Otaru Canal

Things to Do in Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru is a port city with a lot of steep hills and one a major sightseeing spot in Hokkaido. It takes 40-minute from Sapporo Station to Otaru Station. Traveling to Otaru from New Chitose airport takes 80 minutes and there is a direct line.

Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal is the main sightseeing spot in Otaru. Otaru Port was designated as an international trading port and the canal has been used since the late 19th century.

The old brick warehouses along the canal give off a nostalgic feeling, which makes one imagine the prosperity of the port. The canal gives one looks different depending on the time and the season.

The best time to view the port is during winter at night because the 500-meter street along the canal is covered by snow and is beautifully illuminated by old-fashioned gas lamps.

The contrast of colors, white snow, and orange lights make a fantastic scenery.

Otaru Music Box Museum

Otaru Music Box Museum © Orgel Doh Co. Ltd

This is one of the largest music box museums in the world. The building is a historical landmark and it was constructed at the beginning of the 1900s. There are so many different types of music boxes which mean each song is different. Customers can custom-make their own music box.

On the second-floor people can view the music boxes being made. In addition, a steam clock is installed on the front of the building.

Otaru Music Box Museum and Steam Clock

A steam clock is partially or fully powered by a steam engine. The interesting mechanics within the clock release steam every half hour or hour mark.

Kitaichi Glass Otaru

Otaru Glass Craft

Kitaichi Glass Otaru is another popular sightseeing spot. The warehouse being used was also used for the Hokkaido Development Agency in 1950.

The shop is divided into sections; glass, outlet glass section, and crystals. There is a craft shop and guests can learn how to blow glass.


In addition, there is the Venetian Art Museum near the main building of Kitaichi Glass Otaru. At the museum, special gondolas that are actually used in Venice and Venetian display glass art.

Guests can try on aristocratic costumes after viewing the exhibits. You will feel like you become a Venetian aristocrat there.

#4. Tanaka Shuzo Brewery Kikko Gura

Sake In Otaru © Tanaka Sake Brewing

Otaru is famous for the fresh fish used for sushi. Sake is another famous food from Otaru. The local sake brewery “Tanaka Shuzo” was established in 1899.

ake from Tanaka Shuzo Brewery uses rice directly from Hokkaido and pairs well with seafood.

Tanaka Shuzo Brewery Kikko Gura offers brewery tours.

Otaru Mount Tengu Rope-way

Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway

Hakodate night view from Mount Hakodate and Sapporo night view from Mount Moiwa.

Mt. Tengu Ropeway is a superb place to overlook Otaru at night. It is considered of the top 3 nighttime views of Hokkaido. Mt. Hakodate in Hakodate and Mt. Moiwa in Sapporo also have outstanding scenery.

An 8-minute rope-way ride goes to the observatory platform at the top of Mt. Tengu. The city lights and the seashore provide a beautiful scenery that is a must-see.

There is a slide during the summer from 10 am to 5 pm. It costs 400 yen for adults and 300 for children.