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Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido| Japan Travel Guide | Travel141

Japan Travel Guide: Discover the charming city of Otaru

Following our latest Japan travel guide on Sapporo Snow Festival, let us look further into this side of Japan – the northernmost part as we feature Otaru in today’s Japan travel post!

During its colonization in late 1800, Otaru served as a seaport and terminal station of Hokkaido’s first railway line. The city is well-known for its heritage buildings as well as the historic canal which was then flocked by warehouses that were eventually turned into museums, restaurants and shops.

How to get to Otaru

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141

There’s a 35km distance between Sapporo and Otaru which can be travelled about half an hour long by train. Thanks to the short travel time from Hokkaido’s capital city, Otaru is often included in many Japan travel itineraries as part of a fun day trip.

Japan’s efficient public transportation makes travelling from city to city a lot easier. If you’re going to Otaru from Sapporo, you can get to Otaru within 30 mins if you’re taking the rapid train or about 45 mins if you’re taking the local train in the JR Hakodate Main Line.

Otaru attractions

Otaru Canal

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141

The famous Otaru Canal – one of the places to visit in Otaru – played a central role in the early 20th century when Otaru was a busy port – as small ships unload vessels to deliver goods to the warehouses along the canal. Years later, these warehouses were transformed into museums, shops and restaurants and Otaru Canal became one of the main areas where the annual Otaru Snow Light Festival takes place.

Otaru Snow Light Festival 9 Feb – 18 Feb

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido| Japan Travel Guide | Travel141

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido| Japan Travel Guide | Travel141

The Otaru Snow Light Festival is a winter festival which is celebrated every February. For ten days, the city is illuminated with lights and small snow statues that create a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere. The Otaru Snow Light Festival and the Sapporo Snow Festival usually runs on the same dates – perfect for tourists to come and experience both festivals while in the area.

Otaru Tenguyama

Next featured Otaru attraction is the Otaru Tenguyama where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

Located just 15 minutes away from the city proper, you can get a glimpse of the picturesque city view from above by riding a 30-person gondola which brings you to the mountain foot station within 4 minutes.

Otaru Tenguyama also has a ski resort where you can enjoy winter activities with friends and family!

Where to eat in Otaru

A Japan travel guide will never be complete without featuring restaurants and cafes to visit. And because food plays an essential part of the country’s culture, one of the things to do in Japan is try different local dishes and crowd favourites!

LeTao

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141

You should never leave Otaru without tasting the famous Japanese cotton cheesecake from LeTao – a popular bakery slash café with branches all over Hokkaido. There’s one in Otaru station where you can buy some snacks before exploring the rest of the city’s famous attractions.

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Address:
7-16, Sakaimachi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0027, Japan

Naruto

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141

Many locals and tourists would agree that Naruto – a long-standing staple in the city is an Otaru treasure that serves the best-selling friend chicken!

The must-try Hanshinage Chicken Meal worth 1,100 Yen is seasoned with the right ingredients – the secret recipe that has made Naruto an Otaru attraction for both local and foreign tourists.

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Address:
3-16-13, Inaho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0032, Japan

Chuukashokudoukeien

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141

Chuukashokudoukeien is a famous restaurant in Otaru that’s been around since the 1950s. Its wide range of menu covers many local dishes but what it is mostly known for is the famous Otaru Ankake yakisoba. The dish was invented to keep the body warm especially during winter in Japan.

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Address: 2-16-14 Inaho Otaru Hokkaido

What to buy

Take home a part of Otaru with the following souvenirs you can buy before you leave the city.

LeTao Cheesecake

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141Photo Courtesy: LeTao PH Facebook Page

LeTao cheesecakes are some of Otaru’s specialties that are loved not just by locals by tourists as well. You are most likely to fall in love with its rich taste and flavour so better to buy some to take home!

Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Address:
7-16, Sakaimachi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0027, Japan

Kamaei Fish Cake

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia

Established in 1905, Kamei has become a staple in the Otaru community serving a fresh and different variety of kamaboko. It’s a must-try when you’re in Otaru and you keep take some home with you before leaving Otaru.

Address: 3-7 Sakaimachi, Otaru 047-0027, Hokkaido
Opening Hours:
10:00am – 7:00pm

Otaru Candle

Japan Travel Guide to Otaru, Hokkaido | Japan travel guide | Travel141Photo Courtesy: Otaru Candle Website http://otarucandle.com/

You can buy your Otaru candles from Otaru Candle Craft Shop which offers a wide range of products you can choose from.

Address: 1-27 Sakai-cho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido 047-0027
Opening Hours:
10:00am – 7:00pm

Read more:

  1. Things to do in Japan: Experience Sapporo Snow Festival
  2. Japan Travel Guide: What you can do in Asakusa for 24 hours
  3. Tokyo Travel Guide: Here’s where you can taste the best ramen in town
  4. Tokyo Travel: 6 Historical shrines to include on your travel itinerary
  5. 5 Unique Kyoto Hotels for your Japan Travel

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