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Travel / Tourism Spots in Otaru Area

  • Otaru Canal
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Minatomachi
    Otaru Port played an important role as a gateway in the development of Hokkaido. During the late Taisho period small boats called “barges” were used to unload ships, but as the amount of cargo increased, the “Otaru Canal” was constructed so the barges could enter the warehouses directly. There are 63 gas lamps along the cobbled pathway and at night the lights create a nostalgic atmosphere. The warehouses along the canal are wooden frame and stone constructions kept in their original state, currently used as restaurants, etc.
  • Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Mogami 2-16-15
    The ropeway connects Mt. Tengu, the symbol of Otaru, from the foot of the mountain to the summit in about four minutes. In the daytime you can see views of Otaru City looking like a miniature garden below, Otaru port and Ishikari Bay, and on clear days you can see as far Mt. Shokanbetsu and the Shakotan Peninsula. The observation deck at the summit has been awarded one star in the Michelin Green Guide to Japan. In the evening, you can enjoy the beautiful night views of Otaru, said to be one of the top three night views in Hokkaido. Enjoy a nostalgic evening with views over the city like jewels sparkling in the night.
  • Former Nippon Yusen K.K. Otaru Branch
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai 3-7-8
    Construction of the two-story brick building of modern European revival style began in 1904 and was completed in 1906. It is now designated as a National Important Cultural Property. Otaru, once the base city of Hokkaido’s development, is now a city reminiscent of the state-of-the-art technology and works by leading architects of the time. It can be said that the representative building is “Former Nippon Yusen K.K. Otaru Branch”. It is where the Russo-Japan border demarcation meeting was held, and the meeting room where the acanthus patterned wallpaper, “gold-cordered paper (kinkara kawakami)”, reflecting the light of the chandelier is a must-see.
  • Otaru Museum canal building
    rating-image
    3.5
    31 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai 2-1-20
    This museum, just a 10-minute walk in the direction of the Otaru Canal from Otaru Station, houses a collection of Otaru's history and nature artifacts. The main depository is located just a 20-minute walk beyond the museum, for which the museum combination admission ticket is valid for 2 days. The Canal Museum was built in 1893, and redesigned from the treasured stone masonry Former Otaru Warehouse, making the museum itself a highly valued asset. In the museum, a life-size replicated broad street of Otaru during its heyday, the Taisho period (1912-1926), is on display where one can enjoy using the old-fashioned telephone and the organ.

    If you only have one chance to visit a museum in Otaru, this would be it. Quite informative, 45 mins max & 60mins if you can the Japanese description. Located right opposite the overrated Otaru...

  • Bank of Japan Otaru Museum
    rating-image
    4.0
    262 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai 1-11-16
    In about 1900, banks concentrated in Otaru City and it began to be called “Wall Street of the north”. Among them, the Bank of Japan also entered Otaru City, and the building which was completed in 1912 became the Otaru Branch. Using the historical building of the time, historical artifacts of the Bank of Japan and the development of Otaru are displayed. You can feel the weight of a package containing 100 million yen (imitation) and see the anti-counterfeiting technology to prevent the forgery of bills. Guided tours are conducted twice a day (Required time: about 30 minutes.)

    Came here to see the architecture of the historical icon on the Walls Street of Otaru. Admission is free and the security check is no fuss. Once inside you can admire the beautiful architecture...

  • Main Building of the Otaru Music Box Museum
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sumiyoshichou 4-1
    This landmark of Otaru, the Otaru Music Box Museum is located on a corner of the Marchen Intersection of Otaru Sakaimachi street and Irifune street. Housed in a red brick structure built in 1912, this store displays music boxes collected from all over Japan and the world resplendent with a warm radiant atmosphere. The steam-powered clock by the entranceway announces the time every 15 minutes with a blast of steam and a melody. It is a popular photo opportunity spot.
  • Kitaichi Glass Sangokan (Emporium No. 3)
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    4.5
    104 Reviews
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 7-26
    Kitaichi Glass Sangokan (Emporium No. 3) located a little south of the canal is a popular tourist attraction even in Otaru and is well known as a glassware store. It also contains retailers of original glass products such as colorful glasses and lamps as well as cafe bars where stained glass spreads across the ceiling. One of the popular shops is Kitaishi Hall which is lit by 167 oil lamps. Because you can order meals and confectionary in the shop, it is recommended as a place to have a break from sightseeing. This fantasy space that is just like entering the world of the movies is worth a visit.

    Kitaichi is a fairly large franchise with different shops across Otaru (could be elsewhere too). After the DIY sandblasting workshop in the morning, we dropped by this cafe. It was beautifully...

  • Otaru Taisho Glass Palace
    rating-image
    4.0
    129 Reviews
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai 1-1-8
    Approximately 15 minutes on foot from JR Otaru Station, this shop was repurposed from the historical Natori Takasaburo Store built in 1906. Inside the shop are displays of Japanese style glass works made in Otaru City which are available for purchase. Nearby are a series of shops including the Vidro-Kan with its collection of miniature glass and the Tonbo Tama-Kan that features a workshop to try out glass production.

    There are lots of workshops in other shops making marbles (10min), gluing glass on music boxes, sun catcher etc. But definitely book and try the hot work (making vase / cup) at 1200 degrees. Takes 40...

  • Tanaka Sake Brewery Kikkogura
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    4.0
    79 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Nobukachou 2-2
    Located only a 5-minute walk from the JR Minami Otaru Station, this is only sake brewery in Otaru. It proudly makes the Japanese sake brand, Takaragawa, Otaru Bijin liqueur, and Maho-no-Itteki hon-mirin, a sweet rice wine for cooking. Its stone masonry warehouse, built around 1905 is designated as one of Otaru's historic building. At the store, one can enjoy free sake-tastings of sake shipped direct from the brewery, Shiboritate fresh bottled sake without pasteurization, and approximately 10 other varieties of seasonal sakes. Brewery tours where one can observe the production process are offered for free all year round. *Reservations needed for groups over 10.

    We love sake and have purposely make a journey down to Otaru after we said goodbye to Hakodate. The traditional building captures our attention when we reach the location is beside a Lawson Store I...

  • Nishin Goten Herring Mansion Otaru Kihinkan (Old Aoyama Villa)
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    4.0
    8 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Shukutsu 3-63
    The villa was a holiday house for the Aoyama Family in the heyday of herring fishing. The family spared no expense in the materials and construction of the two-story wooden villa set in a site of almost 5000 square meters. The mansion conveys to the present the glory of days gone by and has also been designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property of the country. There are many works of art, such as writings by Yamaoka Tesshu on display. It is about a five-minute walk from the nearest bus stop “Shukutsu 3-chome”.

    The Food presentation is so nice. The restuarant is part of museum so I enjoy the nice picture in the place. The 5th floor is clearly seen the view of Otaru bay.

  • Otaru City General Museum Main Building
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    4.5
    109 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Hokkaido Otarushi Temiya 1-3-6
    A museum opened in July 2007 which looks at the history and natural environment of Otaru City as well as science, technology, and the history of transportation on the island of Hokkaido. The museum is divided into two facilities—the Main Building and the Canal Museum. The Main Building has a permanent exhibit which presents the history of railroads in Hokkaido, including 50 preserved examples of major railway vehicles used on the island such as the Shizuka steam locomotive. The Main Building also has a planetarium and science exhibits and conducts simple experiments and short craft classes on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. In the summer, the Iron Horse, a steam engine built in the United States in 1909, is operated outside the museum, and visitors can ride the train for free.

    This has been a 'must visit' for my son when we visit Otaru. Many interactive exhibits, including being able to ride on a train and seeing how they operate! Also has other science themed exhibits...

  • Souvenir shop Kobushiya Otaru Branch
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 5-29
    A Hokkaido souvenir shop located on Sakaimachidori Shopping Street in the center of Otaru. As well as Otaru, the shop has branches open in Sapporo and Hakodate too. All the branches have a wide selection of sweets and local sake from across Hokkaido, so it’s a great place to do all the souvenir shopping. All the classic confections like Shiroi Koibito, Rokkatei, Royce’, Jaga Pokkuru, and Hanabatake Bokujo are on sale. The shop has English and Chinese speaking staff making it easy for tourists to do their shopping. The stone exterior of the shop fits in nicely to the retro look of Otaru’s streets.
  • Handmade Bag Specialist Store Mizubasho
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 2-15
    Located 15 minutes walk from Otaru Station and adjacent to the Otaru City Historical Museum is Mizubasho, specializing in handmade bags. All the bags are made in workshops in Hokkaido. The handmade bag store stocks the Itagaki (saddle type bags and other leather accessories) series of bags typical of Hokkaido, original deer hide products, and leather mascots amongst other things. Also popular are smart phone cases which the store can make to suit any size. Bags made from stretchy and strong deer hide are perfect as a gift for oneself, or as a souvenir.
  • Taisho Glass Palace Hokkoriya
    Shopping
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 4-15
    This shop is one of many old shops remodeled into glass shops, and cake shops which line the street of Sakaimachi-dori. The shop displays and sells items created mainly by the lampwork artists, Masae Hirokawa and Kumi Aoyama both living in Otaru. Depending on the day you can experience lampwork together with the artists. Miniature forest animals and sea creatures as well as other seasonal items make great gifts for yourself and others. As the store name suggests (“hokkoriya” literally means warm and cozy shop) there are a plethora of wonderful works of art on display.
  • Otaru Candle Workshop
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    4.0
    3 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 1-27
    The Otaru Candle Workshop with ivy climbing up its walls is located just a one-minute walk away from Otaru Canal and handles originally-made candles at the workshop, handcrafted candles from Japan and abroad, and candle holders. You can have a go at making things yourself including the popular scented pillar candles, fragranced wax bars, and snow globes. There is a cafe surrounded by candles on the second floor and a shop selling Christmas items.

    喫茶で利用 2Fです。1Fはローソク店で体験もあります。 喫茶は落ち着いた空間でゆっくりできます。 うす暗い店内でローソクの揺らぎが良い雰囲気です。 紅茶、チーズケーキお勧め。

  • Otaru Canal Cruise
    rating-image
    4.0
    150 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Minatomachi 5-4
    You can find the ticket center and dock at the Otaru Canal Chuobashi Bridge located about a 10-minute walk from JR Otaru Station towards the port. You can enjoy the history and romance of Otaru City from the canal boat with cruises lasting about 40 minutes. With the gas-powered street lights along the canal, the night cruises are a beautiful sight to behold. During the cold winter a canopy covers the boat and heaters are provided to keep passengers warm.

    We went on this 5 pm sunset canal cruise as part of a day trip. We were the only non Asian persons on the boat and we were not given a head set to listen to the continuous 40 minute commentary in...

  • Kitaichi Venetian Art Museum
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    3.5
    113 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Hokkaido Otarushi Sakaimachi 5-27
    The exterior of the building is modeled on the Palazzo Grassi in Venice while the second, third and fifth floor exhibition rooms, styled on the 18th century palace rooms, house an elegant museum. The museum hosts many special exhibitions in addition to the Venetian displays of interior design throughout the seasons and permanent displays of Murano Glass. You can also get dressed up in aristocratic or carnival-style clothing and have your photograph taken for posterity! The museum is a 10-minute walk from JR Minami-Otaru Station and a ten minute drive from Otaru interchange.

    This is one of the shops that I’ve wanted to visit because I’m a big fan of Venice and really admire art pieces made of glass. I was not disappointed, in fact, I was so impressed with the quality...

  • Asahi Observatory
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Tomioka 2
    Asahi Observatory is located on a 190-meter-high hill behind Otaru Station. It provides superb views of Otaru’s streets and port, and on a clear day the peaks of Mt. Shokanbetsu, and Ishikari Bay, can be seen in the distance. There is a network of 18 hiking trails nearby, along with stone monuments commemorating the literary works of Kobayashi Takiji, making this a great place for a stroll.
  • North Canal
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai 3
    Otaru Canal played an important role in Hokkaido’s development as the “Gateway to Hokkaido.” Small working boats can still be seen moored along the northern section of the Canal (known as the North Canal), which is lined with warehouses. With scenes that recall the past, this area of Otaru is very evocative.
  • Wall Street of the North
    Travel / Tourism
    Hokkaido Otarushi Ironai
    From the latter part of the Meiji period through into the early years of the Showa era, Otaru was Hokkaido’s main economic and financial center. The streets were lined with trading company offices and banks, and the city center had an air of prosperity about it that led to it being nicknamed the “Wall Street of the North.” Today, many of these fine old offices have been repurposed; for example, the former Otaru Branch of the Bank of Japan now houses the Bank of Japan Otaru Museum (a banking museum), and other buildings such as the former headquarters of Hokkaido Bank have also been put to new uses, housing museums, restaurants, etc., but there are still many traces of the past remaining.

Hokkaido Main Areas

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Not just a prefecture but an island of its own, Hokkaido is the most northerly prefecture and island of the Japanese archipelago. Arriving in Hokkaido, which is rural and bursting with breathtaking nature, means entering a world where vast national parks, towering mountains, and natural hot springs can be found at every turn. Come December, these natural splendors freeze over and morph into a winter wonderland.

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