Discovering Otaru: A Charming Japanese Coastal Town

Discovering Otaru: A Charming Japanese Coastal Town

Discovering Otaru: A Charming Japanese Coastal Town

Located on the western coast of Hokkaido Island in Japan, Otaru is a picturesque coastal town that is often overlooked by travelers. However, those who venture to this hidden gem are rewarded with a charming blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.


Getting to Otaru

Otaru is easily accessible from Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido. If you are flying into Hokkaido, you can take a direct train from New Chitose Airport to Otaru Station. The journey takes approximately one hour and offers stunning views of the Hokkaido countryside.

If you are already in Sapporo, you can reach Otaru by train or bus. The train journey takes around 30 minutes, while the bus ride takes approximately 45 minutes.

Exploring Otaru

Otaru's main attraction is its historic canal area. The Otaru Canal was once a bustling hub for transportation, as it served as a gateway for the town's prosperous timber and fishing industries. Today, the canal is lined with beautifully preserved buildings that have been converted into shops, cafes, and museums. Take a leisurely stroll along the canal and admire the nostalgic atmosphere.

Another must-visit destination in Otaru is the Otaru Music Box Museum. This enchanting museum showcases a vast collection of intricately designed music boxes from around the world. Visitors can even try their hand at making their own music box during a special workshop.

For history enthusiasts, the Otaru Museum is a fascinating place to explore. Housed in a former bank building, the museum exhibits artifacts and photographs that depict the town's rich history. Learn about Otaru's development as a trading port and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of the local community.

Indulging in Otaru's Culinary Delights

Otaru is renowned for its fresh seafood, thanks to its proximity to the Sea of Japan. Visit the Otaru Fish Market to sample a wide variety of seafood, including the famous Hokkaido scallops, sushi, and sashimi. The market is also a great place to shop for local specialties such as dried squid and sea urchin.

No visit to Otaru is complete without trying the town's signature dish, Otaru Sushi. This unique style of sushi features vinegared rice topped with various fresh seafood delicacies. You can find Otaru Sushi restaurants throughout the town, each with its own twist on the traditional recipe.

Enjoying Nature in and around Otaru

One of Otaru's natural attractions is the Tengu Mountain. You can hike to the summit for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding coastline. The hike takes about two hours, but the breathtaking scenery along the way makes it well worth the effort.

Another popular outdoor destination near Otaru is the Shakotan Peninsula. Known for its crystal-clear waters and dramatic cliffs, this area is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. Take a scenic drive along the coast or embark on a boat tour to fully appreciate the beauty of Shakotan.

Getting Around Otaru

Otaru is a compact town that is easily explored on foot. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. If you prefer to cover more ground, you can rent a bicycle or hop on the Otaru Stroll Bus, which stops at major sights and offers unlimited rides for a day.

Discover Otaru's Charm

Otaru may not be as well-known as other cities in Japan, but it offers a unique and authentic experience for travelers seeking a more off-the-beaten-path destination. From its historic canal to its delectable cuisine and breathtaking nature, Otaru is a place that will leave a lasting impression.