9 Places you should travel in Otaru

Overview of Otaru

Otaru is a picturesque port town located in Hokkaido. It’s a popular tourist destination for its historic canal district, romantic atmosphere, and fresh seafood.

Otaru was once a flourishing trade and fishing port, where fishermen and merchants from Hokkaido and other regions around Japan used to converge to carry out business. However, modernization and other factors greatly reduced the importance of its port facilities. Nonetheless, the town still holds to its rich heritage and continues to be a source of cultural, country and economic significance.

Getting there from Sapporo

One of the easiest ways to reach Otaru from Sapporo is by train. A limited express train from Sapporo takes just 30 minutes, and a regular train takes around 50 minutes. There is also an express bus that takes about an hour to reach Otaru.

Places you should travel in Otaru

Otaru Canal

Built in the early 20th century, the Otaru Canal is one of the most prominent landmarks in Otaru. The canal was used to transport goods in and out of the city during the peak of Otaru’s prosperity. Today, visitors can take leisurely strolls along the canal while enjoying the beautiful brick buildings and scenic views that the area has to offer.

Otaru Music Box Museum

The Otaru Music Box Museum is a popular destination in Otaru for those looking to explore the history of music boxes. The museum offers a wide variety of music boxes from different parts of the world, and visitors can purchase handcrafted music boxes that are made on site.

Otaru Sankaku Market

The Otaru Sankaku Market is a bustling fish market that offers fresh seafood and other local delicacies. Visitors can explore the market’s numerous stalls and try everything from sea urchin to squid.

Otaru Aquarium

The Otaru Aquarium is a popular attraction for families and animal lovers. Visitors can see a vast variety of marine animals, including walruses, sea lions, dolphins, and seals.

Tengu Mountain

Located in the outskirts of Otaru, Tengu Mountain offers beautiful scenic views of the surrounding areas. Visitors can hike up to the top of the mountain and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the sea.

Otaru Museum of Art

The Otaru Museum of Art is home to numerous works of art from local artists and those from around Japan. Visitors can appreciate a blend of both classic and contemporary artwork.


For those who have a sweet tooth, visiting Kitakaro is a must-do. Kitakaro offers a wide variety of delicious sweets and pastries, including the famous Otaru Milk Cookie.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival

Taking place during the first week of February, the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is a popular festival in Otaru. The festival takes place over ten days and offers beautiful snow sculptures and light displays throughout the city.

Otaru City General Museum

Located near the Otaru Canal, the Otaru City General Museum offers visitors an insight into the history and culture of the city. The museum houses numerous artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city’s fascinating past.

Accommodations in Otaru

The Otaru Canal Plaza Hotel

Located just steps away from the picturesque Otaru Canal, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and a stunning view of the water. The rooms are decorated in a traditional Japanese style and provide visitors with the perfect base from which to explore the historic town.

Authent Hotel Otaru

This modern hotel is situated in the heart of Otaru and offers guests a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Rooms are sleekly designed and feature large windows, making for a bright and airy atmosphere.

Hotel Nord Otaru

This boutique hotel is situated in a charming building dating back to the early 20th century. Rooms are decked out in simple but stylish decor, with touches of rustic charm giving the space a cozy and inviting feel.

Otaru Tenguyama Sanrokukan

For those seeking a more unique accommodation experience, the Tenguyama Sanrokukan is a perfect choice. A cable car takes guests up to the top of Tenguyama mountain where they can stay in traditional Japanese-style rooms and enjoy stunning views of the city and surrounding landscape. The property also features a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.


f you want to experience Hokkaido’s rich history, cultural heritage, and picturesque harbor, Otaru is definitely worth a visit. With its romantic atmosphere, high-quality seafood, and unique charm, it’s one of the must-visit destinations in Japan for both tourists and locals alike.

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