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Otaru (小樽) is a small harbor city, about half an hour northwest of Sapporo by train. Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo or a nice stop en route to or from Niseko or the Shakotan Peninsula.

From the early days of Hokkaido's colonization in the late 1800s, Otaru served as a major trade and fishing port. It was hence chosen as the terminal station of Hokkaido's first railway line that connected the port with nearby Sapporo. Many old warehouses and former office buildings by shipping and trade companies give Otaru's city center a special character reminiscent of past decades.

Top attractions in Otaru

Historic Site

Canal Area

Beautiful canal lined by old warehouses.
3.7 / 5
759
Historic Site

Herring Mansion

A wealthy fisherman's former mansion.
3.7 / 5
101
Town/Neighborhood

Sakaimachi Street

Attractive street in the city center of Otaru.
3.5 / 5
220
Museum

City Museum

Museum about the history of Otaru.
3.3 / 5
194

Access and Orientation

Page last updated: December 16, 2016