The herring fishing industry played a major role in the history of Otaru since the early days of the town's development, with the vast majority of fish being processed into fertilizer rather than consumed by humans. Large fortunes were made by the leading fishing enterprises until the 1950s, when the herring stocks dramatically declined and the industry collapsed.

During the heyday of herring fishing, large Herring Mansions (ι׌δ“a, Nishin Goten) were built by wealthy fishermen to process the fish and as a residence for themselves and their employees. A large preserved herring mansion dating back to the end of the 19th century stands on a hill beside the water about five kilometers outside central Otaru. It was moved to its current location in 1958 and is open to the public. Fishermen's tools and living conditions are displayed inside.

About a kilometer inland from the herring mansion stands the Former Aoyama Villa (‹ŒΒŽR•Κ“@, Kyū Aoyama Bettei), a luxurious villa built by the Aoyama family, one of the most successful families in the herring fishing industry. The family spared no expense in the materials and construction of the villa and surrounding gardens. The Aoyama family's herring mansion was also preserved, but it was moved to nearby Sapporo where it can be viewed in the Historic Village open air museum.

Getting there and around

The Herring Mansion and Aoyama Villa are located five kilometers outside of the city center near the Otaru Aquarium. They can be reached from Otaru Station by city bus number 10 or 11 (20-25 minutes, 240 yen one way, every 20-30 minutes). From the Otaru Aquarium terminal stop it is a five minute walk to the Herring Mansion and a 15 minute walk to the Aoyama Villa.

How to get to and around Otaru

Hours and Fees

Herring Mansion

Hours

Closed

Admission

Former Aoyama Villa

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Otaru

Top rated in Otaru
Budget:
    • Ryo An
      Luxury
      Ryo An is located in Otaru, within 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center and 35 km of Sapporo Station. This 4-star hotel offers free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 400 metres from Otaru Station. All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a bidet, free toiletries and a desk. The private bathroom is fitted with a shower, a hairdryer and slippers. At the hotel the rooms come with bed linen and towels. Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from Ryo An, while Otaru Canal Park is 1.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU
      Mid-range
      Situated in Otaru, 800 metres from Otaru Station, UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU features accommodation with a terrace, private parking, a restaurant and a bar. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. The rooms at the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. At UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU rooms come with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an American breakfast. Sapporo Station is 35 km from UNWIND HOTEL & BAR OTARU, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 37 km from the hotel.
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    • Little Barrel
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Otaru and with Otaru Station reachable within 1.5 km, Little Barrel offers a garden, non-smoking rooms, free WiFi throughout the property and a shared lounge. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The rooms are equipped with a shared bathroom with a hairdryer, while some boast sea views. Otarushi Zenibako City Center is 17 km from the hostel, while Sapporo Station is 35 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 37 km from Little Barrel.
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    • Otaru Tap Room & Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Otaru Tap Room & Hostel is located in Otaru, within 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center and 35 km of Sapporo Station. Featuring a bar, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is situated 800 metres from Otaru Station. All rooms in the hostel are fitted with a kettle. The rooms have bed linen. Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from Otaru Tap Room & Hostel, while Otaru Canal Park is 800 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • GRIDS PREMIUM HOTEL OTARU
      Luxury
      Located within 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center and 35 km of Sapporo Station, GRIDS PREMIUM HOTEL OTARU provides rooms in Otaru. With a restaurant, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The units in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. Each room comes with a safety deposit box and certain rooms include city views. Guest rooms in GRIDS PREMIUM HOTEL OTARU are equipped with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a buffet breakfast. GRIDS PREMIUM HOTEL OTARU also features a wellness area, where guests can make the most of facilities like a sauna. With staff speaking English and Japanese, guidance is available at the reception. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Otaru Station, Otaru Canal Park and Otaru Museum. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from GRIDS PREMIUM HOTEL OTARU.
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    • Winkel Village
      Budget-friendly
      Within a 10-minute walk from Asari Ski Resort, Winkel Village features cosy apartments and cottages, all with a terrace and mountain views. It features a ski school and a shop. Apartments and freestanding wooden cottages feature heating, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub. All are equipped with a TV, while apartments boast a private open-air hot spring bath, however not for cottages. Guests sleep on Japanese futon bedding on the bedroom floor. There are 2 types of rooms.Village Winkel offers rentals of sporting goods, board games and barbecue equipment that can be used on the guests' private terrace. Guests can go hiking or fishing in the area, and there is a tennis court on a 5-minute drive. Hotel Winkel Village is a 15-minute drive from Otaru Ferry Terminal and Otaru Unga Canal, and a 40-minute drive from Kiroro Snow World.
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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 Torifito Otaru Canal
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is situated in Otaru, 700 metres from Otaru Station and 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. Boasting a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a restaurant. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal the rooms have bed linen and towels. A buffet breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation. Sapporo Station is 35 km from Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the hotel.
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    • Hotel Luna Coast (Adult Only)
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Otaru, 1.5 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center, Hotel Luna Coast (Adult Only) features accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. This 2-star love hotel offers room service. Guests can enjoy sea views. All rooms are fitted with a fridge, microwave, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. Complete with a private bathroom fitted with a bidet and free toiletries, the rooms at the love hotel have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and certain rooms are equipped with a balcony. At Hotel Luna Coast (Adult Only) rooms come with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Otaru, like skiing. Otaru Station is 19 km from Hotel Luna Coast (Adult Only), while Sapporo Station is 20 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 18 km from the love hotel.
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    • Plum House Otaru
      Mid-range
      Located within less than 1 km of Otaru Station and 17 km of Otarushi Zenibako City Center, Plum House Otaru provides rooms with air conditioning and a private bathroom in Otaru. The property features garden and inner courtyard views, and is 35 km from Sapporo Station. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The units in the ryokan are equipped with a kettle. There is a private bathroom with bath in every unit, along with slippers, a hair dryer and free toiletries. At the ryokan, every unit has bed linen and towels. Guests at the ryokan can enjoy skiing nearby, or benefit from the sun terrace. Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from Plum House Otaru, while Otaru Canal Park is 1.8 km away. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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