10th February: Otaru by Day

In the next sleeper on the train on the way to Sapporo, I met a Japanese man with a shared interest in photography and Nikon equipment.  He recommended I visit Otaru, so I did.

Fishing boat

Bridge of fishing boat

Otaru is the port for Sapporo, the second largest port in Hokkaido after Hakodate.

Car parked at wharf

I met up with an Argentinian couple on the street and wandered around with them and their friends during the day, including a delightful visit to a Japanese restaurant.  Much more congenial than wandering around by myself.

Pier, pedestrian and truck

This is an image that seems to come in threes.  There is the pedestrian, the truck and the wharf, the three trees, the three protruding faces of the buildings in the background (though two are on the same building), the three double windows in the left building, the three windows at the far right, the two mooring piers and the flagpole….  Note you can only see the top of the truck which shows how far the snow is built up around the road.  You can also see how deep it is on the pier.


The snow is piled up high on the sides of the roads, higher than the van in the distance, but they obviously don’t want to bury the fire hydrant.

Beer factory

Snow piled up high on the roof and icicles from the gutter.  Actually, this is a problem in Japan.  People climb up onto their roof to clear the snow throughout winter and from time to time, fall off.

Street scene

I would guess that the colourful bus is a special service for tourists, but maybe it’s just a normal bus.

Street scene

Street scene

They’re a local so probably they know what they’re doing but I would have thought that the person running across the road is taking a risk.  It’s often ice underfoot.  I little later, I saw a man carrying an infant slip over on his back with no harm to the infant and no obvious damage to himself.  The previous night at the snow festival I slipped over backwards and had difficulty sitting down comfortably for the next few weeks.

Street scene

The people here are waving to their friend who is wearing winter kimono attire.

Snow barriers

This is on the side of a hill and the structures are barriers to prevent an avalanch of snow onto the street below.  These barriers are also in the image three images before, towards the bottom of the slope below the big building on the hill.

Ladder from the street to the hill

Interesting pattern in the snow and it looked like a challenging route in the conditions.

Street scene

Here we have a vendor with trays of crabs.

Street scene

It was usually snowing, here quite heavily.  The people are crossing on the signal (or maybe those two are a bit early) and there’s probably a pedestrian crossing under the snow.   The building is probably a Tax Office because the one thing I can read is “Tax Refund”.  The remarkable nineteenth century outside grandfather clock gave an impressive sequence of chimes a few minutes later when it reached five o’clock.

Street scene

I’ll make some comments on equipment because of the conditions.  I traveled very light to Sapporo, leaving my large case behind at the hotel in Tokyo.  I probably brought other lenses with me but decided not to use them because of the difficulty of changing lenses in heavy snow.   I took almost all images in this post, the previous two on the snow festival and the next one on the lantern festival using a Nikon D3 and an 85mm f1.4 lens, plus a hydrophobia rain cover over the camera and lens.  I also had the Fujifilm X100 in my pocket but used it for very few images, though the previous two are amongst them.

3 comments on “10th February: Otaru by Day

  1. […] 10th February:  Otaru – Otaru by Day […]


  2. Josefina Morrogh says:

    Hello Murray, I’m Josefina, one of the Argentinians that you met in Otaru. I was organizing my desk and i found your personal card, so here i am, watching your photos. i love them! it was nice to meet you there. Saludos!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s