We woke up the next morning on the early side because the trip we were on included a side trip to the nearby town of Otaru. The hotel included breakfast, so of course we took advantage of the lovely meal they had for hotel guests. Since this is a Japanese hotel with guests of all nationalities, the breakfast included a full American and a full Japanese breakfast. Good thing it was served in a banquet hall so that everything could fit!
Lots of breads
This is the part I skipped of course.
Japanese breakfast foods
Here is what I grabbed on my plate at first before scoping out the cereal table. Lots of eggs, some pineapple, a roll and kabocha.
I also tried this rice, which was served a little like a hot breakfast cereal.
Then I went back and grabbed a few more foods to try out. I know I didn't help the perception of Americans by grabbing lots of foods at the buffet and then only eating a little of each (we are often seen as wasters of food because Americans tend to grab lots of food and then not eat all of it, as explained to me by a Japanese person that I know).
I knew that I didn't need to eat anything else, but I was fascinated by the buffet offerings. Here is some tofu. This is very popular with the Japanese.
Then they brought out some more eggs. They had so many varieties of eggs. It was nice to see this because usually it is just hard boiled or scrambled.
I loved watching what the Japanese were eating for breakfast. I can see why they have one of the longest life expectancy (I believe they are still ranked at the top, but I haven't checked in a few months). One elderly Japanese man near us had the healthiest breakfast I have ever seen someone eat. He had miso soup, a salad, salmon, rice, some fruit, an egg and I believe some kabocha.
Then we boarded the bus for the 30 or so minute ride to Otaru. Otaru is known for its' glass work (some very nice etched glass pieces) and they have a music box museum there, as well as canals, which Ryan and I did not get a chance to look at.
As I mentioned before Hokkaido is known for its' dairy, so there was lots of ice cream around here. Check out all these crazy flavors.
We walked around and looked at the fresh seafood. Otaru is on the water.
The sun was out but it was just starting to snow. It was really pretty in Otaru, and the city itself was really cute.
They even had some snow sculptures here too. Can you spot Ryan trying to hide behind those penguins?
This was taken in the main area of the town.
The bell was actually ringing and it took us a second to figure out where it was coming from.
Lots of funny snowmen around here.
This was inside the music box museum.
Then we headed back to give the ice cream a try. We thought about the 6 layer cone, but instead went with 3 layers.
I had chocolate, banana and strawberry. Ryan got the same. I liked the strawberry and banana, but the chocolate was too bitter for me.
Then we walked along the back side of the street, looking in the shops, as we made our way back to the bus.
Once back to the bus, the tour guide (from the base) surprised us and told us they were taking us to Shiroi Koibito Park, which is the chocolate factory in Sapporo. This was on the list of things we wanted to see, and I don't think we really would have found it (or wanted to take a cab there) if they didn't take us there, so we were really happy they added this in to our trip.
They outside was really cute. It was like walking up to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
How funny is this display?!?
There were so many fun displays outside.
Once inside we started out tour of the factory, complete with a sample of their speciality cookie. Right inside was a room with a fountain and painted ceiling.
This was talking about the process of making chocolate.
Here is the factory. Yes, those are real workers assembling the cookies. These cookies are made from 2 cookie pieces with a chocolate piece layered in the middle.
This was in the cafe. Lots of yummy desserts.
They even had some fondue.
This reminded me of It's a Small World.
The last part of the museum before the gift shop was this display of gramophones.
Oh, and there were some other weird looking displays too.
This is decorated like a traditional Japanese home.
The beautiful scenery right outside the museum.
After the museum the bus took us back to downtown Sapporo and the area with the snow sculptures. This post is already long enough with many great pictures, so I will save the rest of this day for my next post. Hope my outside snow pictures aren't making you too cold.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever visited a chocolate factory? What is your favorite kind of chocolate? Is it snowing where you live?