Hokkaidō island hosts a port-town with a unique European atmosphere: we are now introducing Otaru, 30 minutes by train from Sapporo!
What kind of city is Otaru?
In the port-town of Otaru there are many things to see: among those, we suggest the Canal area, which maintains well the shape of the old days.
On its sides ware-houses made by bricks lay one next to the other. Today they are restaurants, museums and souvenir shops.
The pavement along the canal has been renewed and some art pieces can be seen while walking.
Noticing how the canal changes during the day is also interesting: at night gas lamps enlighten it here and there creating a romantic atmosphere.
In winter the fallen snow create a majestic landscape.
On the eastern side of the canal Sakaimachi-doori takes place: here you can still find the old merchants’ shops.
Otaru’s economy flourished during the time when Japan colonized Hokkaidō.
Many companies established their headquarters right in this town.
The western-styled buildings are many. One of these is the Nihon-ginkō, which is nowadays an accessible museum.
We suggest you to see the Music Box Museum also: here you can find many music boxes and souvenirs are also being sold.
This is a popular spot in Otaru.
There are also shops selling glass statues nearby.
On the western side of the canal lays an important heritage, a building which hosts the Kyūnihon–yūsen company.
In its square a gorgeous fountain takes place.
The western-styled rooms of the building are nowa museum.
Close to this area you can find the Otaru-shi General Museum: it is mainly about railways but also about Otaru’s history in general.
Outside you can see many trains and get on a steam locomotive.
We recommend you the Otaru Aquarium. In winter you can behold the march of penguins here!
To understand about access to the city, click here!
We could behold the sea of Japan from the train, during the journey from Sapporo to Otaru.
Otaru Station‘s building has a perceptible retro atmosphere: high ceilings and many windows create a wide environment.
We got out of the station and started walking along the central avenue, so we saw several western-style buildings.
Along the street there is a famous pastry shop on a shopping arcade called Miyako-doori.
By proceeding on the main avenue we came by an abandoned railway line across the street:
this was once the Temiya-line, which used to connect Sapporo to Otaru.
The central avenue finally took me to the canal area.
There were many tourists and little shops, where we stopped for a fishing products-based lunch: the port town of Otaru is a true masterpiece!
For what concerns food, there is a place called Otaru-Denukikoji in Otaru: it is a Meiji and Shōwa themed food village.
There are 13 restaurants here where you can enjoy Otaru’s special dishes.
After our sightseeing here, we stepped toward Sakaimachi-doori, where our eyes have been captured by the Museum of the Northern Venice.
Many pieces of art in glass were exposed here.
They were all so detailed we lost the concept of time while we were looking at them.
Sakaimachi-doori leads to the Meruhen Junction.
Around this spot there are several western-style buildings and it really feels like being in Europe.
The Music Box Museum is also here.
You can purchase many music boxes inside the shops, in all shapes and colors, original and customized, just perfect as souvenir!