Otaru is one of my favourite cities in Hokkaido. There are many reasons I love Otaru. The Otaru Snow Light Path in winter. Some of my favourite confectionery at Kitakaro and Le Tao. The weird-flavoured ice-cream from Kita No Ice. Fresh seafood caught off the coast of this seaside city. But I have always hung around the city centre, where Otaru Canal and Sakaimachi were.
It wasn’t until my 5th (I think) visit that I decided to venture out of the city centre. I asked my friend who lives in Otaru to recommend us the BEST place to eat in the area. He named me two restaurants: Shokudou Misaki at Shakotan Peninsular and Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou at Shukutsu Peninsular. Between the two, Shukutsu Peninsular was much nearer to Otaru.
When we arrived, we headed straight for Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou for breakfast.
Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou is best known for their Nishin fish, which you would find being grilled on the open grill at the entrance of the restaurant.
You can choose to order Nishin raw (sashimi) or grilled. Either ways, they tasted amazing!
Another fish that we like to order when we are in Hokkaido is the Hakkaku fish. Our first encounter with the Hakkaku fish was at a restaurant called Torimatsu in Kutchan (near Niseko). When we ordered the Hakkaku there, everyone loved it so much! So when we were at Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou, we ordered the Hakkaku fish, both grilled and sashimi, to try.
Personally I preferred Hakkaku grilled. I was not that big a fan of the sashimi. Though I think the way it was served was pretty picture-worthy so yeah, you can order one for the photo op.. Haha!
The grilled Hakkaku served at Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou had a special sauce drizzled on top. And I found myself preferring the Hakkaku at Torimatsu which did not have the sauce. Because the sauce kind of masked the taste of the fish. I think I would stick to the Nishin fish when I’m here again.
After a very sumptuous breakfast, we decided to go for a walk to digest our food. So we climbed up to where the Herring Mansion was.
When we were there in June, there were some small wildflowers along the way, but nothing to really shout about. If wild flowers are your thing, you would probably enjoy the walk at Cape Kamui at Shakotan more. But that’s another 2 hours drive away.
As we approached the Herring Mansion, we passed through a little Torii gate, a reminder that we were in Japan after all.
There was a mini shrine which is pretty sacred to the locals, so don’t touch it. The kids leaned against it and got scolded. *oops* So remember not to touch any shrines while in Japan and make sure the kids don’t touch them too!
You can go inside the Herring mansion for an admission fee of 300 yen. After getting scolded for touching the shrine, I didn’t think bringing the kids into the mansion would be a great idea. If you want to know more about the Herring mansion, you can read more on TripAdvisor and Japan-Guide.com.
We just hung around the cape to enjoy the scenery.
And further up the cape, we could see a lighthouse.
We enjoyed this little side-trip from Otaru for a change, and I especially recommend coming here to dine at Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou. At Shukutsu Peninsular, you will also find Otaru Aquarium. If you have extra time while in Otaru, you can pop by to let the kids have some fun. I have never visited as I usually prefer spending my time cafe-hopping along Sakaimachi. So… too bad for my kids!
Information on Minshuku Aotsuka Shokudou:
Address: 〒047-0047 小樽市祝津３丁目２１０番地
Map Code: 493 842 096
Opening Hours: 1000 – 2000 (Last Order at 1900)
Read more reviews on: TripAdvisor
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Get off the beaten track in Japan
This post is part of my ‘Japan Off-the-Beaten Track‘ series, where I feature some of my favourite spots in Japan that are less commonly visited by tourists!
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