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The Otaru City Museum is made up of two separate museums: a conventional history museum beside Otaru Canal and a less centrally located railway museum on the grounds of a railway yard. These city operated museums are a good place to learn about Otaru's history and the early days of the development of Hokkaido.

Housed in a former warehouse next to the canal, the Canal Building (^͊, Ungakan) is located within the city's main tourist area. The museum covers broadly the history and nature of Otaru, recounting the times of Hokkaido's native Ainu people as well as the city's preservation movement during the 1970s. There are many models and displays, which are explained in an English pamphlet.

The Railway Museum ({, Honkan) is located a bit outside the main tourist area on the former site of the terminal of Hokkaido's first railway line which connected Otaru Port with Sapporo. Multiple full size trains from various periods are exhibited on a rail yard, while the history of Otaru's railroads, an essential chapter in the city's development, is explained with exhibits and dioramas inside a building.

Getting there and around

The Canal Building is located just beside Otaru Canal, a ten minute walk or a two minute bus ride straight down the main road from Otaru Station. The Railway Museum is a further 15-20 minute walk westwards, but can also be accessed by taking the Otaru Stroller's tourist bus from either the canal or the station (departures about every 30 minutes, 240 yen).

How to get to and around Otaru

Hours and Fees

Canal Building

Hours

9:30 to 17:00

Closed

December 29 to January 3

Admission

300 yen (500 yen for combination ticket that includes the railway museum)

Railway Museum

Hours

9:30 to 17:00

Closed

Tuesdays (or following day if Tuesday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3

Admission

400 yen (500 yen for combination ticket that includes the canal building)

Hotels around Otaru

Top rated in Otaru
Budget:
    • O'popo home
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Otaru and with Otaru Canal Park reachable within 600 metres, O'popo home features express check-in and check-out, non-smoking rooms, a restaurant, free WiFi and a shared lounge. The property is around 1.5 km from Kitaichi Glass Sangokan, 1.7 km from Otaru Music Box Museum and 2.6 km from Otaru University of Commerce. The guest house has family rooms. At the guest house, rooms are equipped with a patio with a mountain view. Continental and Asian breakfast options are available each morning at O'popo home. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Otaru Museum, Sankaku Fish Market and Otaru City Art Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from O'popo home.
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    • LifeHouse IPPO
      Mid-range
      Set in Otaru, near Otaru Canal Park, Otaru Museum and Sankaku Fish Market, LifeHouse IPPO has a restaurant. Free WiFi is offered and private parking is available on site. All units come with air conditioning, and some have a flat-screen TV, washing machine, a kettle, completed with a kitchen. Popular points of interest near the aparthotel include Otaru City Art Museum, Kitaichi Glass Sangokan and Otaru Music Box Museum. The nearest airport is New Chitose Airport, 72 km from LifeHouse IPPO.
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    • U5R
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Otaru, 2.5 km from Otaru Canal Park, U5R features views of the city. Featuring free bikes, the 2-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the hotel, the rooms have a desk and a flat-screen TV. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at U5R will be able to enjoy activities in and around Otaru, like hiking, cycling and fishing. The accommodation can conveniently provide information at the reception to help guests to get around the area. Popular points of interest near U5R include Otaru City Art Museum, Sankaku Fish Market and Otaru Music Box Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from the hotel.
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    • Otaru Tap Room & Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 1-star accommodation, Otaru Tap Room & Hostel is situated in Otaru, 700 metres from Sankaku Fish Market and 1.3 km from Kitaichi Glass Sangokan. With a bar, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Otaru Music Box Museum is 1.6 km away and Otaru University of Commerce is 2.6 km from the hostel. All rooms in the hostel are fitted with a kettle. The rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Popular points of interest near Otaru Tap Room & Hostel include Otaru Canal Park, Otaru Museum and Otaru City Art Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
      Mid-range
      Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is situated in Otaru, 800 metres from Sankaku Fish Market and 1.1 km from Kitaichi Glass Sangokan. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Otaru Canal Park, Otaru Museum and Otaru City Art Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal.
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    • Little Barrel
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Otaru, 3 km from Otaru Canal Park, Little Barrel offers accommodation with a bar, private parking, a shared lounge and a garden. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hostel has family rooms. At the hostel the rooms are equipped with a shared bathroom with a hairdryer. Popular points of interest near Little Barrel include Otaru Music Box Museum, Kitaichi Glass Sangokan and Otaru City Art Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from the accommodation.
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    • UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU
      Mid-range
      Situated in Otaru, 1.1 km from Otaru Canal Park, UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU features accommodation with a restaurant, private parking, a bar and a terrace. The property is set less than 1 km from Sankaku Fish Market, a 15-minute walk from Otaru Music Box Museum and 2.2 km from Otaru University of Commerce. The accommodation offers luggage storage space and free WiFi throughout the property. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast. Popular points of interest near UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU include Otaru Museum, Otaru City Art Museum and Kitaichi Glass Sangokan. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 32 km from the accommodation.
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    • Authent Hotel Otaru
      Mid-range
      A 5-minute walk from JR Otaru Train Station, Authent Hotel Otaru offers simple accommodations with free Wi-Fi. Guests can refresh in the sauna or request relaxing massages for an extra cost. A spacious public bath is available as well. Rooms here will provide you with a flat-screen TV, and air conditioning. Each features carpeted floors, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a bath and a hairdryer. At Otaru Authent Hotel you will find a 24-hour front desk and a bar. Other facilities offered include luggage storage, dry cleaning and drink vending machines. Local souvenirs can be purchased at the gift shop. Casablanca serves Western dishes while Japanese meals are available at Irifune restaurant. Grilled Teppanyaki dishes are offered at Kaio restaurant. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the Otaru Canal and a 15-minute walk from Otaru Orgel Museum Main Building. Shin Nihonkai Ferry Terminal is a 10-minute drive away.
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    • Dormy Inn Premium Otaru
      Mid-range
      Just a minute away from Otaru station on the JR Hakodate Line, Dormy Inn Premium offers air-conditioned rooms with free internet access, a flat-screen TV and refrigerator. Facilities at Dormy Inn Premium Otaru include natural hot spring baths and a sauna. Coin-operated washing machine, public computer with free internet access in the lobby and a 24-hour front desk are available. Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast of Japanese and western dishes daily.
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    • Hotel Nord Otaru
      Luxury
      Located at the picturesque boulevard of the Otaru Canal, Hotel Nord offers comfortable accommodation and panoramic mountain views. The hotel features a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. Rooms at Otaru Nord Hotel are air-conditioned and equipped with satellite TV and a safety deposit box. A refrigerator and an electric kettle are provided. The front desk of Nord Otaru Hotel is staffed 24 hours, and offers luggage storage service. The facilities include vending machines with drinks. A buffet breakfast featuring seasonal local ingredients is available at the property. BAR Duomo Rosso on the top floor offers panoramic views of the ocean and mountains. Hotel Nord Otaru is a 7-minute walk from Otaru Station. The Otaru Music Box Museum is a 6-minute drive away.
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