second day: the romantic otaru

5 july 2018

We woke up a bit late, and it's raining. The temperature was 11 degrees C. Feeling hesitant to get up because we still feel exhausted and it was cozy to be in bed, but we need to be ready for Otaru. It's already 10:00 am, we're not ready yet. And it's been raining since early morning, we were still contemplating whether we should go to Otaru today or we should go tomorrow. From the forecast, the weather will be sunny tomorrow and we really hope that we are able to take great photos in Otaru, and we are excited to take the canal cruise. We even checked live camera on Otaru online, apparently it's pouring and I'm sure we not gonna make the most out of it as per planned if the rain doesn't stop. We considered a change of plan of going to Shiroi Koibito Park today and to Otaru tomorrow. But came to think of it, Otaru is one hour journey away, we might not be able to spend enough time in Otaru to catch late evening train to Furano tomorrow. It's a bit difficult decision, see how the weather really affects your itinerary!

We mutually made a decision to just proceed to Otaru as planned, feeling hopeful the rain will stop. We continuously saying a prayer for the rain to stop as we started our journey.

The easiest way from Sapporo station to Otaru is by JR train; approximately 45 minutes. We arrived in Otaru around 1:00 pm. We walked through the rain (it's actually drizzling), everyone was holding an umbrella. And they had given us an awkward look for wearing a raincoat. Especially me wearing a polka-dot raincoat. Haha. It's an unusual sight to see local people wearing a raincoat. Why is it so?

Luckily, the rain has stopped just about 20 minutes we walked from the Otaru station. The power of believing in du'a. Alhamdulillah. So we shall never give up okay :)

We first entered the Otaru tourist center. They sell beautiful souvenirs and exhibits unique displays presenting Otaru in the past. Then we walked straight to the canal. It's really beautiful indeed, but I believe this tourist spot must be more stunning during winter or autumn. We sat back and enjoyed the sights on a relaxing canal cruise. The cruise took about 45 minutes for 1,500 yen. The cruise experience was good, they have English audio describing the history of the canal and nearby port. The old buildings around the canal still remain strong and rustically beautiful.

We have a mission to try halal food in Otaru. So we asked the tour guide to show us the halal restaurant, he did not understand the halal or Muslim definition. We tried to make him understand, showing the food guide from the flyers. He was still being clueless so we thought that we might just walk and try exploring by ourselves. Then, one Japanese guy approached us asking where we wanna go. Surprisingly he speaks Malay language in Indonesian accent. He has worked and lived in Indonesia for a few years. With his help, we found the restaurant named Donburi Chaya. *lucky!* It is a very nice restaurant, and most importantly they have the halal certificate and a prayer room too. The foods were so yummy, but a bit expensive. I spend almost RM 100 for my food. It's actually a mixed of seafood (king crab, prawn, salmon) with rice. Authentic and worth it!

What I like about Otaru are the ambiance and the buildings. There are rows of shop covered in ivy leaves. It's so beautiful and lively. You must bring home the Otaru-signature souvenirs like handmade decor made from glass and custom music box.They also produce Pandora-like glass beads, I bought one for myself.

In short, Otaru is a romantic city. I feel like coming again during winter.

Expenses day 2:

1. JR train to Otaru from Sapporo: 850 yen = RM32

2. Canal cruise: 1,500 yen = RM 55

3. Meals at Donburi Chaya: 2,500 yen = RM 92

4. Souvenirs = RM 110

5. JR train from Otaru to Sapporo: 640 yen = RM28

6. Coffee and Snacks from mart: 1,130 yen = RM 41

Cik Travelista

Shah Alam 40150, Malaysia