Shakotan to Otaru – Monday 3 June

A lovely evening at the Youth Hostel with a family from Sapporo a retired couple and their 21yo daughter all pharmacists. A chat in broken English and google translate filling in the gaps. A lovely family and we also shared breakfast.

A clear sunny day and short 50km ride into Otaru – the coastline stunning as we weaved along the coast between bays, villages and tunnels. 14 tunnels today – the longest 2.228m, collectively 12.278km.

We were stopped at a convenience store with people interested in our travels.

We met a NZ couple treking/walking nice to have a chat with them. A few hills but nothing serious always nice to see the view at the end.

Otaru – what a find – lovely town nestled in the bay surrounded by hills.

We first venture to the railway station for local information and sights. A great bakery is ideal for lunch. A fish market next to the station is busy selling all sorts of seafood – live crabs sitting in tubs by the many for sale and queues to dine at the restaurants.

A walk down by the port, a ship is docked. A small canal seems to attract the tourists, refurbished old warehouses are now eateries and we find the Otaru brewery, the brewer is of German decent and is the third generation. It has a german beer hall look. The town is very touristy as we go to the main shopping street, glass shops, cafes, restaurant all attract many tourists here today.

The town is known for glassworks, music boxes and sake distilleries.

We check into our hotel – the onsen and sauna is my go to. Dinner at the brewery with a nice beer, the canal has attracted the tourists this evening as they queue for canal boat rides. Tripods are set up along the few bridges to capture the reflections on the canal along with people posing with their mobile phones in hand. It’s a very still mild night, perfect for an evening stroll.

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