One of Hokkaidō's most popular tourist destinations for Japanese visitors, Otaru is a romantic port town steeped in a rich history that dates back to its glory days as a major herring centre. Otaru was the terminal station for Hokkaidō's first railroad, and today nostalgic warehouses and buildings still line the picturesque canal district. There are great options for foodies, and if you're into music boxes or any kind of glass object imaginable, you'll go gaga in Otaru.
JR Otaru Station is up the hill and inland from the canal and port. Head out the main doors and straight down Chūo-dōri for 10 minutes to get to the canal.
Otaru destination guides
Japan Northern Explorer
A captivating journey to the rugged region of northern Japan
Japan Winter Festivals
Be entranced by winter in Japan. Experience the sensational Sapporo Snow Festival, be awestruck by the size of the snow sculptures at Asahikawa and watch the soft lantern light cast its magic over festival-goers in Otaru.