Nestled in the Hokkaido region of Japan, Otaru offers a unique experience to travelers seeking historical sites, natural beauty, culinary delights, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in art and culture. Here are ten thrilling things you must do when you visit Otaru.
Explore Otaru’s Historical Sites
Step back in time and explore some of Otaru’s historical sites that bear the city’s rich heritage. Otaru is a city located in Hokkaido, Japan, and is known for its beautiful historical sites that attract visitors from all over the world.
One of Otaru’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks, the Otaru Canal, is a sight to behold. This 2.8-kilometer long canal was built during the Taisho era and was used to transport goods from Otaru port to the city. Today, the canal is a picturesque spot where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or a boat ride and take in the charming atmosphere. The canal is surrounded by beautiful old buildings that have been preserved, and the canal is lit up at night, providing a romantic and magical atmosphere.
Visitors can also enjoy the Otaru Canal Cruise, which takes you on a 40-minute boat ride along the canal, providing a unique perspective of the city. During the winter months, the canal is transformed into a magical wonderland with snow and ice sculptures, making it a popular spot for tourists.
The Herring Mansions
The Herring Mansions were once the residences of the wealthiest herring fishermen during the early 20th century. These mansions are now open to the public, allowing visitors to experience the opulent lifestyle of Otaru’s past. The mansions are located in the hills overlooking the city and offer breathtaking views of the sea and the city below. Visitors can explore the mansions and learn about the history of the herring fishing industry in Otaru.
The Otaru Herring Festival is held every November, and visitors can sample various herring dishes and learn about the history and culture of herring fishing in Otaru.
Otaru City Museum
The Otaru City Museum provides visitors with an in-depth understanding of Otaru’s history, culture, and industry, including its development as a major port town. The museum also houses collections of handicrafts, glassware, and other artifacts that showcase the town’s heritage. The museum is located in a beautiful building that was once a bank and has been restored to its former glory.
Visitors can also explore the nearby Otaru Music Box Museum, which houses a vast collection of music boxes and other musical instruments. The museum also offers workshops where visitors can make their own music boxes.
Overall, Otaru’s historical sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the city’s past while enjoying its beautiful scenery and unique atmosphere.
Discover Otaru’s Natural Beauty
For nature lovers, Otaru boasts some of the most picturesque and breathtaking views in Japan. From the lush greenery of its mountains to the crystal-clear waters of its coastline, Otaru offers a unique and unforgettable experience for all who visit.
Mount Tengu is a must-visit destination for those who want to experience the beauty of Otaru from above. The mountain offers stunning views of the entire city of Otaru and its surroundings. Visitors can take a cable car ride up to the peak, where they can enjoy fabulous panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
At the summit of Mount Tengu, visitors can also explore the Tengu Park Observatory, where they can learn about the history and culture of the region while taking in the breathtaking views.
Otaru Aquarium is a perfect place for visitors to experience Otaru’s marine life. The aquarium is home to various species of fish and marine animals, including salmon, seals, and penguins, all living in a uniquely crafted environment. Visitors can enjoy a variety of exhibits, including a massive tank that houses over 2,000 fish and a “touch pool” where visitors can interact with starfish and other sea creatures.
One of the highlights of the aquarium is the “Penguin Parade,” where visitors can watch the adorable penguins waddle around the aquarium’s outdoor pool. The aquarium also offers a variety of educational programs and events, making it a perfect destination for families with children.
Shukutsu Panorama Observation Deck
From Shukutsu Panorama Observation Deck, visitors can marvel at the scenic beauty of the Sea of Japan and the Shukutsu Peninsula, a place known for its rugged coastline and peaceful serenity. The observation deck is located on a hilltop, offering a stunning panoramic view of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the observation deck’s walking trail, which leads to a lighthouse and a small beach. The beach is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking, offering visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Overall, Otaru offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers. With its stunning mountains, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life, Otaru is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of Japan.
Indulge in Otaru’s Culinary Delights
Otaru, a charming port city in Hokkaido, Japan, is not only known for its picturesque canal and historic buildings, but also for its diverse culinary scene. The city has made its mark on the country’s food culture, becoming a favorite spot for foodies across Japan.
Otaru Sushi Street
If you’re a sushi lover, Otaru Sushi Street is a paradise that you shouldn’t miss. The street is lined with sushi restaurants, each with a unique style and atmosphere. You can find everything from traditional nigiri sushi to creative fusion rolls that incorporate local ingredients. The fish used in the sushi is incredibly fresh, as it is caught daily from the Sea of Japan. Some of the most popular sushi restaurants in Otaru include Masazushi, Hanamaru, and Sushizen.
Aside from sushi, Otaru also offers a variety of other seafood dishes. You can try uni (sea urchin) rice bowls, crab hot pots, and grilled squid skewers at local restaurants such as Sankaku Market and Kitaichi Glass Cafe.
Otaru beer is a must-try when visiting the city. The local brewery, Otaru Beer, produces a range of craft beers that are made using fresh and pure water from the nearby mountains. The brewery offers tours and tastings, so you can learn about the brewing process and sample different types of beer. Some of the most popular beers include the Otaru Pale Ale, Otaru Weizen, and Otaru Black.
If you’re interested in trying other types of alcohol, Otaru also has a thriving sake industry. You can visit local breweries such as Tanaka Shuzo and Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery to learn about the production process and sample different types of sake and whisky.
LeTAO Dessert Shop
Located at the heart of Otaru, LeTAO shop is a must-visit for those with a sweet tooth. The shop specializes in making delicious French-inspired desserts using locally sourced ingredients. Their most famous creation is the Double Fromage cheesecake, which is made with two layers of cheese and a buttery biscuit base. You can also try their other popular desserts, such as the Chocolat Double and the Berry Fromage.
Aside from LeTAO, Otaru has many other dessert shops and cafes that offer a variety of sweet treats. You can try soft serve ice cream from Kitaichi Glass Cafe, matcha desserts from Rokkatei, and Japanese-style cakes from Fukuro no Mise.
Overall, Otaru’s culinary scene offers something for everyone, whether you’re a sushi lover, beer enthusiast, or dessert connoisseur. Be sure to come hungry and ready to indulge in the city’s delicious offerings.
Experience Otaru’s Art and Culture
Otaru is a city that takes great pride in its rich cultural heritage. From its vibrant art scene to its various festivals, there is always something to see and do in this charming city.
Otaru Music Box Museum
The Otaru Music Box Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in witnessing the craftsmanship behind the city’s famous music boxes. The museum houses a vast collection of beautifully crafted music boxes, each with its own unique design and sound. Visitors can also try their hand at making their very own music box, with the help of skilled artisans who will guide them through the process. Imagine creating a one-of-a-kind music box and engraving it with your own designs – it’s a truly unforgettable experience!
Kitaichi Glass is a local institution that has been creating stunning glassware since 1901. Visitors to the glass factory can watch skilled artisans at work, creating delicate and intricate glass pieces using traditional techniques. The showroom is filled with beautiful glass products, from elegant vases to delicate ornaments, all of which are available for purchase. Whether you’re a collector of glassware or simply appreciate the beauty of finely crafted objects, Kitaichi Glass is a must-visit destination.
Otaru Snow Light Path Festival
The Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is an annual event that takes place in February, celebrating the beauty of winter in this picturesque city. During the festival, thousands of snow lanterns light up the streets and footpaths of Otaru, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere that is truly unforgettable. Visitors can stroll along the festival’s route, admiring the lanterns and enjoying the fresh snowfall. Along the way, there are plenty of food vendors selling delicious treats, including fresh seafood and hot drinks to keep you warm.
But that’s not all – Otaru has so much more to offer. Take a stroll along the charming canal district, where you’ll find beautifully preserved buildings dating back to the city’s heyday as a major port. Or head to one of the many local restaurants and sample the city’s famous seafood cuisine, which is renowned throughout Japan. And don’t forget to explore the city’s art galleries and museums, which showcase the work of local artists and artisans.
As you can see, Otaru is a city with so much to offer, from its rich history and natural beauty to its culinary delights and vibrant cultural events. Book your trip to Otaru today and experience all that it has to offer.