A ten minute walk from JR Otaru Station straight towards the ocean will take you to Otaru Canal. The stone-paved paths alongside the canals have a certain romantic charm, further accented by the light of the old-fashioned gas lamps. Each season brings its own breathtaking colors to the canal – green, red, or white. Every February, the “Otaru Snow Light Path” attracts visitors from around Hokkaido to see the “Golden Canal”.
Otaru Canal was completed in 1923. The stone buildings near the canal are still in use today, serving as warehouses, museums, or live music clubs.
Shachihoko (dolphin-like ornaments) decorate the rooftops of landmark warehouses. They were thought to ward away accidental fires.
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The stretch between the Otaru Canal Terminal to Marchen Intersection is lined with businesses which use the old stone warehouses to provide unique Otaru experiences. Glass crafts, sushi, music boxes, sweets, cafes, museums, seafood stores and more attract throngs of tourists throughout the year. This is a wonderful opportunity to sample the flavors of Otaru. Sakaimachi Shopping Street is about a ten minute walk from either Otaru Station or Minami Otaru Station.
Along Sakaimachi Street, you will find historical buildings from Japan’s Meiji and Taisho periods such as former banks and mercantile houses, which are now used by new businesses.
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This station building was designed based on the motif of Ueno Station in Tokyo. The No. 4 Platform is nicknamed “Yujiro Platform” after former mayor of Tokyo and yachtsman Yujiro Ishihara, and the platform lamp’s number “4” is even fashioned into a yacht design. The triangular plaza is a perfect location to wait for your friends.
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This street, once a keystone of Hokkaido’s economy with branches of the Bank of Japan as well as major urban banks and trading houses from throughout Japan, came to be called “the Wall Street of the North”. Even today, a number of historical buildings remain to tell the tale of Otaru’s past. A true treasure trove of history and heritage.
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Otaru is home to over 130 restaurants serving sushi. The heart of Otaru’s sushi culture is focused in the “Otaru Sushiya Street” area. Fresh fish straight from the ocean make Otaru sushi an absolute delight.
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The observation platform on Mt Tengu’s 532.5 meter high summit is easily accessed by ropeway. The panoramic scene of Otaru’s cityscape and Ishikari Bay unfolds before the eyes, sparkling romantically at night as one of Hokkaido’s three great night views. The perfect destination for a date, and a notable ski hill in winter. The “Tengu Hall” displays 700 tengu (long-nosed mountain spirit) masks from throughout Japan!
The “Mt Tengu Slider” located at the summit is incredibly fun! Thrilling speeds of up to 40 kilometers will make riders shriek with joy. (Closed in rainy weather)
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Shukutsu brings together the very best of Otaru. Incredible ocean views and sea lion, dolphin, and penguin shows at the Otaru Aquarium will amaze and delight visitors. The setting sun over the bay is particularly spectacular, and may even bring tears to the eyes. Sightseeing boats offer another way to view this beautiful scenery up close.
The area offers a wealth of sights, including old-fashioned fishermen’s houses, the Otaru Kihinkan Mansion, the Otaru Herring Mansion (Nishin Goten), Hiyoriyama Lighthouse, and much more.
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Thirty minutes by bus from Otaru Station. This common salt spring has source temperatures ranging from 30-42 °C. In summer, the area is a popular tennis and golf destination, with cottage and campground facilities also available. In winter, Asarigawa Ski Resort attracts flocks of enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders. It’s not far to a number of breathtaking sights such as Asarigawa Dam, Lake Otarunai, and the Asari Sky Loop Bridge.
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