Otaru” is originally from the Ainu(Hokkaido Indigenous) language ota, oru, nai which means ‘River running through the sandy beach’. Otaru used to be the main port for trading of woods inside to Sapporo for the first half of 20th history. Also, the city harbor is flourished with blue-black fish. So, the Otaru port was once developed into main business and trading port for Sapporo City.

Otaru used to be main fishing port from 19th to 20th century. Now you can still see some trace in the sight.


Otaru city is known as an romantic city which a lots of movie directors shoot their love story scenes here.


Otaru Canal, 1140m in length and 20-40m in width, was completed in 1923 after nine years of construction work. The canal is simply a narrow waterway created between the shoreline and a land reclamation project in the harbor. Today, the canal has become Otaru’s most popular sightseeing destination. Those old stone warehouses have been turned into restaurants, shops, and museums.

Around that time, many stone warehouses were built to store these goods. But now, everything leave no trace.

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As the night comes, illumination along the canal lights up which creates a warm and romantic atmosphere. And as you walk along the rivers and those historical buildings, sometimes you feel like going back to 100 years ago, which is really nostalgia. Every year, Otaru Snow Light Path Festival is held here in February. During the festival, the city becomes decorated in lights and small statues for 10 days.


Address: Hokkaido Otatu Harbour City

Tel: 0134-33-2510 (Otaru Tourism Association)

Access: JR Otaru Station→10min Walk

Parking: None

Official Website: http://otaru.gr.jp/

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Otaru Music Box Museum
is one of the largest museum shops of music boxes, orgel, in Japan. The building originally is an historical architecture with red-brick walls, Renaissance style arch -top windows and rock-built style entrance, which creates an nostalgic and obscure atmosphere. At the entrance of the museum where there is a Steam Clock made by a Canadian clock maker. The five steam chimes blow the melody every 15 minutes and the main steam whistles on the hour. This is a popular landmark for tourists.


Address: 4-1, Sumiyoshi-cho, Otaru

Tel: 0134-22-1108

Access: JR South Otaru Station→7min Walk, or Jr Otaru Station→23min Walk

Parking: None

Office Hour: 0900-1800 (Summer: Friday and Saturday and Public Holiday untill 1900)

Closed: No closing days

Fee: Free

Official Website: http://www.otaru-orgel.co.jp/english/e_index.html

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