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Basic Otaru Information

【Otaru Statistics】

Otaru City has a population of 125,875 people, with 56,850 males and 69,025 females.


Compared to Tokyo, average temperatures are always colder, roughly what you would expect a month closer to winter. Cherry blossoms typically bloom around the Golden Week spring holiday period, and while summer days can occasionally exceed 30 °C, from mid-August onward, mornings and evenings can suddenly become cool. Otaru’s long winter lasts from late November to March.

【Monthly Climate and Clothing】

March■Average High 3.4 °C/Average Low -2.8 °C (For other months below, only temperatures are shown)

Clothing/Winter wear. Winter boots (warm and slip-resistant boots) are essential. For those without winter footwear, we recommend to try pull-on slip guards that can be worn over your footwear. These can be purchased at convenience stores.


Spring coat with a long-sleeved inner. Until the beginning of April, melting snow will leave puddles on roads and paths, and remaining snow may present a slipping hazard. Please carefully select appropriate footwear.


Morning and evenings are chilly, and wind can be cold. Jackets recommended.


Brisk weather with little rain and low humidity. We still get cold days, so visitors are recommended to pack for a range of temperatures.


Summer days will sometimes exceed 30, but nighttime winds are cold, so it’s advisable to take a long-sleeve with you. In late July, it’s possible to enjoy sea bathing.


Bright sunlight can continue to shine down all day long, but it can still be cool in the mornings and evenings, so don’t forget at least one long-sleeve. Autumnal weather begins to be seen in the latter half of August.


Days tend to be pleasant, but can be cold. Short sleeves would be uncomfortable.


Minimum temperatures will drop below 10 °C. Wind is chilly. Otaru’s first snows will generally fall around late October. Outerwear is essential.


With maximum temperatures below 10 °C, temperatures are drastically colder. Snow is common. A long-sleeve thermal inner shirt is recommended. Winter wear will be required from late November.


The cold of winter is truly here. From mid-December, snowfall will no longer melt, and begin to accumulate over the winter. Icicles hang from building eaves. Warm clothing will be necessary, so please bring winter coats and sweaters, down jackets, or the like. Dressing in layers can help protect against the cold. Mufflers, gloves, and hats that cover the ears (or earmuffs) are also useful. As the snow tends to be light and powdery, you’ll notice the locals don’t use umbrellas.



From New Chitose Airport to Otaru: Please take the JR Rapid Airport bound for Otaru. Travel time is about 70 minutes. On the way to Otaru, we recommend sitting on the right side to enjoy views of the ocean as the train enters Otaru. Across the bay, the 2000-meter high Mashike Mountains will bid you welcome!
From Sapporo to Otaru: There are two JR Rapid Airport trains per hour, departing at 14 past and 44 past the hour. Travel time is 32 minutes. 640 yen one way. For a touch of luxury, reserved seating (“U-Seat”) is available for an extra 310 yen.


Express buses to Otaru (Kosoku Otaru Bus) are a convenient option if you are transiting from a hotel in downtown Sapporo. Buses are operated by Chuo Bus and JR Hokkaido Bus. From Sapporo to Otaru, it takes about one hour, and the fare is 610 yen one way.


Shin Nihonkai Ferry operates boats from Maizuru, Tsuruga, and Niigata to Otaru (Katsunai Pier). This can be a convenient way to access Otaru.Along the way, you may even be so lucky to see schools of dolphins. It’s about 10 minutes by taxi from Otaru Ferry Terminal to Otaru Station, or about 5 minutes to Otaru Chikko Station.