Take Home Your Memories! Unforgettable Experiences in Otaru

Take Home Your Memories! Unforgettable Experiences in Otaru


Otaru is an appealing sightseeing spot with a port and canal, as well as a Meiji-period cityscape. The city offers various fun experiences. If you are visiting Otaru by train, you might want to first try walking straight from JR Otaru Station to the sea. Descending a gentle slope, the remains of the former National Railway Temiya Line come into view. Continuing some more from there, you will arrive at the Otaru Canal, where brick and rock warehouses line the street.

Taking a stroll along the well-maintained canal is great, but if you want to experience something unusual, we recommend heading to the central bridge about halfway down the canal. Arriving and departing from here is the “Otaru Canal Cruise.” The cruise tours the main area of the Otaru Canal, leaves the canal and goes out to the sea, and will even stop by the Port of Otaru. The 40-minute cruise allows visitors to enjoy the Otaru Canal and its surroundings from the water surface, and has become a new staple activity for sightseeing in Otaru. The city is covered in snow in the winter, but during the cold season the boat seats are heated, so you won’t have to shiver in the cold. The boat even has a convertible top so snow is not a problem either. Rather, snow makes a great addition to the beautiful cityscape, so winter might actually be the perfect season for the canal cruise.

After you’ve enjoyed the Otaru Canal, we recommend walking a bit and visiting Sakaimachidori Street. This area is lined with retro stone buildings, and many of Otaru’s famous glass workshops. In the Meiji period, oil lamps called Otaru Glass were made in Otaru, and many renowned glass workshops still remain. Many of the shops offer glasswork-making experiences. Visitors will be able to enjoy more than just shopping here.

Other than glasswork, you can also try making music boxes. One of these facilities is the “Otaru Music Box Museum Handicrafts Studio You-Kobo.” Here, visitors can enjoy making original music boxes. The facility also sells various music boxes and takes orders for custom-made music boxes. You can even admire mechanical animal dolls at the “Otaru Karakuri Doubutsuen (Zoo).”

When speaking of Otaru, you can’t forget the marine products that are unloaded at the Port of Otaru. Even out of the many seafood products, sushi has become a staple dish in Otaru, with over 100 great sushi joints within the city. “Otaru Tatsumi Sushi” offers delicious sushi, as well as a sushi-nigiri (making sushi) experience for elementary and middle-school students. Visitors can enjoy creating their own sushi with the guidance of a chef, and then eating the sushi they made. It’s an experience you will find nowhere else.

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