will introduce one of ski resorts in Otaru today.

There are three ski resorts in Otaru, and one of them "Asari Ski Area" offers many convenient and special pricing plans for visitors.

Actually, this ski area is located in the center of Onsen (Hot spring) area.

They has lots of courses which are named in color names, like "Purple course", "Green course", "Red course" and so on. That's easy to find out on the ski resort map :)

In addition, there are other facilities, such as "Kids park", "Cross country skiing course", "Snow park", etc.

"Kids park" was set up for children, as its name suggests, to enjoy sledding and playing in the snow.

"Snow park" was opened from this season. There are some special slopes.

Fare details and Special courses

1 day lift ticket...Adult 2,500yen, 13~18yrs 2,200yen, over 55yrs 2,200yen, Children 1,400yen

◆Special courses

1. Lunch course (includes lunch and 1day lift ticket)...Adult 2,900yen, Children 1,800yen

2. Empty handed course (includes rent ski tools, ski suit, groves, knit head wear, 1day lift ticket and lunch)...Adult (only) 8,000yen

3. Rental course (includes ski or snowboard tools, 1day lift ticket)...Adult 4,800yen, Children 3,400yen

4. Onsen (Hot spring) course (includes charge for day trip bathing and 1day lift ticket)...Adult 2,750yen, Children 1,650yen

and more, there are some unique courses and ski lessons.


From JR Otaru station...

30 minutes by bus from Chuo-bus Otaru station terminal, bus# 13, Gate# 2, Fare 310yen, please get off at "Kanpo no yado"(かんぽの宿).

Bus from Sapporo (needs booking)...

【Period】 Dec.10~Mar.20 (only on Sat, Sun, Holidays) (※Everyday from Dec.23 to Jan.16)

【Fare】 OW 800yen (Child 400yen)

【Booking】 Reservation is required by making a phone call by the day before, 3:30pm.

Tel... +81 134 54 0101 (Asarigawaonsen Ski Area)

I hope you enjoy beautiful snow and hot spring in Otaru!!


Free direct bus service!

This is a great information for visitors to Otaru!!

From 21st of December, free direct bus will run 2 times a day, 5 days every week, from New Chitose Airport to some hotels in Otaru.

This bus needs to be reserved by 4 days before your staying, but really convenient.

You don't need to worry about access right after your arrival at the airport.

How to make a booking

①Download a application form from the web site of Otaru Tourism Association.

②Fill in the form.

③Fax it to your staying hotel.

④Get a fax back as a confirmation.

⑤That's all!!

Details of Direct bus

Operated term

2011/Dec.21 ~ 2012/Feb.29


Dep. 14:30 (Wed, Thu, Fri, Sta, Sun) limited to 90 people.

17:00 (Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun) limited to 45 people.

This bus is limited to guests who stay at these hotels...

Authent Hotel Otaru URL http://www.authent.co.jp/

Grand Park Otaru URL http://www.parkhotelgroup.com/otaru/

Hotel Sonia URL http://www.hotelsonia.co.jp/

Hotel Nord Otaru URL http://www.hotelnord.co.jp/

Asarigawaonsen Korakuen URL http://www.otaru-korakuen.com/

Otaru Asari Classe Hotel URL http://www.classe-hotel.com/

Winkel URL http://www.winkel.co.jp/

Kuramure URL http://www.kuramure.com/

The URL of this reservation form will be appeared on the web site of Otaru Tourism Association ( http://www.otaru.gr.jp/ ) soon !! :)


Do you know "Stamp Rally Game"??

Have you ever heard "Stamp rally game"?

We call this game just "Stamp rally".

I don't know why but, often this kind of stamp rally game is held in Otaru.

For example, in our holding event, "Otaru Long Xmas" has "Romantic Stamp Rally".

Lots of shops, restaurants, hotels etc join this game.

If you use these facilities, each staff will stamp on your stamp form. If you collect 5 stamps, you'll be able to try the lot at Canal Plaza.

You might get special gift!

I made English leaflet and map for this game.

When you come to Otaru, please feel free to visit tourist information center and ask about these leaflets.


Xmas limited menu!

I introduced before but, now we're having a event named "Otaru Long Xmas".

During this event, we can enjoy special limited menu at some sushi restaurants.

I went to "Fuji-sushi restaurant" on Sakaimachi street with my coworkers.

We ordered...

It's saying "Xmas roll 950yen"

We really enjoyed it and other Japanese food.

This Xmas sushi roll is crab, tuna, squid and salmon are rolled with rice and egg like a crepe.

Salmon roe is on the top of them.

Looks yummy, isn't it??

Would you like to try them in Otaru????:)


After snowfall...

Snowy days recently in Otaru.

One of our important works is...

removing the snow from the floating glass tree.

(He is our staff, Mr. Miura.)

He removes the snow using a special tool.

(It is normal broom just tied with a pole :))

Usually he seems to do it around 2pm.

He said "After the heavy snow, I clear the snow around this tree as well!"

He's funny :)

When you come to Otaru, please make sure it and if you'd like to try removing the snow, he might show you how to do it

Floating Glass Ball Tree

Hello, how are ya?

Now, we have a special event, "Otaru Long Xmas" until Christmas day. (too long ? :-P)

During this event every night, a beautiful glass tree is turned on (4pm-12pm) in front of Canal Plaza.

It was made from about 300 floating glass balls.

Actually, these glass balls are used for the another event, named "Otaru Snow Light Path".

Do you know how they are used?

We put candles into the glass balls and float them on the surface of canal.

These glass balls are really loved by many people.

Have fun this pretty glass ball tree!!


First Snowfall

The first snow of this season came last night.

When I walked from JR Otaru station to our company, I saw beautiful rail way with snow this morning.

Otaru will be in romantic Christmas atmosphere gradually.


Romantic Event from Tomorrow!!

Special winter event "OTARU LONG XMAS" is held. (Nov.11th~Dec.25th)

This event has many kinds of plans.

I will introduce the details of them today.

Message Tree

-Nov.11th~Dec.25th @ Canal Plaza & Mt.Tengu-

A huge Christmas tree, 4 meters in height, is placed in Canal Plaza & Mt.Tengu.

We sell small Christmas tree for 500 yen.

After your wiring on message card, hang it on the small Christmas tree and put on the huge

Christmas tree.

You might get your wish.

Glass Arts Exhibition

-Nov.11th~Dec.25th @ Canal Plaza-

Ten Otaru's local glass studios exhibit their beautiful glass works.

Floating Glass Tree

-Nov.11th~Dec.25th @ Canal Plaza-

About 300 floating glasses become a huge tree!

I will post the picture of the tree later on.

Please have a look it!

The 3rd Sakaimachi Street Cream Puff Fair

-Dec.3rd~11th @ Sakaimachi Street-

Four cake shops on Sakaimachi street (Amato canal branch, Gin no Kane and LeTAO) provide special cream puff during this term.

Romantic Stamp Rally(Game of collecting stamps)


Let's collect stamps at each shops, restaurants, hotels and so on in Otaru, and get wonderful presents!

The 1st Sakaimachi Street Sushi Roll Fair


Five sushi restaurants (Otaru Tatsumizushi Hanazono branch & Sakaimachi branch, Fujizushi Otaru branch, Kitanoryoba Otaru canal branch and Sushi Saikou) provide special sushi roll menus.

Others, lots of facilities in Otaru provide unique and limited original menus during this event. I'm going to post them little by little frequently.

Please don't miss them!!:)


Go for it! (Otaru Long X'mas)

Lots of leaflets started out from Otaru to across Hokkaido today! The leaflet is ... ↓↓ The winter event named "Otaru Long Christmas" is held on November 11 to December 25 in Otaru. Otaru city will be pretty romantic during this event. I hope these leaflets do public relations for this event very well :) Gor for it!! I'll post about the details of this event later...C ya!


...how heavy it is!

He is holding a unique ornament, looks soooo heavy! However, actually...!!?? It is really light enough for us to carry by one finger :) These ornaments are made from woods and we can see them at Hotel VIBRANT OTARU. This hotel stands on "Northern Wall Street", built in 1923. This building was used as a bank in the old days and designated as one of Otaru's historic buildings in 1991. It received "Otaru Townscape Award" in 1996 as well. Otaru's historic buildings have purple explanation boards in front of themselves like this. Would you like to feel old atmosphere at Northern Wall Street??


Otaru Townscape Award (Otaru Summer Festival)

Hello, how are you? Yesterday, one of my Otaru friends told me that there is a beautiful monument near tourist information center in Asakusa bridge. He said, "That monument shines iridencently! You don't know?". I couldn't believe him first, but I went to the place he told me immediately. I found it! Surely there was a unique form monument having a shining part. It's located only 3 minutes walk from our tourist information, in front of Hotel VIBRANT OTARU. The thing is ...↓ I asked Ms.Takato (Tourist information staff) about the detail. Otaru city confers "Otaru Townscape Award" on scenic points, buildings and so on. This monument is one of them, "Otaru Summer Festival" received it in 1990. Lots of facilities received this award have memorial green plate same as above picture. When you stroll in Otaru city, it might be interesting to look for these plates with your strolling:)


Rowan Berry

Hello, how are ya :) I introduced abour "Rowan tree" before, and we can see quite red rowanberry these days. In winter, little birds eat them.


Moutain climbing @ Shioya Maruyama(塩谷丸山)

Hello, how are you? Fine days recently in Otaru. I enjoyed mountain climbing with Ms.Yoshida and Ms.Kasahara. The place is ... "Shioya Maruyama"(塩谷丸山). This mountain course is for beginners and easy to go to the entrance of it. We went there by cay but JR train is also convenience. The closest JR train station is "Shioya(塩谷)" station. It takes about 10 minutes by JR train from JR "Otaru" station. Wow! I found a Japanese grass lizard at JR Shioya station. He was just 10cm in length, so cute :) After getting off the train, there're some signboards to the entrance. Please don't forget to fill in climbing book for climbers before going. Cast-off skin of Cicada The view from the mountaintop. The mountaintop > We really enjoyed nature of Otaru. It took about 90 minutes to the mountaintop. Each three tourist information center has this course map. We're waiting for you in Otaru!! :)


Musical day in Otaru

Hello, how are you? I'll introduce beautiful day in Otaru. A musical event will be held on Oct 19th, named "Onza nama live Otaru"(音座なまらいぶ小樽). On this day, 15 facilities (cafe, bar, restaurants etc) will become clubs with live music. One of them is "Canal Plaza"!!95 bands 345 musicians will join this event and starts at 2pm. You don't need to pay any admission fee but most of these facilities are usually restaurants, so they'll be glad for your order. Three tourist information centers have special leaflets with special map for the event. Feel free to ask tourist information staff :) And good news! If you look around every 15 stages and collect stamps, you'll get free Otaru local beer at Otaru beer warehouse No.1!!! Please enjoy mini concert with drinking in Otaru. Have fun!!! More information...http://onzanamalive.web.fc2.com/


That's a Salmon!!

I was surprised yesterday. One of our staffs told me that salmons are going up the Otaru Canal. In autumn, we can see salmons at many rivers in Hokkaido however, it was my first time to see salmons at Otaru Canal. I could see a few salmons from the Asakusa bridge. I took this picture but umm...sorry, can't see well...


Autumnal tree "Nanakamado" (Rowan tree)

Hello, how are you?? Otaru became gradually cold. I'll introduce a tree which becomes beautiful in autumn. Have you ever seen this tree? We call it "Nanakamado"(ナナカマド) in Japanese and English name is "Rowan tree". "Nana" means "Seven" and "Kamado" means "Oven" in Japanese. The origin of this name is that this tree doesn't burn even if you put it into the oven seven times. That is how much "Rowan tree" is strong. In autumn, rowanberry turns red. I'll show you after changing the color again :)


Otaru Rakan no Tera (Luohan's temple)

After "Shusenkan"(酒泉館), we visited "Souenji"(宗圓寺) temple. It's located on the hill, we enjoyed the view first and saw a cute image on the stairs. Soenji temple has beautiful garden around itself. This temple is called "Rakan no tera"(らかんの寺) (means Luohan's temple. "Luohan" is a kind of saint in Buddha.) You can see 500 statues of "Luohan" here. It's not allowed to take pictures in this temple so, this is a leaflet. This temple was completed about 400 years ago in Hakodate and about 100 years ago, it's moved to Otaru. In addition, it's registered as a tangle cultural asset of Hokkaido. It might be complicated to pay homage at Japanese temple for tourists from foreign countries. So, I'll let you know how to do it. 1. Bow your head to the main temple 2. Bow your head in front of the offertory box 3. Throw some coins into the offertory box 4. Press your hand together and pray 5. Bow your head in front of the offertory box again 6. Bow your head to the main temple again. We felt that we got marvelous power :) Would you like to feel it?? Souenji Temple (宗圓寺) Address: 1-19-10, Shiomidai, Otaru City, Hokkaido Tel: +81 134 22 7772 Access: Take a bus from Chuo-bus terminal Otaru station terminal. Bus# 2,6,30 and get off at "Ryukotujimae"(龍徳寺前) and then 15 minutes walk.


Day trip bathing in Shukutsu

One of my recommended spots for scenery in Otaru is "Shukutsu"(祝津) area. This area has amazing sea view. I visited there to have lunch and take a bath as a aday trip. We arrived at "Hotel Neuscholoss Otaru". It took about 20 minutes by car from JR Otaru station. We enjoyed beautiful sea view from parking area. "Hotel Neusholoss Otaru" has many kinds of lunch menus and you can enjoy them with lovely scenery. If you order a meal which is over 1,000 yen, you'll be able to take hot spring at 400 yen for half price. Or, If you order over 2,500yen's menu, you can enjoy hot spring for free. I enjoyed cream pasta with smoked salmon. With great pleasure, you're be able to refill of bread and salad as many times you want. ↑Sea view from the restaurant in Hotel Neuscholoss. We really enjoyed hot spring too because of this view. Hotel Neuscholoss Otaru Address: 282, Shukutsu 3 chome, Otaru City, Hokkaido Tel: +81 134 22 9111 Web site: http://www.neuschloss.com Access: By bus...bus# 10 or 11, get off at "Otaru Aquarium"(おたる水族館) and 15 minutes walk from the bus stop. By taxi...About 20 minutes