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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, 2-3 buses per hour) or by Otaru Stroller's tourist buses (30 minutes, 240 yen, 1 bus per hour). 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. The Otaru Stroller's buses also stop in front of 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:
    • Home Yasuda
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Otaru, Home Yasuda has well-equipped accommodation boasting free WiFi, 4.1 km from Otaru Station and 18 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. The homestay offers a flat-screen TV and a shared bathroom with free toiletries, slippers and shower. A fridge and microwave are also available, as well as a kettle. Guests at Home Yasuda can enjoy an American breakfast. The accommodation offers 1-star accommodation with a hot tub. Sapporo Station is 36 km from Home Yasuda, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from the homestay.
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    • Opopo home —³‹{“X
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 1-star accommodation, Opopo home —³‹{“X is situated in Otaru, less than 1 km from Otaru Station and 18 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. With free WiFi, this 1-star guest house offers a shared lounge and luggage storage space. Some rooms at the property have a terrace with a city view. Sapporo Station is 36 km from the guest house, while Shin-Sapporo Station is 48 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 38 km from Opopo home —³‹{“X.
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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 restaurant, private parking and a bar. Featuring a terrace, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. 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 a continental 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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    • Otaru Tap Room & Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 1-star accommodation, Otaru Tap Room & Hostel is situated in Otaru, 800 metres from Otaru Station and 17 km from Otarushi Zenibako City Center. 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 located 35 km from Sapporo 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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    • Little Barrel
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Otaru, 1.5 km from Otaru Station, Little Barrel offers accommodation with a garden, private parking, a shared lounge and a restaurant. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and luggage storage space. Guests can make use of a bar. Featuring a shared bathroom with a hairdryer, rooms at the hostel also feature free WiFi, while certain rooms also offer a sea view. Otarushi Zenibako City Center is 17 km from Little Barrel, while Sapporo Station is 35 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 37 km from the accommodation.
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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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    • Authent Hotel Otaru
      Luxury
      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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    • 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. The property is located 19 km from Otaru Station, 20 km from Sapporo Station and 32 km from Shin-Sapporo Station. The accommodation provides karaoke and room service. 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. An ? la carte, American or Asian breakfast is available each morning at the property. Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Otaru, like skiing. Kita-Juni-Jo Station is 19 km from Hotel Luna Coast (Adult Only), while Otaru Canal Park is 19 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okadama Airport, 18 km from the love hotel.
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    • Hotel Sonia Otaru
      Luxury
      Right in front of the scenic Otaru Canal, Hotel Sonia Otaru offers spacious rooms and free WiFi access at the public areas. The so-called Sushi Street is just a 3-minute walk away. The bright rooms at Hotel Sonia Otaru feature a seating area and furnishings with an antique look. They are equipped with a TV, refrigerator and air purifier. Each room comes with en suite bathroom. Hotel Sonia Otaru has a 24-hour front desk which offers luggage storage services. The hotel has a drinks vending machine. A buffet breakfast can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant. Hotel Sonia Otaru is a less than 5-minute walk away from the glass wonders at Otaru Unga Kogeikan. Shopping area Sakaimachi Dori is a less than 10-minute walk away.
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