An Atmospheric Port Town with a Romantic Canal

Otaru is a charming port town located in Hokkaido, japan. It has a rich history and a unique character that sets it apart from other cities in the region. The town’s most iconic feature is the Otaru Canal, which dates back to the Meiji and Taisho periods. This canal played a crucial role in the town’s development as a center for business and trade.

During the Meiji and Taisho periods, Otaru flourished as a hub for trade and commerce. Many stately stone buildings were constructed during this time as banks and trading companies established their presence in the town. These buildings still stand today, creating a romantic cityscape along the Otaru Canal. Some of these historical buildings have been beautifully transformed into hotels, restaurants, and stores, adding to the town’s unique charm.

Otaru is renowned for its fresh seafood, which is a result of its coastal location. Visitors can indulge in a wide variety of seafood dishes, including sushi, sashimi, and grilled fish. The town also boasts abundant hot springs, providing a relaxing and rejuvenating experience for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Don’t Miss

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Otaru, here are a few activities you shouldn’t miss:

1. An Evening Cruise along the Canal: Take a leisurely cruise along the Otaru Canal in the evening to witness the enchanting sight of retro gas lamps and illuminated architecture. The reflections on the water create a magical ambiance that is truly unforgettable.

2. Visiting Local Art Galleries and Craft Stores: Otaru is known for its glassworks and paintings created by local artists. Explore the art galleries and craft stores to admire the intricate craftsmanship and unique designs of these locally made works.

3. Informative Tour by Rickshaw: Embark on an informal and informative tour of the town’s sights by rickshaw. Let the rickshaw pullers be your guide as they share fascinating stories and historical anecdotes about Otaru.

How to Get There

Otaru is easily accessible via train or bus from Sapporo Station and New Chitose Airport. From Chitose Airport, you can take the JR Chitose-Hakodate Line rapid train, which will get you to Otaru in a little over an hour. If you are coming from Sapporo Station, a 30 to 35-minute rapid train ride will take you to Otaru. Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Sapporo, which takes about an hour and 10 minutes, or from New Chitose Airport, which takes approximately two hours.

Step Back in Time

As you stroll through the streets of Otaru, you will feel as if you have stepped back in time. The town is dotted with impressive century-old buildings that harken back to its days as a flourishing trade and business center. Many of these buildings have been lovingly revived and now house shops and glassworks studios. In the evenings, the path along the warehouse buildings is illuminated, and the canal is lit with gas lamps, creating a picturesque scene that is straight out of a postcard.

See Views from the Top of Mt. Tengu

For breathtaking panoramic views of Ishikari Bay, the Shakotan Peninsula, and Otaru, head to the top of Mt. Tengu. This mountain dominates the skyline of Otaru and is a popular ski resort during the winter months. Take a ropeway up the mountain to enjoy the stunning vistas. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Tenguyama Shrine, located near the summit, where many visitors pray for safe travels.

Have a Romantic Night Out

Otaru Canal is considered a special power spot for couples, thanks to its attractive renovated warehouses and shops. Enjoy a romantic stroll along the canal, hand in hand with your loved one, and take in the enchanting atmosphere. The beautifully lit canal creates a romantic ambiance that is perfect for a memorable night out.

Eat Great Sushi and Seafood Cuisines

Being located right on Ishikari Bay, Otaru is renowned for its fresh seafood. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the fantastic sushi shops near the port, where you can indulge in the freshest and most delicious seafood dishes. From succulent sashimi to grilled fish, Otaru offers a wide range of seafood cuisines that will tantalize your taste buds.

In conclusion, Otaru is a hidden gem in Hokkaido that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The town’s atmospheric port, romantic canal, and well-preserved historical buildings create a nostalgic ambiance that transports visitors back in time. Whether you’re exploring the charming streets, indulging in fresh seafood, or simply taking in the breathtaking views, Otaru is a destination that should not be missed. So, hop on a train or bus and embark on a journey to this enchanting port town for an unforgettable experience.

Address And Maps Location:

Otaru-shi, Hokkaido

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