Otaru Travel Guide

  • Otaru
    by Strad
  • Otaru
    by Strad
  • Otaru
    by Strad

Otaru Things to Do

  • Otaru Music Boxes

    The music box befits this city of history and romance. Otaru Orgel Emporium is Japan's largest shop specializing in music-boxes. Hundreds of models are on display, both large and small, including early 19th century antiques for sale.

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  • Otaru Canal

    Otaru Canal is interesting but along the way from the Otaru Statioon to the canal, there are covered shopping alley, shops selling foodstuffs, king crab, live seafood, etc.The walk from Otaru Station to the canal covers about 8 streets away.

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  • Visit the Bank of Japan Otaru Museum

    This was a nice slightly off the beaten path, and much quieter compared to the Glass Shops Tourist Shops. For the architecture enthusiast, This building was constructed in 1912, designed by the reknowned architects such as Kingo Tatsuno and Uheiji Nagano, also of the Tokyo Central Station Red Brick Building fame.

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  • Visit the Museo Dell'Arte Veneziana

    This is a major landmark building located in the tourist strip of boutique gift shops owned by Kitaichi Glass Company. The Italian style glass museum features a huge gondola in the middle of the ground floor, and on other floors there are recreations of affluent lifestyle of Renaissance-era Italy. Activities including the opportunity to dress in...

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  • Otaru Glass - Kitaichi Venetian Art...

    Otaru had a thriving herring fishing trade. Glass buoys were used to light up fishing boats at night to attract herrings. A glass industry flourished in Otaru to support the herring trade. When the herring fishing industry declined in the 1950s, the makers of glass buoys diverted their business to produce refined glassware, as the demand for buoys...

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  • Otaru Canal

    Otaru Canal is the symbol of this city. The gaslights and stone warehouses along the canal produce a beautiful and romantic nightscape popular with young couples. There are many cafes, museums, restaurants & shops as well as the brewery restaurant belonging to Otaru Beer. Painters and other artists set up their easels along the canal reminiscent of...

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  • Otaru warehouse

    The first licensed warehouse was built from 1890 till 1894. It played a major role in the shipping industrie.

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  • Otaru canal

    This is the main attraction here in Otaru. You can walk along the canal. In the old buildings along it, you find shops and restaurants.

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  • Kitaichi Glass Shops

    When the herring fishing industry declined in the 1950s, the makers of glass buoys diverted their business to produce refined glassware, as the demand for buoys plunged. The result today are numerous glass shops, which now carter mainly to souvenir hungry tourists. Among the glass related attractions are the Kitaichi Glass Shops of Otaru's most...

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Otaru Hotels

See all 31 Hotels in Otaru
  • Otaru Asari Classe Hotel

    This hotel is located about 30 min. by car from Otaru Station, though there is regular free shuttle...

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  • Dormy Inn Premium Otaru

    3-9-1 Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido, 047-0032, Japan

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Otaru Furukawa

    1-2-15 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido, 047-0031, Japan

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

Otaru Restaurants

  • Don't miss the sushi.

    All the fish are directly from the wholesales market in the 6:00am every day. So their sushi is fresh and cheap.

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  • Coffee in Otaru

    This is a nice little place that our tour guide recommended. He comes here on each of his trip to have a cup of coffee and cake. The GREAT thing about this place is that you order your coffee and get to choose the cup that it comes in. The coffee comes with a slice of cake, and the BEST part ? you get to keep the cup. There is a sink at the side of...

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  • Eating is one of the main...

    Eating is one of the main reasons for coming to Otaru. There were lots of restaurants near the canal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough room in my budget. There is a yummy ramen shop after you cross the Asakusa bridge.

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Otaru Transportation

  • By train

    By fast train it's only 30 minutes from Sapporo. The slower train takes nearly twice as much time. For some stretches the train runs right along the sea.From the station you can walk straight down the street until you hit the canal.

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  • To and Around Otaru

    From Sapporo, take a train for Y620. It's a 35 minute ride by express or 50 minutes by ordinary train. You can also come by bus from Sapporo Station (Y590, 55 mins). Or if you are on Honshu, look into the 31 hour ferry ride from Maizuru, or shorter trips from Tsuruga, or Niigata. The fares start from just Y6980 for a basic trip -ex Maizuru. Call:...

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  • Train is the way to go. If...

    Train is the way to go. If you are coming from Sapporo, sit on the right-hand side and you’ll get a beautiful view of the Sea of Japan (or Korea – whichever way you want to look at it). I can’t remember the exact cost but it’s less than 1000\.

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Otaru Shopping

  • robberjak's Profile Photo

    by robberjak Written Oct 10, 2003

    MyCal has everything under one roof. The whole complex is 0.8km in length and there are four levels for shopping. Excellent place to escape to when snow covers the city and the weather is less than wonderful. The Hilton Hotel is in the centre.
    My favourite part is on the ground floor in the centre of the complex, an area called Outlet Town. Here you can buy at factory prices. My favourite store here is Columbia and I buy something from here at least once a month. Prices are anything up to 70% below what you pay at the Columbia shop in Sapporo!
    There is a department store at the western end of MyCal, called Posful, and the Eastern Wing there's Wing Bay Otaru, with a variety of stores, including a fantastic book shop (3rd floor, English books and mags), furniture, electronics, HMV and a variety of other kinds of shops. On the fourth floor in the centre is MyCal Warner Cinema complex, and a gym and swimming pools.
    Back to ground floor, in the centre of the complex is Seattles Best Coffee - and they have staff here who speak English!
    MyCal opened in late 1999 and has been through a number of reincarnations. It's now back to almost full operating capacity again.
    You can catch a train or bus to MyCal (JPY200 from Otaru Station, get off at Otaru Chikko), or if you drive, there's over 5000 parks, most of them covered underground or on upper levels. Outdoor parking can be found at the far western (Posful) end. The first hour is free, and if you buy over Y1000 worth of stuff (accumulated or in one hit - even the post office counts!) you can get your parking ticket validated for a total of five hours free parking.

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Otaru Local Customs

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    by robberjak Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Residents may seem a bit wary of you, the traveller. This is because of the number of Russian seamen that visit town. Some of these guys get quite drunk and abusive so there has been a lot of friction in the past between locals and visitors as a result. I'd like to stress that guys like this are a total minority - every Russian I have met to date here has been quite friendly - but unfortunately, those that have acted up in the past have made life really tough on everyone else. So don't be irritated or put off if you are asked where you come from. Have a smiley face when you give your answer. As for the stories about the onsens here, my family and I have never been denied entry - in fact, they have been quite welcoming - and the only onsen with the reputation of banning gaijin let in a kiwi friend of ours after she explained that she understood japanese bathing etiquette.

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Otaru Warnings and Dangers

  • by JT3933 Written Mar 12, 2004

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    In the past some onsens have denied admission to non-Japanese. Thanks to a lawsuit this situation has improved, but the onsen that was sued, Yunohana, still denies admission to non-Japanese who don't speak Japanese.

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Otaru What to Pack

  • robberjak's Profile Photo

    by robberjak Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Winter equals snow, and mountains of it! If you come from mid-late November through to end-March or early-April, you will need good snow footwear - sneakers won't cut it and you will suffer from wet, cold feet if you choose to wear them. Be careful of plastic soled shoes because you will kiss the icy sidewalk more often than you wish if you choose to wear these. If you find the shoes you have brought with you are hopeless, pop into a shoe shop and pick up a pair of ice-grippers. These little devices use elastic (no damage to your shoes- they go on, and come off easily) to put a grip onto the ball-part of the sole of your shoe. Cheap and very effective!

    Photo Equipment: It gets extremely cold in winter so take it into consideration if using photographic or video equipment outdoors. Our state of the art video camera choked when we wanted to do some night shooting last December!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Watch for bears! Seriously! Oh, and bring your mosquito repellant.

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Otaru Off The Beaten Path

  • Rent a car and drive to Cape Kamui

    About 70km North west from Otaru is Cape Kamui (神威岬) in Shakotan (積丹町).On the route to breathtaking sea views, are small fishing villages dotting the area.Mapcode to the parking area near Cape Kamui is 932 582 661*81.It's a 10-15min walk to the Cape from the parking area, lots of stairs so I would say it is...

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  • Lake Toya

    This caldera lake is almost 43km in circumference.Of course you can find fhe nice spa around here.Noboribetsu spa is one of the best spa in Japan.

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  • Mt.Usu

    This mountain erupt 4times in 100year.Last eruption happend in 2000.May be the first eruption was in 17 century.Now you can reach the mid of mountain by ropeway.

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Otaru Sports & Outdoors

  • RoseAmano's Profile Photo

    by RoseAmano Written Mar 1, 2009

    Located about 30 mins. by car from Otaru station, there are plenty of ski slopes in the area. Hotels attached to the ski slopes offer free shuttle transport as well.

    Skiiing in Otaru area, Japan
    Related to:
    • Skiing and Boarding

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Otaru Favorites

See all 5 Favorites in Otaru
  • Other old buildings

    When you walk in the center from the canal to the clock tower, you will see a variety of old buildings. The point is that they have a plate in front of them, so you can read what they are in English and Russian.

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  • Meiji and Taisho era buildings

    Along the canal you find these one storey buildings. Unfortunately, I don't remember what is what. So just enjoy the photos.

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  • Great Sources of Information !!!!!!!!

    Some useful travel websites on Japan / Hokkaido :-http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/RTP/Hokkaido/index.htmlhttp://www.welcome.city.sapporo.jp/tourism/e/index.htmlhttp://www.business.australia.or.jp/sapporo/hokkaido/

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