An alluring quaint port city in Western Hokkaido, Otaru (小樽) enchants to its own tune. Just a 25-minute rapid train ride away from Sapporo Station, visit Otaru for its rich history, fresh seafood, old-world architecture and spectacular landscapes. Whether it’s drifting along the romantic nostalgia at the iconic Otaru Canal or creating your own unique glassware that the city is famous for, Otaru offers diverse experiences for every type of traveller.
Only a 5-minute walk from JR Otaru Chikko Station, stay comfortably at Grand Park Otaru and experience the finest of Otaru accommodation with spacious rooms and suites boasting stunning vistas of the bay or sweeping mountain views. The seafront hotel offers top notch restaurants within and easy access to nearby golf courses, ski resorts and Wing Bay Otaru shopping mall, which is directly connected to the JR Otaru Chikko station. Notable attractions such as the Otaru Canal, Sakaimachi Street and Mount Tengu Ropeway station are also within a short 15 minutes’ drive away.
Blessed with riches of soil and sea, Otaru is renowned for its fresh seafood and local delicacies. Embark on a gastronomic journey within Grand Park Otaru, whether it’s savouring traditional Kaiseki-style traditional Japanese cuisine and sizzling Teppenyaki dishes at Cocoro, whetting appetite with irresistible Italian and Asian buffet spread at the casual seaside restaurant Terrace Brasserie or indulging in homemade pastries at the Bay Lounge. Complement your meal with a curated list of Hokkaido whiskey, sochu and sake.
Close to the canal, have your fresh catch of the day at Sankaku Fish Market for an authentic experience. Feast on seafood bowls filled to the brim with gleaming sashimi, skilfully-prepared sushi and exquisite steamed seafood from hairy crabs to sea urchin.
More than just a one-day stopover destination, there’s plenty of things to see and do in Otaru all year round. Built in 1923 to facilitate the transportation of goods by small shops, be swept away by the sheer romance of the city’s most iconic spot – the Otaru Canal. Take a stroll along the one-kilometre metre long path to witness beautiful landscapes across all four seasons; from stunning spring flowers to glittering lights during the annual Otaru Snow Light Festival in winter.
Learn more about the beauty of Otaru’s culture at Sakaimachi Street; a bustling preserved merchant district with local shops and interesting museums. Step into glass studios such as the century-old Kitachi Glass outlet to shop for delicate pieces handcrafted by talented artisans. At the end of the street, the sound of faint tinkling fill the air at the Otaru Music Box Museum displaying close to 25,000 impressive treasure trove of music boxes in all shapes and sizes.
Not to be missed during the wintry months are the powder soft snow on Mount Tengu deck overlooking Otaru city is one of the Hokkaido’s best, a beautiful ski mountain and attraction awarded 1 star in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. The night views in all seasons from the observation.
Where Sapporo is vibrant and dynamic, Otaru is serene and charming. It’s almost like stepping into a time machine, turning the clock back to when the Otaru Canal was built in 1923. With 85 designated historic landmarks in the city, be inspired by the past at every turn where tales of yesteryear are revealed through architecture, food and craftmanship.