Japan, Hokkaido, Otaru-shi, Otaru Canal (Photo by: JTB Photo/UIG via Getty Images)

UIG via Getty Images


Otaru (小樽) was the financial center of Hokkaidō – a bustling center of trade with Russia and China – in the early 20th century. The city's elite invested some of those riches in the construction of grand, Western-style buildings of stone and brick – the style of the time – many of which line the town's central canal. This atmosphere makes Otaru very popular with domestic visitors.


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