The Best Photography Spots in Otaru, Japan

Otaru, Japan, the city of timeless beauty, is a photographer’s paradise that embodies rich historical charm. Its breath-taking landscapes offers a myriad of captivating locations for capturing stunning images. With this list of the photography spots, pack your camera gear and unleash your creativity to capture the essence of Otaru.


Otaru Canal

The iconic Otaru Canal, lined with gas lamps and historic buildings, is one of the most picturesque locations in the city. In Winter, be sure to visit during the Otaru Snow Light Path Festival, where the soft glow of countless snow lanterns illuminate the canal, providing the perfect bokeh effect for those capturing it on camera.

Tip: Include reflections of buildings in the water to capture a well-balanced photo, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: 8 minutes by car


Otaru Art Base

(Photo: Wanderlog)

Explore the creative haven of Otaru Art Base, a hub for contemporary expression and traditional craftsmanship. Housing the Stained-Glass Museum, the art centre’s unique architecture and exhibits offer excellent opportunities for artistic photography. Get your cameras ready to capture the vivid stories told by Otaru museums' intricate designs.

Tip: Visit in the late afternoon for the ‘Golden Hour’ effect, where warm, soft light will add an ethereal quality to your photo.

Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5pm daily
Admission Fee: 2,900 JPY (includes admission to four museums)
Directions: 8 minutes by car


Mount Tengu (Tenguyama)


For panoramic views of Otaru and its coastal surroundings, head to Mount Tengu. Accessible by a short hike or a cable car ride, this vantage point offers an unparalleled view of the city below. Capture the city's rooftops, the blue expanse of the Sea of Japan, and the mountains in the distance.

Tip: Arrive as early as you can to avoid the crowds.

Opening Hours: 9.30am to 9pm daily (Observation Deck)
Admission Fee: 1140 JPY (adult), 570 JPY (child)
Directions: 15 minutes by car


Sakaimachi Street

Sakaimachi Street is a historic district filled with charming craft shops, cafes, and boutiques. The colourful facades and storefronts make for an excellent location for street photography. Capture the vibrant local life and photograph the rich architectural heritage of the area during your visit.

Tip: Interact with friendly shop owners for behind-the-scenes shots, as well as to learn more about their craft and story.

Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm daily
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: 8 minutes by car


Shukutsu Park Observation Deck

(Photo: UNGA)

For nature and seascape photographers, Shukutsu Park is a must-visit location. This coastal park offers stunning views of the Sea of Japan and majestic rock formations. Capture the rugged coastline, dramatic waves, and seagulls in flight for dynamic and captivating shots.

Tip: If available, opt for a wide-angle lens to expand your view and capture the expansive panorama before you.

Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: 18 minutes by car



Grand Park Otaru

35 minutes away from Sapporo by car, busk in the beauty of nature from Grand Park Otaru, surrounded by mountains and panoramic views of Ishikari Bay, offering luxury accommodation that boast sophisticated furnishings and modern amenities. Adjacent to Wing Bay Otaru, one of Hokkaido's largest shopping mall for shopping and dining, and close to Japan Railway’s Otaru-Chikkō Station, Grand Park Otaru is an ideal base to explore local attractions and enjoy seasonal activities such as skiing, cruising and sightseeing in Otaru.