A Romantic Town

Otaru (小樽) is a small harbor city, about half an hour northwest of Sapporo. From the early days of Hokkaido’s colonization in the late 1800s, Otaru served as a major trade and fishing port.

Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo or a nice stop en route to or from Niseko or the Shakotan Peninsula.

Top Attractions

Best places to go in Otaru
Famous for the film “Love Letter.”

Otaru Canal

The Otaru Canal is a landmark landscape in Hokkaido. It is famous for the film “Love Letter.” The four seasons are different, especially in the wintertime. 

At the beginning of its opening, the canal was used to load and unload goods. Now, the banks of the canal have been transformed into various handicraft shops. 

Attractive street in the city center

Sakaimachi Street

Sakaimachi Street (境町通り) is an attractive, preserved merchant street in central Otaru, a short walk from the city’s canal area. During the development of Hokkaido in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Otaru thrived as a port city. 

Many of the buildings along Sakaimachi Street have since been converted into restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, boutiques and museums.

Beautiful views overlooking Otaru

Mt. Tengu Ropeway

At an altitude of 532 meters, Mt. Tengu is a symbolic mountain of Otaru. It offers beautiful views overlooking Otaru, and the Sea of Japan. The night view from the observatory is particular stunning.

It is a pleasant walk and while walking around there are a couple of clear vantage points that offer beautiful views over the surrounding area. 

A fairy tale world

Marchen Intersection

The intersection where the Otaru Orgel Museum is located is called the “Marchen Intersection”, which is a typical street view of Otaru. On both sides of the street, there are many European style buildings, just like a fairy tale world.

the oldest and largest music box museum

Otaru Orgel Museum

Music box is one of the famous products of Otaru. Otaru Orgel Museum is not only a popular souvenir shop, but also the oldest and largest music box museum in Japan. 

There are more than 3,000 kinds of music boxes from all over the world, including many traditional music boxes that can hardly be seen on the market. The modeling is very diversified which makes it a unique place to explore. 

Glass Workshop

Kitaichi Glass Crystal Kan

Kitaichi Glass Crystal Kan is known as the “Glass Workshop”. In addition to the original glass products in Japan, there are many glass products from the rest of world, each of which is exquisite and quaint.

A famous sweets shop


The Ginnokane building is two floors high. On the first floor, small bottles of souvenirs and foods are sold. On the second floor, there is a coffee and tea shop where customers can take away the cup as a souvenir when they finish their drink. 

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