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7 Days Flower World of Hokkaido

#41 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:30 PM

Toyohira River - The part with the brick-like structures on the riverbed is to slow down the water flow so the weaker salmons may have a chance to reach the upper river. Once the fishes entered the rivers, there will be no fishing else you risk a heavy fine. This is done to protect the pregnant fishes from being overfished before they have a chance to spawn. Those still in the sea were offered no such protection though.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0157-ToyohiraRiver.jpg

As the salmons swim toward the river mouths, their body underwent changes to prepare them for the freshwater. Parasites also started multiplying as they are no longer inhibited by the denser salt water which suppressed their growth. During stage, they are no longer suitable for eating raw, that mean no sashimi! Also the Pacific salmons die after spawning because they have exhausted all of their energy plus they do not eat while swimming upstream.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0158-ToyohiraRiver.jpg

Enough of the fishy tales, time for the land of music boxes, live seafood and that famous canal. Yes, Otaru is our next destination.

Otaru (小樽) is a small harbour city facing Ishikari Bay, about half an hour northwest of Sapporo by train. Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo. Many old warehouses and former office buildings by shipping and trade companies give Otaru's city center a special character reminiscent of past decades. Now glassworks shops, cafes, restaurants and shopping malls along the canal occupied these stone-built or brick-built warehouses.


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#42 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:10 PM

Right next to the bus park was this Seafood Shop selling live and chilled seafood, Yubari melons and other local produces. Cooked Chilled Crabs waiting for the customers to feast on the spot or bring them home. These three kinds of crab were the most commonly available species in Otaru.

  • Tarabagani (Red King Crab) 鳕场蟹 or 帝王蟹
  • Matsubagani or Zuwaigani (Queen or Snow Crab) 松叶蟹
  • Kegani (Horsehair Crab) 毛蟹


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0161-Otaru.jpg

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Live King Crabs (Tarabagani) in a pond and they are big in every ways including the prices.

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Live Hokkaido Scallops by the kilogram and it cost only ¥2950 (S$36.90) for 3kg. But the sight of those wiggling worms send chills down my spine.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0163-Otaru.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 02 August 2013 - 09:08 PM

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#43 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:10 PM

We took a shortcut through the Kitaichi Venetian Art Museum which displayed a variety of intricately crafted glassware including this glass Toucan Totem Pole. One had to be very careful especially with our bags as we proceeded with caution through this glass jungle as it’s Once Broken, Considered Sold.

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The Street of Otaru was still not crowded yet as at 9.30am. It’s also very clean, no littering at all even though there was hardly a rubbish bin in sight. Why is it that they can maintain such cleanliness while we are struggling to keep Singapore clean from littering? Is it because our very own people just do not care about the environment or we have imported too many foreign talents that simply ignored the no littering law?

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0167-Otaru.jpg

Breakfast was just 3 hours ago but I am already drooling at the sight of the seafood bowls from Kaisen-donya Otaru Poseidon.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0168-Otaru.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 07 August 2014 - 05:04 PM

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#44 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:15 PM

You can’t miss LeTAO, its bright green shop front with large wordings of the shop name and various ground standing advertising signboards draws one to it. It specialised in cakes and sweets especially the famous double layer cheesecake.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0169-Otaru.jpg

LeTAO Plus
5-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru City,
Hokkaido, 047-0027.
Tel: 0134-31-6800
Shop Hours: 9am - 6pm

Here Frankie was telling us the Fromage Double, a double layered cheesecake with baked cream cheese and no-bake mascarpone was very good. According to their website, this cake has been sold since Le TAO opened, earning good praises from tourists and local residents. It has since becomes one of the representative sweets of Hokkaido.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0170-Otaru.jpg

Le Chocolat – Another shop by LeTAO selling all things chocolate. An ever smiling staff standing at the doorstep holding a tray of the chocolate, usually the bestselling item for those passing by to try.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0171-Otaru.jpg

LeTAO Le Chocolat
4-19 Sakaimachi, Otaru City,
Hokkaido, 047-0027.
Tel: 0134-31-4511
Shop Hours: 9am - 6pm

A Standalone Shop next to the carpark selling snacks and BBQ items.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0172-Otaru.jpg
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#45 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 02:36 PM

On our way to the Otaru Music Box Museum, we passed by Rokkatei (六花亭) which is famous for their chocolates and sweets. We will skip this place first and comes back later.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0173-Rokkatei.jpg

Rokkatei (六花亭)
7-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido
Shop Hours: 9am - 6pm

A large signboard outside Rokkatei, advertising their Cream Puff at ¥80 (S$1) with free hot coffee thrown in. Actually, the coffee is free with any purchase.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0174-Rokkatei.jpg

Kitakaro (北果楼) is right next to Rokkatei and they are well-known for their Baumkuchen layered cake and pastries.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0175-Kitakaro.jpg

Kitakaro (北果楼)
7-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido
Shop Hours: 9am - 6.30pm
Tel: (0134)31-3464

A young man handling out the Royale Montagne at LeTAO for sampling and they were not stingy with the chocolate samples, giving out whole pieces. Even if you did not intent to buy, he is still all smile.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0178-Otaru.jpg

This post has been edited by Kingfisher: 01 July 2013 - 08:21 PM

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#46 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 06:00 PM

The Street of Otaru was still pretty quiet till now. The overhead cables carrying electricity to the various buildings were kind of distracting to the overall picture.

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The 常夜灯 against the backdrop of the Otaru Music Box Museum.


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#47 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 10:00 PM

No sooner had I said about the quietness of the street, a horde of Taiwanese tourists descended onto Otaru. Ahhh! I sighed when these people kept blocking my camera view. Even when they saw me holding my camera, standing patiently, waiting to get a shot, they still do not budge or they just cut into my angle of view when I am about to take a shot. :ranting2:/>

The tall Clock Tower you see in the background is the Main Shop of LeTAO which is located in Marchen Square surrounded by trees. The café is popular with both tourists and local residents alike, as you enjoy the cake and sip the coffee idly. The consisted of 3 levels:

  • 1st Floor Sweets Shop - More than 50 kinds of cakes and sweets are freshly made each day including a limited product which is served in the main store of LeTAO only. And you can see pastry chefs making cakes with tender loving care from the open kitchen.
  • 2nd Floor Café – After purchasing your cakes and drinks, move up to the café which can sit about a 100 people. They also hold a cake buffet once a month but a reservation in advance is required.
  • 3rd Floor Observatory – Take the elevator then go up a flight of stairs to the observatory that is decorated with lighthouse motifs. From this new tourist attraction, you can see the landscapes of Sakaimachi, houses, streets of Otaru and Otaru canal.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0181-Otaru.jpg

LeTAO (Main Shop)
7-16 Sakaimachi, Otaru City, Hokkaido, 047-0027
Tel: 0134-31-4500
(Toll-free: 0120-46-8825)
Shop Hours: 10am - 6pm (No entry after 5.30pm)

The Otaru Music Box Museum (Main) building was built in 1912. While many of the buildings in Otaru are made of stone, this building took a different route, utilizing brick construction tied to an internal wooden frame. Characteristic features of the building include its brown brick walls, the arched window keystone and cornerstones with openings and corners. The building was once occupied by a home furnishing store and has presently been reborn as a specialty music box retailer.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0182-OtaruMusicBoxMuseum.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0184-OtaruMusicBoxMuseum.jpg

This Steam Clock was made by Canadian clock maker Raymond Sounders in the same fashion as the clock built in 1977 in Vancouver’s “Gas Town”. Made of bronze, it is 5.5m in height, 1m in width and weight 1.5 tons. The clock itself is electrically operated, and a computer controls the steam-producing boiler. The clock chimes on the hour and the steam chimes play a five-tone melody every 15 minutes.


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#48 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 11:30 PM

Lets get off the street and into the Otaru Music Box Museum. The music box was first introduced to Japan by a Dutch trader in 1852. At that time the music box was referred to as "Orugeru" from the Dutch, meaning Organ. Over time the pronunciation changed to "Orgel".

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Otaru Music Box Museum (Main Building)
4 - 1 Sumiyoshi-cho, Otaru
Tel: 0134-22-1108
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm (7pm on Fri, Sat and PH Eve in Summer only)

Information Board displaying the floor plan for each storey along with the business hours.

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A family of Owls welcoming you at the door. Hoot, hoot…

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The First Impression was it is big place with everything wooden, from the floors and walls to the support pillars and beams; even the stairs are made of wood. When the wow factor dies down and your eyes acclimated to the bright spotlights, you'll be awed by table after table of music boxes while the ears picked up the tinkering of music from all directions.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0188-OtaruMusicBoxMuseum.jpg
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#49 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:00 AM

On the First Floor are all the pre-made music boxes laid out across many table and shelves. Besides the usual plastic or wood, many of the music boxes were also made from materials like porcelain or glass so please handle with care.

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A pyramid of Stuffed Bears and other Animals. Wonder what these got to do with music boxes.


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#50 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:36 PM

Still on the First Floor since it had the biggest floor area of all the three floors. A couple of shots from the second floor to let you experience the size of this place.

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Yellow Duck with Polka Dot Bandana Music Box and Otaru Shopping Bags waiting for the customers to bring them home.

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Assorted Wall Hanging Music Boxes, that is if I can still call them music box since they are technically not one.


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#51 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:10 PM

Up on the Second Floor, yet more of those pre-made music boxes; in addition you also get those wall mounted music boxes where you pull a string to listen to the tinkering music. These were hanging on the walls parallel to the stairs so you can’t miss them as you climb up.

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Aren't these Sushi Music Boxes look good enough to eat? :D/> And they even have my favorite ikura sushi to boot.


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#52 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 01:55 PM

Up this flight of stairs, is where the Music Box Workshop was located. Unfortunately, to DIY your own music box, it will take more than an hour including the time to assemble and allowing the glue to set. We just don’t have that kind of time to spare since we were on a group tour.

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Some of the “Toppings” you can add to DIY your own music box. Hmmm, this Stuffed Dragon is just too cute to be glued to the music box though.

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#53 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 04:15 PM

Care to bring home one of this Maneki-neko (招财猫)? It might just bring you that fortune one of these days. :P/> And they have got so many different designs to select from, plus they all look so darn cute.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0201-OtaruMusicBoxMuseum.jpg

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If cat is not your kind of animal, how about these Cute Rabbits. They seem to be begging you to bring them home.


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#54 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 07:00 PM

Yet more of the Maneki-neko (招财猫) and other cute cat designs to tempt the weak hearts.

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This other entrance located at the side of the Otaru Music Box Museum is much more impressive looking but is kind of underutilized.

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Colourful Pansies in wooden containers lined the sidewalk leading to the other entrance of the Otaru Music Box Museum. And that wooden box is the very hard to find rubbish bin in Hokkaido.

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Cat on the Wall – Looks who is climbing up the building?


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#55 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:00 PM

Right next to the Otaru Music Box Museum and also owned by the Orgel Doh Group is this Yume no Oto "Character House" (梦之音). This shop collects a lot of the famous cartoon characters and also those unique ones from around Hokkaido. This is more of a children or girl's world unless you also happened to be young at heart. :P/>

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0213-YumeNoOto.jpg

Yume no Oto "Character House" (梦之音)

1-6 Sumiyoshi-cho Otaru, Hokkaido
Tel: 0134-27-5618
Business Hours: 9am - 6pm

Mickey and Minnie Mouse cast in marble. Aren't they so pretty?

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0214-YumeNoOto.jpg

Inside the Yume no Oto "Character House" (梦之音) you'll see many cute items like stuffed dolls, small collector's items etc... Can you spot any of your childhood memories among the display items?

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0215-YumeNoOto.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0216-YumeNoOto.jpg
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#56 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:20 PM

Head up the stairs and mid way, you'll come face to face with a big fat Totoro. On the wall is a drawing of a girl and totoro, surrounded by a lit up outline of totoro.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0217-YumeNoOto.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0220-YumeNoOto.jpg

Up here on the 2nd floor is basically a mini world of Totoro which occupied the most eye-catching prominent position and to a lesser extent other stuffs. Is totoro still that popular nowadays?


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0218-YumeNoOto.jpg

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#57 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:22 PM

Yet another retailer shop owned by the Orgel Doh Group, this is the Otaru Music Box Museum Hall Number 2. Also known as Antique Museum because it houses valuable antique music boxes, pianos and pipe organs in the premise. Compared to the other two music box branches, this one seem a tad quiet and I am not referring to the music.

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Otaru Music Box Museum Hall Number 2 - Antique Museum
6-13 Sakaimachi, Otaru
Tel: 0134-34-3915
Business Hours: 9am - 6pm

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0222-AntiqueMuseum.jpg

This Aeolian Pipe Organ was built in 1908 and installed in a hall in Yorkshire, England. Later, it was moved to the Cornwall Mechanical Museum. It has now come to its new home here in Otaru. With 690 pipes, this organ is usually played by hand but can be played automatically if desired. One hundred paper rolls are available for automatic performances. This automatic pipe organ was the first of its kind introduced to Japan and is still producing the same rich sounds as when it first came to Otaru at the Otaru Music Box Museum Hall Number 2.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0223-AntiqueMuseum.jpg

Aeolian Pipe Organ Performance Schedule
10:00 - 10.20, 11:00 - 11:20, 12:00 - 12:20
14:00 - 14:20, 15:00 - 15:20, 16:00 - 16:20

The Antique Museum holds exhibitions of numerous well-preserved antique music boxes and mechanical dolls (Automata) of historical value, in addition to featuring them in mini concerts. Furthermore, the museum shop offers selected Music Boxes, including ones made in Japan and Switzerland whose sounds are like those of the real musical instruments.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0224-AntiqueMuseum.jpg
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#58 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 09:55 PM

These Colourful Pansies were grown in abundance in Hokkaido. Even the little spaces around the lamp posts were filled with them, which according to Frankie might be the work of some of the gardening clubs.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0225-AntiqueMuseum.jpg

This Kitaichi Glass Outlet sells various products at reasonable prices due to the facts that they were:

  • Out of production
  • Trial samples
  • Reproduction products
  • Made of recycled glasses
  • Second quality products


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0226-KitaichiGlassOutlet.jpg

Kitakaro (北果楼) is a heaven for free food sampling. Our tour guide actually told us beforehand that you can eat your share here even without buying anything. With many products to sample, you are bound to find something tasted yummy and if you liked it, you buy it right? Personally I think this is really a good marketing gimmick, but it did not work on me as I helped myself to the free samples and not buy. :D/>

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0227-Kitakaro.jpg

Kitakaro (北果楼)
7-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido
Shop Hours: 9am - 6.30pm
Tel: (0134)31-3464

A signboard outside promoting the Baumkuchen Yosei no Mori (妖精の森). Personally, I have not tried the baumkuchen before till when I entered this place.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0228-Kitakaro.jpg
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#59 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:00 PM

Kitakaro (北果楼) is famous for its Baumkuchen cake, a layer cake originating from Germany, while also offering a wide range of other confectionery.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0229-Kitakaro.jpg

Here's the Baumkuchen Baking Area. Too bad the pretty chef had her back to me most of the time so I don't have a picture of her to show. :(/> People have been raving about the Baumkuchen, but I found the over glorified cake to be like butter or kueh lapis cake in both texture and taste.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0230-Kitakaro.jpg

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0231-Kitakaro.jpg

The 8cm Baumkuchen Yosei no Mori (妖精の森) cost a whopping ¥2200 (approximately S$27.50)!


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0232-Kitakaro.jpg
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#60 User is online   Kingfisher 

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 10:26 PM

These were the vanilla and chocolate cream Chiffon Cakes (Yume-Guruma).

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0233-Kitakaro.jpg

The confectioneries at the Cakes and Sweets Counter were available in pretty packaging, making them suitable for gifts. I left empty handed as I do not wish to hand-carry cakes as I already have a box of snacks I got on the first day.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0234-Kitakaro.jpg

Rokkatei (六花亭) is one of the major confectionery brands in Hokkaido, well-known for their famous confections such as Marusei Butter biscuits and White Chocolate. Established in 1933 in Obihiro, the central area of Tokachi region in Hokkaido, Rokkatei was originally started from one of the established Japanese confectioners in Sapporo, but later became independent. Renamed as Rokkatei in 1977, it restarted its own company based in Obihiro city and currently has 16 directly owned stores only in Hokkaido.

http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0235-Rokkatei.jpg

Rokkatei (六花亭)
7-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido
Shop Hours: 9am - 6pm

A Gift Box Display outside the shop.


http://forumspp.vr-zone.net/1447/medium/0236-Rokkatei.jpg
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