Otaru has Hokkaido’s version of Wall street.

Located close to Sapporo station, and easy to access, Otaru brings in many day trip travelers. You can take an airport express train from JR Sapporo station to Otaru station in 32 minutes. This town thrives through its herring, railway, and port industries. An old Mitsui Sumitomo bank was built in 1927 on Sakaimachi Street, formerly known as “Wall Street of the North,” and still exists to this day. These important buildings show how Otaru was important to the economy of Hokkaido at the time.



You can make your own music box and glassworks at local studios.

Many galleries have opened in Otaru, including a Music box museum and the Otaru Taisho glass palace. The glass industry originally began making glass fishing floats for the herring industry. Along the canal, there are several studios where you can try your hand at glasswork. Walking further to Sakaimachi Street, you will find galleries and museums. If you get tired during your ‘art tour,’ why not drop by a café in one of the galleries? Nothing beats a hot drink at a warm café on a cold Hokkaido day!




I made a glass bead at a studio!

We had also tried our hand at glasswork! I chose to make a glass bead called a “Tombo-dama,” which is easy for beginners. You can choose 2 different colors of glass and 1 pattern from many choices. It’s important to listen to the instructors explain which colors are compatible because chemically, incompatible colors can cause the glass to crack when cooling down. Once the burner is turned on, you instantly get excited. I rolled the melting glass rods to a metal rod called a mandrel and formed it into a ball. After 40 minutes of cooling, it’s done! I made a necklace with some accessories available at the shop.



You can enjoy a variety of foods on “Denuki Koji”.

If you get hungry, there’s a street called Denuki Koji where you can find a variety of food stands that sell cuisine particular to Otaru. There are Tempura shops, restaurants serving sashimi donburi (bowl of rice topped with fish), and even a food stand that offers large size takoyaki called, “Bakudanyaki” (Bomb). There are a variety of shops where you can satisfy your stomach and have a drink of Hokkaido’s own, Nikka Whisky at a Nikka Bar. Striking up a conversation with the shop owner might make you enjoy Hokkaido even more!



Otaru at night has a different appeal

If you visit Otaru, please try to enjoy the views at night. It’s so beautiful to see the reflected streetlights on the canal. The night view from Mt. Tengu is considered one of the three best in Hokkaido. You can take a bus to Mt. Tengu in the evening and change to a ropeway to get to the top. (Ropeway closes at 21:00) It’s also nice to hike Mt. Tengu during the daytime when there’s good weather, but make sure you keep yourself warm!


2-22-15, Inaho, Otaru-city Hokkaido Pref.

Tadaima Japan is looking to improve. Please rate this article!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

You might also like




Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!



Address 2-22-15, Inaho, Otaru-city Hokkaido Pref