March 3, 2017
The Best 10 Things to Do in Otaru, Hokkaido
Otaru which is pretty close to Sapporo has a lot of sightseeing spots. There is abundant beautiful nature as well as the attractive houses on the streets. Strolling around in the town is so enjoyable. It is the town which had prospered as a gateway in the Hokkaido frontier days. So, the area has some streets which will make you feel its history.
1. Otaru Orgol Hall
To tell you the truth, Otaru in Hokkaido is very famous for a town of the music-box. The “Otaru Orgol Hall” has 6 buildings and in one of the buildings, many antique music boxes have been exhibited. The sight of those neatly arranged music-boxes is a real spectacle.
If you want, you can buy some of them, choosing from various types of them as your souvenir. They also offer a practical experience class for making your own music-box, which is the only one in the whole world. A music-box is just the right item as a memory of your trip, isn’t it?
Name: Otaru Orgol Hall
Address: 4-1, Sumiyoshi-cho, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Opening hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Access: a 6-minute-walk from the Minami-Otaru station
2. Tanaka Brewery – Kikko-gura
Experiencing a local sake must be one of the enjoyments of a trip, mustn’t it? The “Tanaka Shuzo” is a representative brewery in Otaru. They produce and sell the popular refined sake, “Takaragawa”.
Here, you can walk around the brewery and can taste various types of sake. What an exciting place it is for sake lovers! Even if you can’t make it, you can come across “Takaragawa” at some restauranst. Please try one. It’s surely a very impressive taste!
Name: Tanaka-shuzo Kikkogura
Address: 2-2, Nobuka-cho, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Opening hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Admission Fee: free of charge
Access: a 10-minute-walk from the Minami-Otaru station
3. Otaru Aquarium
One of the general sightseeing spots is an aquarium, isn’t it? Aquariums strongly show the local attractions, so it is interesting to visit around various aquariums nationwide. This “Otaru Aquarium has been breeding more than 250 types of species, focusing on the rare creatures which live in the Northern Sea.
The biggest attraction is a very cute “porpoise”! Do you know that you can’t see porpoises in any other places in Japan? They are very precious animals. When you visit Otaru, you should go and see them at the Otaru Aquarium.
They have a sea-lion show and a penguin show as well. It is the place where families with their children and couples can enjoy themselves all day long.
Name: Otaru Aquarium
Address: 3-303, Shukutsu, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Access: a 25-minute-ride in a Chuo-bus from the Otaru station and a 1-minute-walk from the Otaru Aquarium-mae bus-stop
4. Mt. Kenashi Observation Deck
The air in Hokkaido is very fresh, so the night view is accordingly clear, as long as the weather is fine. In Otaru-city, there are a lot of observation spots for having beautiful night views. Amongst them, the most popular place is the “Mt. Kenashi Observation Deck”. It is considered to be one of the 3 grandest night-view spots.
From this 470m high observation deck, you can see clear across the Otaru city as well as the vast landscape of the Ishikari Bay. It is the night-view with Mother Nature, which is different from the ordinary night-views. If you drive, it is an especially recommended spot for a ride.
Name: Mt. Kenashi Observation Deck
Address: Asarigawa-hot-spring, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Access: a 35-minute-ride in a car from the Otaru station
5. The Otaru Tomioka Church
Amongst the exotic beautiful streets in Otaru, the “Otaru Tomioka Church” is standing out. It is a beautiful church with the European Medieval gothic style architecture. It has the marvellous stained glass windows and the red pointed roof. It is so impressive that you can’t take your eyes off it!
Especially, in the chapel on the 2nd floor, the sun is streaming in through the beautiful coloured arched windows. The dreamy atmosphere is spreading out. It is an historical architecture appointed by the Otaru city. Many couples have their weddings there. It is truly magnificent!
Name: Otaru Tomioka Church
Address: 1-21-25, Tomioka, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Access: a 10-minute-walk from the Otaru station
6. Mt. Tengu
Mt. Tengu is a Mecca for skiers in winter. The winter ski on Mt. Tengu is a well-known activity, but another attraction is the view from the top of the mountain. You can see clear across the lovely Otaru-city from the summit of the mountain. The view in the daytime is of course terrific, but the twinkling night view is also unforgettable.
You are climbing up to the top of the mountain, using the ropeway. On the way, you can see the Otaru Port as well as the Ishikari Bay from the ropeway. No matter which season you visit Otaru, Mt. Tengu will never let you down to see the beautiful view of Otaru.
Name: Mt. Tengu
7. Fairy-tale Junction
Otaru has been prospering as a port town since the Hokkaido frontier days. The old buildings which retain the original appearances at that time are not only the warehouses along the seashore. You can enjoy the romantic good olden times atmosphere around the “Fairy-tale Junction”.
Around the “Fairy-tale Junction with the classic atmosphere, there are various kinds of shops such as some music-box shops as well as the confectionary “LeTAO”. It is the area full of the attractions of Otaru, such as shopping, gourmet and the enjoyment of a stroll. Especially, at night, the illuminated town looks very romantic and it symbolizes the Otaru-city.
Name: Fairy-tale Junction
Address: 1-2-3, Irifune, Sakai-machi, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Access: a 5-minute-walk from the JR Minami-Otaru station
8. Kita-Venezia Museum
Venezia in the north of Italy is said to resemble the beautiful channel town, Otaru. This “Kita- Venezia Museum” has been introducing the Venezian culture. The building was modelled on the Grassi palace in Venezia. You can enjoy the reconstructed rooms of the Palace in the 18th century and the attraction of the lagoon city, Venezia, until your heart’s content.
In the pool on the 1st floor, a Gondola is floating. You can soak yourself in the Italian atmosphere. Please enjoy both the culture of Otaru and Venezia.
Name: Kita-Venezia Museum
Address: 5-27 Sakai-machi Otaru-city Hokkaido
Opening hours: 8:45 – 18:00
Access: a 10-minute-walk from the JR Minami-Otaru station
9. Blue Cave
Once you visit Otaru, you can’t avoid visiting this “Blue Cave”! Although you need to go there on a boat, you still want to visit there, because of its mysterious attraction. When the sun streams into the cave, the water surface turns into a miraculous blue. It’s magnificent, really!
On the way to the Cave, you can enjoy the wonderful seascape from the boat. The coast line looks tremendous. For going there, you need to choose a day between spring and autumn, when the sea is calm. If you go there on a fine day during the season, it will be such a precious memory on your Otaru-trip.
Name: Blue Cave
Address: 4-5, Minato-machi, Otaru-city, Hokkaido (cruising service company)
Access: a 10-minute- walk from the Otaru station (cruising service company)
10. Otaru Channel
The ultimate viewing spot is this “Otaru Channel”! Otaru originally prospered as a gateway in the Hokkaido frontier days. At that time, large ships came into the channel to load and unload goods. But a half part of it has been now reclaimed and maintained as a road and a promenade.
The former warehouses have been renovated to be shops and restaurants. The town has transformed to be a fashionable as well as nostalgic one. Nowadays, it is very famous as a symbol of Otaru-city. At night, the channel looks more romantic because of the gas lamps along the channel.
Name: Otaru Channel
Address: Ironai, Otaru-city, Hokkaido
Access: a 5-minute-walk from the Otaru station
Let’s Enjoy the Tourist Attractions in Otaru!
What was your impression about those sightseeing spots? The look-a-like fairy-tale streets and the beautiful nature of the Hokkaido land will impress you again and again. Especially, the Otaru Channel and the Blue Cave are overwhelming. Although Oraru is close to Sapporo, it shows a totally different face of Hokkaido. I hope you’ll fully enjoy your Otaru-sightseeing!