Otaru Travel Guide 2023
- The BEST Things to Do in Otaru -
One Day Trip - Itinerary


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小樽めぐりたい

Otaru Travel Guide Category List

First recommendation for Otaru. Shop on Otaru North Canal. Highlights of the North Canal. Spectacular view of Otaru. Spiritual place in Otaru. Delicious restrants in Otaru. History and literature of Otaru. Historic buildings in Otaru. Glass of Otaru. Gifts and Souvenirs from Otaru First trip to Otaru|3hour tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|6hour tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|1day tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|2day tour course|Touring Otaru

100 Otaru Travel Spots

From the Meiji to Taisho periods, Otaru became a major logistics hub as the gateway to Hokkaido. At that time, Otaru was the most prosperous commercial city in northern Japan. The Otaru Canal, which was reclaimed from the sea during the Taisho Period and made famous nationwide through the Showa Period preservation movement, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hokkaido today.

We have picked up recommended spots that you should definitely visit when you come to Otaru from the viewpoint of Otaru Hyakka UNGA↑. We have selected the places where Otaru's fortune began, famous sightseeing spots and historic sites, historical buildings, and hidden gems loved by locals, and have classified them into seven categories as "Otaru Meguri-no-Yakitai" or "Otaru Model Courses" for beginners in Otaru.

▷ About Otaru City

When you go around Otaru, you will have luck.

Otaru Department Store UNGA↑

We develop and sell original products that convey the charm of Otaru in a storefront that was renovated from the "Old Otaru Warehouse Main Depot," which is said to be the oldest business warehouse in Hokkaido, located in the Otaru North Canal area. The store tells the story of Otaru's prosperity in the pioneer days of Hokkaido and the history of the Kitamaebune, and displays and sells processed seafood and agricultural products from the port of call and Hokkaido, as well as original products made by craftsmen and artists associated with Otaru.

Otaru Department Store UNGA↑

Otaru Travel Recommendations

Recommended for first time travelers

Otaru Recommended Spots
Otaru Canal

In the late Edo period (1603-1868), people moved to Otaru City when herring fishing became prosperous, and later, during the Meiji and Taisho periods, the city rapidly developed as the gateway to the development of Hokkaido. As a shipping town that distributed various goods through Otaru Port, the volume of cargo handled increased dramatically, so the sea was reclaimed and waterways were built to facilitate efficient transportation. The Otaru Canal was completed in 1923.

Otaru City is now one of the top three tourist destinations in Japan, along with Sapporo and Hakodate, among the most popular tourist destinations in Hokkaido. One of the reasons for Otaru's popularity is that it is relatively easy to visit, only 30 to 40 minutes from Sapporo Station by JR rapid train. The Otaru Canal is the symbol of Otaru City.

▷Click here for more information about Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal Facility name
Otaru Canal
Address
〒047-0007 5 Minatomachi, Otaru City, Otaru Canal
Opening hours
Walking is possible throughout the year
Regular closing day
Walking is possible throughout the year
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Otaru Recommended Spots
Former Temiya Line

The abandoned ruins of the old Temiya Line, a 10-minute walk from JR Otaru Station, has become a popular tourist spot in Otaru, and during the summer months is filled with young people taking pictures with the tracks in the background. The first railroad in Hokkaido and the third in Japan to transport coal, the line was opened from Temiya to Sapporo in 1881 by an American railroad engineer, Joseph Uley Crawford.
After prospering as a coal and marine products shipper, the line was nationalized in 1906 and served as a means of transportation for the people of the province until the late Showa period (1926-1989), when it was closed down in November 1985.
The key feature is an impressive information board built from old railcars and railroad parts that were used in the past.

▷Click here for more information on Former Temiya Line.

Former Temiya Line Facility name
Former Japan National Railways Tenmiya Line
Opening hours
Walking is possible throughout the day except in winter when there is snowfall.
Regular closing day
Walking is possible throughout the day except in winter when there is snowfall.





Otaru Recommended Spots
Otaru Sakaimachi Street

When it comes to sightseeing in Otaru, the Sakaimachi Shopping Street is the second most popular spot after the Otaru Canal. It is a must-visit place when you come to Otaru. Kitaichi Glass, which is famous nationwide, Lutao Cakes, Otaru Music Box Store, Kamaei, etc. line Sakaicho Street, and it is always crowded with tourists and tour groups seeking souvenirs, lunch, gourmet foods, and sweets.
There are sushi restaurants, restaurants, and other eateries, many of which are housed in historical buildings, and the streets are romantic with an emotional atmosphere that is different from that of Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto. Glass-making workshops lining the streets of the shopping arcade are popular, as are elaborate events held throughout the shopping arcade. The Sakai-cho Shopping Street Map, which lists the stores that are members of the shopping street, is useful. It can be downloaded from the official website.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Sakaimachi Street

Otaru Sakaimachi Street Facility name
Otaru Sakaimachi Street
Address
〒047-0027 6-1, Sakaimachi, Otaru City
Phone
0134-27-1133
Opening hours
09:00〜18:00
Regular closing day
without a holiday
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Otaru Recommended Spots
Otaru Canal Cruise

The Otaru Canal has become world-famous as a sightseeing spot in Hokkaido. The many historical buildings along the canal are picturesque no matter where you cut them off.
The "Otaru Canal Cruise" is an activity experience that allows you to enjoy the popular Otaru Canal area to the fullest, and can be called the new standard for Otaru sightseeing. It is a small boat trip of about 40 minutes that allows you to enjoy the charm of Otaru, a town of history and romance, and rediscover the atmosphere of the good old days.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Canal Cruise

Otaru Canal Cruise Facility name
Otaru Canal Cruise
Adress
〒047-0007 5-4, Minato-cho, Otaru, Hokkaido
Phone
0134-31-1733
Opening hours
10:30〜20:00
Regular closing day
Open all year round (subject to change due to Corona. Check website for details)
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Otaru Recommended Spots
Otaru City Museum Canal Pavilion

The Otaru City Museum has two facilities: the Main Museum Building and the Canal Pavilion; the two facilities are about a 20-minute walk apart. The Main Museum was newly opened in July 2007 (Heisei 19), integrating the functions of the Museum and the Youth Science and Technology Museum in the former Otaru Transportation Memorial Hall located in Temiya. At the same time, the former museum, located in the "Former Otaru Warehouse" along the Otaru Canal, was renamed the Unga-kan.
The Canal Hall, which used to be a museum, has two exhibition halls: the first exhibits old photographs and maps documenting the Kitamae Ship, the herring fishery, and the changes in the town, and the second exhibits natural materials on plants and animals, allowing visitors to learn about the history of Otaru City and its blessed nature in an easy-to-understand manner. There is no charge for junior high school students and younger.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru City Museum Canal Pavilion

Otaru City Museum Canal Pavilion Facility name
Otaru City Museum Canal Pavilion
Address
1-20, Shikouchi 2-chome, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido 047-0031, Japan
Phone
0134-22-1258
Opening hours
09:30〜17:00
Regular closing day
Year-end and New Year's Eve (December 29 to January 3)
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Otaru Recommended Spots
Otaru Department Store UNGA↑

From Otaru, the city of shipping, comes good fortune...
The uninterrupted and protected flow is on our side.
May your luck open up too.

Otaru flourished as the gateway to the development of Hokkaido during the Meiji period.
Kitamae-bune ships flapped their pure white sails on the ocean, bringing many goods and culture to this area through traffic to and from Honshu.

Otaru Department Store UNGA↑ offers original products carrying the history and culture that still remain in Otaru, as well as good products from the port of call of the Kitamae Ship, from the former Otaru warehouse, the first business warehouse in Hokkaido built by the Kitamae Ship owners, Sonzaemon Nishide and Shohachi Nishitani.

The story of Otaru, which lived together with the Kitamae Senpaku, is told from this location.

We look forward to serving you with an assortment of original items that can only be found here and that will be appreciated as souvenirs.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Department Store UNGA↑

Otaru Department Store UNGA↑ Facility name
Otaru Department Store UNGA↑
Adress
〒047-0027 2-1-20 Shikinai, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido
Phone
0134-65-8150
Opening hours
11:00〜18:00
Regular closing day
without a holiday
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Recommendations for Otaru Repeat travelers

Recommendations spot for Otaru Repeaters
Otaru Tengu Mountain

Otaru Tenguyama has long been familiar to citizens as a symbol of Otaru.
It is 532 meters above sea level and can be seen from all parts of central Otaru City.
The summit can be reached by ropeway, which connects at intervals of about 6 to 12 minutes, or by car (closed during the winter season). It is also possible to reach the base of the ropeway by public transportation bus.
Otaru Tengu has five observatories, and the summit observatory in particular has been awarded a star in the "Michelin Green Guide Japon" and is a spot not to be missed. The sumptuous view from the café at the top of the mountain is so spectacular that you will want to spend hours admiring it. The night view has been selected as one of the three best night views in Hokkaido.

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Otaru Tengu Mountain Facility name
Otaru Tengu Mountain Ropeway and Ski Area
Address
〒047-0023 2-16-15 Mogami, Otaru City, Hokkaido
phone
0134-33-7381
Opening Hours
Subject to change depending on the season
Regular closing day
Subject to change depending on the season
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Recommendations spot for Otaru Repeaters
Tanaka sake Brewing Kikkogura Brewery

At its peak, Otaru had more than 50 sake breweries, but today only Tanaka Sake Brewery, which makes Otaru's local sake "Takaragawa," remains. Tanaka Sake Brewery has been in business for 120 years, since 1899, and has two stores in the city, which have long been popular with the public.
Kikkogura, which has become a tourist attraction in Otaru, is a group of former Okazaki warehouses, a one- and two-story wooden frame stone structure consisting of Buildings 1-3, built in 1905, and designated as a "historical building" by Otaru City. Tours of the Kikkogura are free of charge, but reservations should be made in advance for groups of 10 or more people.

▷Click here for more information on Tanaka sake Brewing Kikkogura Brewery

Tanaka sake Brewing Kikkogura Brewery Facility name
Tanaka sake Brewing Kikkogura Brewery
Address
〒047-0016 2-2, Nobukacho, Otaru City, Hokkaido
Phone
0134-21-2390
Opening hours
09:05〜17:55
Regular closing day
None
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Recommendations spot for Otaru Repeaters
Otaru Aquarium

Located in the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan National Park facing the Sea of Japan, Otaru Aquarium was built in July 1958 as a "marine venue" for the Hokkaido Grand Exposition, and started operation the following year in 1959 as Otaru City Aquarium. It is located in Shukuzu, about 15 minutes by car from the Otaru Canal, a famous sightseeing spot. You can also take a leisurely ride on an ocean sightseeing boat departing from Otaru Port Pier No. 3.
The museum facilities consist of four areas: the "Main Building," which exhibits a wide variety of fish and shellfish; the "Dolphin Stadium," where dolphin and otter shows are held for the whole family to enjoy; the "Marine Animal Park," where seals, walruses, sea lions, and penguins are kept; and the amusement park "Otaru Shukuzu Marine Land." Visitors can always observe up close the ecology of over 250 species of marine animals and fish.
Parking is 800 yen for regular cars and 600 yen for small cars, and can accommodate approximately 1,000 vehicles.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Aquarium

Otaru Aquarium Facility name
Otaru Aquarium
Address
3-303 Shukuzu, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido 047-0047, Japan
Opening hours
summer season09:00~17:00
winter season10:00~16:00
Regular closing day
Please check website
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Recommendations spot for Otaru Repeaters
Former Otaru Branch of NYK Line Ltd.

The former Otaru branch of NYK, with its opulent appearance, evokes the prosperity of Otaru during the Meiji period. It was built in October 1906 by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line), which is still the core company of the Mitsubishi Group. As one of the three major shipping companies in Japan, it is well known overseas and is still called the representative of Japanese marine transportation.
At that time, Otaru was expanding its commercial port function to Europe as the base of the national Hokkaido development project. At the same time, financial institutions and trading companies were active in Otaru, which was called the "Wall Street of the North," and many buildings were constructed by top architects that showcased the best of their skills.
This building symbolizes the heyday of Otaru's development. The interior of the guest room, a two-story stone building in the European Renaissance style, is extravagant and luxurious, with a plaster ceiling, chandeliers, deep red curtains, a parquet floor, an impressive carpet with a large floral pattern, and walls covered in gold-embossed leather paper with a chrysanthemum pattern that was said to have taken great effort to restore.

▷Click here for more information on Former Otaru Branch of NYK Line Ltd.

Former Otaru Branch of NYK Line Ltd. Facility name
Former Otaru Branch of NYK Line Ltd.
Address
〒047-0031 3-7-8 Ironai, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido
Phone
0134-22-3316
Opening hours
Closed until June 2024 for conservation and repair work.
Regular closing day
Closed until June 2024 for conservation and repair work.
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Recommendations spot for Otaru Repeaters
Otaru Nishin Goten

In the first half of the Meiji period, the main industry in Hokkaido was herring fishing, which produced a larger amount of herring than the coal mining industry, which later became a major industry.
From the early Meiji period, set-net fishing operators built unique buildings that served both as dormitories for many fishermen and as residences for the fishermen's bosses (masters).
In particular, the fishermen who fished in areas isolated from the village built huge buildings.
The Tanaka family of Tomari-mura on the Shakotan Peninsula also built their main house in 1897.
In Nishi-Shakotan, where cliffs continue to rise, there developed a shelter-like inlet called Fukurokoma, where herring were stored with nets.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Nishin Goten

Otaru Nishin Goten Facility name
Otaru Nishin Goten
Address
〒047-0047 3-228 Shukutsu, Otaru City, Hokkaido
Phone
0134-22-1038
Opening hours
9:00~17:00 (closing hours may change depending on the season)
Regular closing day
Winter holidays
Website
>Click here to visit our website.





Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots

Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots
Hanazono area (Retro drinking district)

Hanazono District, located in the middle of JR Otaru Station and Minami Otaru Station, has long flourished as the center of Otaru City along with the neighboring Inaho District and other areas.
National Route 5 crosses the center of Hanazono District, and the mountain side across the national highway is the area where the city hall, fire department, and other public offices are located. On the ocean side is the Hanazono Ginza shopping district, lined with old-fashioned coffee shops, sushi restaurants, and Chinese restaurants, and turning down an alleyway, you will find a tight line of small snack bars and drinking establishments. The maze of streets is a deep entertainment district with the flavor of a movie set in the Showa period.

▷Click here for more information on Hanazono area

Hanazono area (Retro drinking district) Facility name
Hanazono area (Retro drinking district)
Address
〒047-0024 Hanazono, Otaru City, Hokkaido
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots
Hokkai Seikan Otaru Factory No.3 Warehouse

Hokkai Can Otaru Factory Warehouse No. 3 was built in 1924, the year after the Otaru Canal was completed. It was built as a warehouse to store cans for canning salmon and trout manufactured for seafood processing plants on the Kamchatka Peninsula, where the North Sea fishing industry was thriving.

▷Click here for more information on Hokkai Seikan Otaru Factory No.3 Warehouse

Hokkai Seikan Otaru Factory No.3 Warehouse Facility name
Hokkai Seikan Otaru Factory No.3 Warehouse
Address
2-5, Temiya, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido 047-0041, Japan
Opening hours
It is possible to see the exterior all year round.
Regular closing day
It is possible to see the exterior all year round.
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots
Otaru City Noh Theater

The Otaru City Noh Theater (former Okazaki Family Noh Stage) was built in Otaru City, Hokkaido in 1926 for Noh performances.It is a building of high historical and cultural value, with the highest standards of dignity for a Noh stage established in the Edo period.
Ken Okazaki, a native of Sado who was a successful grain merchant and a city councilor who contributed to Otaru City, built this shrine in his residence in 1926.The wood used for the structure includes 2.4-meter diameter Jindai cedar from Sado Island, Japanese cypress from Kyushu, and pine from Hokkaido. The pine tree on the mirror panel and the bamboo at the cut door were painted by Mochinobu Kano, the 17th head of the Kano School, who spent a total of two months in Otaru.
Since its opening in 1926, the theater has hosted many distinguished guests (Princess Takamatsu, tTokugawa Ietatsu, chairman of the House of Peers), the head of the Soke school, and Noguchi Kanesuke of Yugen Noh, among others, and has hosted many important events. However, after Okazaki's death, the building was donated to Otaru City in 1954 in accordance with his dying wish.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru City Noh Theater

Otaru City Noh Theater Facility name
Otaru City Noh Theater(Former Okazaki Family Noh Stage)
Address
〒047-0024 Otaru City Public Hall, 5-2-1 Hanazono, Otaru City
Phone
0134-22-2796
Opening hours
Open to the public from June to early September
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots
Sumiyoshi Shrine

Sumiyoshi Shrine, located an 8-minute walk from Minami-Otaru Station, was founded in 1868. The shrine was originally built in 1865 when Shigeken Kikuchi, a Shinto priest of Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine, invited Sumiyoshi-no-mikoto to the shrine as the general guardian of "Wotarunai" and "Takashima. In 1881, the shrine was rebuilt at the present location, and has been in existence for 150 years.
Today, Otaru Sumiyoshi Shrine is the chief Shinto shrine of Otaru, and is always mentioned when talking about shrines in Otaru.
The three deities are the "three Sumiyoshi deities" Sokoatsutsu no Mikami, Nakaatsutsu no Mikami, and Omototsutsu no Mikami and Okinagatarashi-hime no Mikoto. According to the Chronicles of Japan and the Kojiki, these deities were born from the water that flowed down from Izanagi's body when he purified himself.

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Sumiyoshi Shrine Facility name
Sumiyoshi Shrine
Address
2-5 Suminoe, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido 047-0014, Japan
Phone
0134-23-0785
Opening hours
24hours
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



Otaru's unknown and recommended tourist spots
Night view of Otaru

Otaru is known for its beautiful nightscape, with the night view from Mount Tengu being one of the three most beautiful nightscapes in Hokkaido. The night view from Mt. Tengu, which is compact and beautiful due to the close proximity of the sea, the city, and the mountains, is a fascinating sight from any direction.

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Night view of Otaru Facility name
Otaru Tengu Mountain、Mount Kenashi View Point、Suitengu Shrine、Hiraiso Park、Asahi Observation Deck、Temiya Park
Opening hours
24 hours
Regular closing day
Open all-year-round



More in-depth Otaru attractions

More in-depth Otaru attractions
Oshoro Circular Stone

The stone circle, a 33m long x 22m wide oval shaped stone circle of various sizes, is located on a small river terrace in the western part of Otaru City. The stones were placed on a flat surface after the gentle slope at an elevation of 20 m was cut down and filled with gravel. It is a valuable site where visitors can see the remains of the ancient people's large-scale civil engineering work.

▷Click here for more information on Oshoro Circular Stone

Oshoro Circular Stone Facility name
Oshoro Circular Stone
Address
〒048-2561 2 Oshoro, Otaru City, Hokkaido
Phone
Otaru Museum 0134-33-2523
Opening hours
free to observe
Regular closing day
free to observe
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



More in-depth Otaru attractions
Otaru Temiya cave

About 1,600 years ago, the Jomon Period had already ended in the main island of Japan, and the Yayoi and Kofun Periods were underway. In Hokkaido, however, the hunting and gathering lifestyle known as the "Zokujomon Period" was still in full swing. The wall sculptures in Temiya Cave are valuable carvings made by the people of that period.

▷Click here for more information on Otaru Temiya cave

Otaru Temiya cave Facility name
Otaru Temiya cave
Address
〒047-0041 1-3-4, Temiya, Otaru City
Phone
0134-24-1092/0134-33-2523(Otaru City Museum Main Building)
Opening hours
9:30〜17:00
Regular closing day
Tuesday
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



More in-depth Otaru attractions
Northernmost point of the Otaru Canal

Many historical buildings and stone warehouses from the Meiji era, such as the former Otaru branch of the NYK Line and the former Shibusawa Warehouse, can be found on the North Canal, which has retained its ancient appearance. There are also many reminders of the old Otaru, such as gas lamps and the Hokkai Can Otaru factory. Unlike the busy Otaru Canal area, which is becoming more and more of a tourist destination, this quiet area retains the atmosphere of the old port town.

▷Click here for more information on Northernmost point of the Otaru Canal

Northernmost point of the Otaru Canal Facility name
Northernmost point of the Otaru Canal
Address
〒047-0031 3, Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



More in-depth Otaru attractions
Mt. Akaiwa

Mt. Akaiwa, located in the northwestern part of Otaru City, looks like a hill when seen from the city, but when seen from the sea on a sightseeing boat cruising along the Omotai Coast, the rugged appearance of a forest of strange reddish-brown rocks and peaks rising from zero meters above sea level is overwhelmingly powerful. It is also one of the best rock-climbing areas in Hokkaido, and many climbers are climbing on the rocks.

▷Click here for more information on Mt. Akaiwa

Mt. Akaiwa Facility name
Mt. Akaiwa
Opening hours
24 hours
Regular closing day
Open all-year-round
Website
>Click here to visit our website.



More in-depth Otaru attractions
Otamoi Coastline

Otamoi Coast, included in the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan National Park, which became the third place in Hokkaido to be designated as a national monument in 1963, is located in the northern part of Otaru.
It is an unexplored spot where visitors can take a sightseeing boat to see the magnificent and breathtaking scenery of cliffs and strange rocks in the clear blue Shakotan blue sea from the sea side.The mysterious-sounding name "Otamoi" comes from the Ainu word meaning "sandy cove. It is currently the only place name in katakana in Otaru.

▷Click here for more information on Otamoi Coastline

Otamoi Coastline Facility name
Otamoi Coastline
Opening hours
Tourist boat operation must be confirmed.
Regular closing day
Tourist boat operation must be confirmed.
Website
>Click here to visit our website.

Otaru Travel Guide Category List

First recommendation for Otaru. Shop on Otaru North Canal. Highlights of the North Canal. Spectacular view of Otaru. Spiritual place in Otaru. Delicious restrants in Otaru. History and literature of Otaru. Historic buildings in Otaru. Glass of Otaru. Gifts and Souvenirs from Otaru First trip to Otaru|3hour tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|6hour tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|1day tour course|Touring Otaru First trip to Otaru|2day tour course|Touring Otaru
Otaru Street Walking Map

Otaru Canal Walking Guide

Otaru Seasonal Events

February: Otaru Snow Light Path
Otaru Snow Light Path" started in 1999 as a countermeasure to overcome the decrease in the number of tourists during the winter season. It is held every February and has become one of Otaru's representative events, attracting about 500,000 visitors over the 10 days or so it is held. It was named after a collection of poems by Otaru-born poet, Sei Ito, titled "Yukimari no Michi" (The Road of Snow Light). The warm glow of the candles will envelop Otaru's unique old streets, which have many historical buildings such as banks and warehouses built in the Meiji and Taisho periods. During the festival, more than 100,000 candles are used to light the streets with the cooperation of volunteers from Japan and overseas, who come to light the candles with the warmth of human touch.

Otaru Snow Light Path

February - March: Hina Festival at Tanaka Sake Brewery Honten
This event is held at the Tanaka Sake Brewery head office to wish for the healthy growth and happiness of girls by displaying hina dolls from different eras donated by Otaru citizens. About 200 hina dolls will be on display, including hina dolls created as far back as the early Showa period, wooden hina dolls, and all handmade Japanese paper hina dolls. During the event, in addition to "peach amazake" and "amazake sakura mochi" with sakekasu, which are associated with the Peach Festival, amazake sweets such as "hina-sake manju" and "sakagura no dorayaki" made with aromatic junmai daiginjo sakekasu, "amazake mousse" and "sakekasu yokan" are also available in limited quantities.

Hina Festival at Tanaka Sake Brewery Honten

March: Otaru Wadaiko Festival
The Otaru Wadaiko Festival brings together groups from Otaru and Goshi to perform powerful taiko drumming on the stage of the Civic Auditorium's Main Hall. The purpose of the festival is to stimulate and raise the level of performance among groups that do not usually compete with each other. Not only can you hear the unique performances of each group, but at the end of the festival, representative members of all participating groups come together on stage for a powerful joint performance by all groups.

Otaru Wadaiko Festival

May: Otaru Spring Festival
An annual spring event for both residents and visitors in the latter half of May. Otaru Spring Festival" is held for three days to enjoy the spring in Otaru City by "eating" and "playing" as much as possible. This festival is well known by many people as a local spring tradition. It is a large-scale festival held jointly by eight shopping streets in the city. What you can't miss is the wide variety of stalls where you can enjoy Otaru's gourmet food. Hokkaido is full of delicious food, and everything you eat will be great. There are also many participatory events such as a karaoke contest and a quick-eating contest.

Otaru Spring Festival

May-June: Otaru Kihin Kan Former Aoyama Villa "Peony Festival
The former Aoyama Villa is designated as a "Registered Tangible Cultural Property" by the Japanese government. The building, also called Nishin Goten (Nishin Palace), is said to have cost 3 billion yen in today's terms, and has a floor space of 190 tsubo. The "Peony and Peony Festival" is held in late May when peonies and peonies bloom in the courtyard. A total of 750 flowers (430 peonies of 40 varieties and 320 peonies of 37 varieties) will be in full bloom, creating an even more gorgeous and elegant atmosphere.

Peony Festival

July: Otaru Ushio Festival
The Otaru Ushio Festival, held every July, is a major summer event in Otaru and was started as an opportunity to pass on Otaru's history and culture to the next generation and to pray for the development of Otaru. The three-day festival is filled with exciting events such as a dance parade by local businesses and organizations, a portable shrine parade, and tidal drums. The fireworks display on the final day of the festival is a spectacular spectacle centered around a star-mine and other spectacular fireworks. The fireworks display is located near the center of the city, so it can be seen from a wide area, and can also be viewed from Mt.

Otaru Ushio Festival

July: Marine Festa in Otaru
Marine Festa in Otaru" is a marine festival held at five venues throughout the town. It is an event that symbolizes the port city of Otaru and is a popular summer event in the area. The "Water Motorcycle Experience" at Chikko Waterfront Park and the "Cruiser and Motor Boat Ride" at Otaru Port Marina are especially popular. You can have an experience that is not usually possible.

Marine Festa in Otaru

September: Otaru Shukutsu Fireworks Festival
The Shukutsu Fireworks Festival is the main event of the Otaru Fireworks Festival. It is a distinctive, handmade event with fireworks for praying for a big catch, memorial services, and celebrations, mainly by local residents. The fireworks display starts at around 19:00 from Shukutsu Maehama beach in Otaru City, with approximately 1,500 shots being shot off in a huge volume. On the day of the festival, Otaru Kipperu Goten will be illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00, presenting a view that can only be seen here. Also, you can feel the atmosphere of the summer festival that is not over yet with the festival's unique stalls lined up near the venue.

Otaru Shukutsu Fireworks Festival

October: Otaru Warehouse No.1 "Octoberfest
This annual event is held at Otaru Beer Otaru Warehouse No. 1 in honor of "Octoberfest," the world's largest beer festival held in Germany, the home of beer. Octoberfest" was first brewed on the occasion of the Royal Wedding in 1810, and is held every year for two weeks starting in late September at Teresaplatz in Munich. About 6.7 million people gather from around the world to enjoy beer that can only be tasted at Octoberfest. The amount of beer consumed is approximately 5.6 million liters. Otaru Beer's Otaru Festbier is a reproduction of the Festbier drunk there. It has a strong malt aroma and a slight sweetness. During the event, Otaru Warehouse No. 1 offers all-you-can-drink beverages, including beer, for three hours for a fixed fee. This event is a must for beer lovers.

Otaru Warehouse No.1

November-February: Otaru-Yoichi Yuki Monogatari
The long-run winter promotion "Otaru-Yoichi Yuki Monogatari" runs from November to mid-February. Starting with the "Blue Canal" where the Otaru Canal is romantically decorated with approximately 10,000 blue LED bulbs until 10:30 p.m., popular canal cruises are also decorated with blue lights during the period, and visitors can enjoy the fantastic Otaru Canal with the blue of the illumination combined with the blue of the sky. The "Wine Glass Tower" made by citizens will be set up inside the "Canal Plaza," the base of sightseeing in Otaru, and the "Glass Art Gallery" will be set up at JR Otaru Station, displaying art works by glass studios in Otaru City. The "Glass Art Gallery" will gently welcome visitors as they arrive at Otaru Station in the winter. In the neighboring town of Yoichi, "Yoichi Yuki Monogatari" will start at the same time, so it is recommended to enjoy it together.

Otaru-Yoichi Yuki Monogatari

December: Otaru Snow Fireworks
The fireworks display held in Otaru in winter from 2000 to 2011 will no longer be held after 2011. Volunteers in their 30s and 40s in Otaru got together and started the Otaru Snow Fireworks Project in 2019, a project to make large flowers bloom in the winter night sky, hoping to create this spectacle they saw when they were students, this time by themselves. Otaru Snow Fireworks features a romantic production that synchronizes fireworks and music. It will create a beautiful winter night sky. On the day of the event, a music event will be held at Wing Bay Otaru, and food booths will be set up.

Otaru Snow Fireworks

About Otaru City

History of Otaru City
Otaru City began in the Keicho era (1596-1610) during the Edo period (1603-1868), when the land was settled by the feudal lords of the Matsumae domain as land given to their vassals. Later, more and more people migrated from the south in search of herring, and in 1865, 314 houses were built by fishermen, creating a village-like organization.

Otaru City

In the Meiji Era, the new Japanese government decided to make Sapporo the base for Hokkaido development. At a time when overland routes had not yet been developed, the port of Otaru was constructed as a supply base for goods brought in by sea. In order to store and keep the goods brought in from the port, wooden and stone warehouses were built one after another along the seafront. In 1880, Hokkaido's first railroad, the government-run Horonai Railroad, was built, and Otaru became a port for transporting the energy and coal that supported Japan's modernization.

Meanwhile, the herring fishing season was at its peak, and many migrant fishermen from Honshu came to Otaru. Immigrants from all over the country also flocked to Otaru, and the town became a melting pot of local cultures and customs. In the late Meiji period (1868-1912), the development of the harbor reached its peak and Otaru grew rapidly as one of the leading economic and port cities in Japan. The "Former Otaru Branch of NYK Line" and the "Former Otaru Branch of the Bank of Japan", both of which are now nationally important cultural properties, are representative examples.

Otaru City

Otaru's boom continued into the Taisho era (1912-1926). The prosperity of Otaru can be seen in the many banks that still remain in Otaru as historical buildings. During this period, in order to improve the efficiency of "barge loading and unloading," the process of transferring cargo from large ships anchored off the harbor to warehouses, the coast was reclaimed and a canal was constructed. This was the birth of the Otaru Canal.

According to the first national census conducted in 1920, Otaru had the 13th largest population in Japan. In order to increase the population and foster the development of commerce, a local businessman invested his own money to invite a higher commercial school (now Otaru University of Commerce) to Otaru, and the city also began to mature as a cultural city.

Even after entering the Showa period, the economy continued to boom until around 1935. The prewar Showa Depression did not have a major impact on Otaru's economy, as the city's economic zone encompassed Hokkaido and Sakhalin Island as a supply base for food and raw materials.

After the end of World War II, Otaru seemed to have regained its prewar prosperity as a base port for reconstruction, but in the 1950s, the momentum of Otaru Port stalled due to a decline in demand for coal caused by a change in energy policy and changes in the port cargo situation. In the late 1950s, banks, trading companies, and trading companies that had head offices and branches in the downtown area began to withdraw one after another. Losing its major industries, Otaru became a "city in decline.

Under such circumstances, the "Canal Preservation Movement" arose over the reclamation of the Otaru Canal, which had lost its original role. This citizen-led movement to give new value to an old and worthless object was picked up by the news and became nationally famous. Today, Otaru is one of the most popular tourist cities in Hokkaido, attracting 8 million visitors annually, and the Otaru Canal has become an indispensable symbol of the city.

Otaru City

Outline of Otaru City
Otaru City is located on the east side of the Goshi region, almost in the center of the west coast of Hokkaido, and is a port town rich in nature surrounded by mountains on three sides. It borders four municipalities including Sapporo City. It is about 36 km east to west and 20 km north to south, with a fishing port where fresh seafood is landed and a coastal landscape of precipitous cliffs, offering a variety of views depending on the season and weather. The climate is maritime with a small difference in temperature between the cold and hot seasons in Hokkaido, making it a very comfortable place to live. The rich nature can be enjoyed in all four seasons: cherry blossoms and fresh greenery in spring, golf and marine leisure activities in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and skiing in winter.

Around the Otaru Canal, which is crowded with tourists, stone warehouses and historical buildings create a nostalgic atmosphere. At night, some of the historical buildings are illuminated, creating a relaxing and romantic atmosphere.

Otaru City Data

【 Population 】
110,410 (as of December 31, 2021)

【 Area 】
243.83 square km

【 Town Size Ranking in Hokkaido 】
120th place

【 Access 】
From Sapporo: about 39 km (about 50 minutes by car)


About this website

This Website is a sightseeing information site for Otaru operated by UNGA↑ (Unga Plus Co., Ltd.), which tells the history of Otaru and Kitamae-ship.