Salmon appeared @ Canal !!

Hello, how are you ??
Every year in Autumn, many salmons ascend streams to spawn.
Now, we can see lots of salmons at Otaru canal !!
Our tourist information staff took some pictures of them.

Passengers of Canal cruise must have been surprised.
Can you see the school of salmons in front of the boat ??

Also now, we can enjoy seasonal salmon in Hokkaido, of course in Otaru too.
Every restaurant provides various kinds of salmon menus.
I'll post about it if I try them :)



How to get Otaru's tourist infomation easily :)

Hi, how are you?
Otaru has been getting cold gradually. I can't stand cold only wearing short-sleeved T-shirt any more. Please don't forget to prepare worm clothes.
For visitors to Otaru, our city provides many kinds of information materials.
Please refer to the followings ↓

Tourist Map

We have Japanese, English, Chinese, Mandarin and Korean maps.
Website → http://www.otaru.gr.jp/blog/guide-map

Otaru City Guide Book

We have them in Japanese and English.
Website → http://www.otaru.gr.jp/blog/guide-map


This is a map for strolling in Otaru city.
We have English, Chinese, Mandarin and Korean version.
Website → http://www.city.otaru.lg.jp/sisei_tokei/otaru/foreigner/otaru-map.html

Otaru Tourism Access Guide

This guide is for visitors for the first time in Otaru. Has many information such as how to get bus and train, Japanese manner and nearby other cities tourist information.
We have them in English, Chinese, Mandarin and Korean.
Website → http://www.city.otaru.lg.jp/kankou/torikumi/china/gengo_barrier_free.html

Of course each tourist information center in Otaru has these materials but you can request them from Otaru tourism association by E-mail. We can send you.
Please apply to us... http://otaru.gr.jp/contact/


Basic Tourist Information 3 ~ Climinate & Clothes ~

 Hokkaido is known as a really cold place...apart from this summer:-P
Last summer was soooo hot for us but Otaru is livable place by ordinary.
The hardest season in Otaru is winter.
Snowfall begin from the beginning of November, and come down till the beginning of April.
The coldest term is from January to the beginning of March. The outside temperature reaches below zero.
We can see beautiful views only because of the below freezing wolrd.
Otaru has every winter attractive spots, such as the Canal  frozen the surface of itself, historic buildings surrounded by snow, ski resorts and outside hot spring with winter scenery etc.
If you are planning to visit Hokkaido and enjoy these attractions for this winter, please refer to this.

Please don't forget to prepare protection against cold, for example woolen cap, groves, scarf and so on. It is important that don't expose your skin :)
In addition, during winter in Otaru, streets become sooooo slippery. Even for us, it's easy to fall down.
Please prepare shoes which have non-slip soles or, I recommend to get non-skid bands for your shoes. These bands can be purchased easily at every store during winter.
And personally, I dress in layers during winter because I'm sensitive to the cold. Many stores sell great goods called "Hokkairo". It's small sheet packed from plastic bag. After you open it, it becomes very warm.
It might be interesting to find special protection against cold yourself.


Basic Tourist Information 2 ~Access in Otaru~

After you arrive at Otaru, there are some methods to look round.
I'll introduce you about "Access in Otaru" today.
Click the picture to see a larger image

Otaru has many attractions in walkable distances from JR Otaru station.
Left image is the estimate of time for strolling.
On your first trip to Otaru, these methods are convenient such as sightseeing taxi, rickshaw and reglar bus tour.
For example, there is a taxi rank in front of JR Otaru station and  station road.
The taxi fare of Otaru is reasonable compared to city center.
The base fare is about 500 yen, that's why we also use it at ease.
If you request them as a sightseeing taxi, they will take you to  tourist spots with guiding. Basic fare rate is 5,200 yen per hour.
Another good way to look round Otaru is a taking rickshaw.
These cool guys guide you :)
They prepare many kinds of routes, for example...
Romantic Tour (charter for 30min)
Asakusa bridge Otaru Port North canal Denukikoji street Former Northern wall street etc.
Nostalgic Tour (charter for one hour)
Asakusa bridge Otaru Port North canal Denukikoji street Former Northern wall street Former Nihon Yusen Co. (entrance) Former Temiya railway etc.
Exotic Tour (charter for two hours)
Asakusa bridge Otaru Port North canal Denukikoji street Former Northern wall street Whole canal Former Nihon Yusen Co. (entrance) Former Temiya railway Former Bank of Japan (Museum of finance) Recommended spots by ricksha man etc.
One zone (10min) ... 2,000 yen (one adult)   3,000 yen (two adults)
30 min ... 5,000 yen (one adult)   8,000 yen (two adults)
45 min ... 7,500 yen (one adult)   12,000 yen (two adults)
60 min ... 9,000 yen (one adult)   15,000 yen (two adults)
If you have whole day for sightseeing in Otaru, how about join a day bus tour?
Chuo-bus company provides "Otaru Bay Story Tour".
Click the picture to see a larger image
This tour starts from Sapporo. Of course you can join it from Otaru.
Please make a reservation  in advance.
This bus company operates  "Otaru Stroller's Bus".
This bus can be used easier without reservation. It's like a local bus and has four different routes going round lots of sightseeing spots from in front of JR Otaru station. If you get a one day pass ( Adult 750 yen, Child 380 yen), you'll be able to get every city bus.
Each method is not so difficult to take for visitors from overseas.
Feel free to ask us if you have any problems about access :)
【Applications & Inquiries】
Rickshaw Otaru Ebisuya
Tel +81 134 27 7771
Website ... www.ebisuya.com
Hokkaido Chuo-bus Co,Ltb.
Tel +81 11 231 0500
International Information Center in Otaru
Tel +81 134 33 1661
Inquiry form ... http://otaru.gr.jp/contact/


Basic Tourist Information 1 ~Access to Otaru~

Hello, how are you??
The forecast calls for the hottest day in Otaru...probably this is the last hot day in this summer.
I often post information about attractions of Otaru but first of all, I thought that nobody can visit our city without basic tourist information.
That's why I decided to post these information periodically.
First basic information is "Access to Otaru".
Otaru is located in quite convenient area in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido has some airports and the largest one is "New Chitose Airport".

If you take a JR train from New Chitose Airport, you can reach Otaru just in 72 minutes, via Sapporo. (by rapid-service train.)
From Sapporo to Otaru, it takes 32 minutes by rapid train, and 50 minutes by local train.
Train from Sapporo run alongshore. You can enjoy amazing sea view.
By JR Train
-From New Chitose Airport-
It's operated about every 15 minutes. Rapid train is operated every 30 minutes. One way 1,740 yen for adult.
-From Sapporo-
It's operated at least every 10 minutes.One way 620 yen for adult, 310 yen for child.
By Car
-From New Chitose Airport-
Expressway toll(from Chitose to Otaru) is 2,050 yen (standard-sized car).
-From Sapporo-
Expressway toll (from Sapporo west to Otaru) is 800 yen (standard-sized car).
By Bus
-From Sapporo-
It's operated at least every 10 minutes. Fare is 590 yen for adult, 300 yen for child.  
※There is no bus from New Chitose Airport to Otaru directly. If you want to use bus, please transfer at Sapporo.
If you have any questions, never mind.
There are tourist information center at each station.
Also, each station has hire car service desk and bus terminal in front of itself.
Please feel free to ask us :)


Free admission ~Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Week~

In Japan, September 17 is a public holiday as the Respect-for-Senior-Citizens day.
So, lots of Japanese people have three holidays from September 15.
Also I have a good information for people aged 70 or over.
During the Respect-for-Senior-Citizens week(Sep15 ~21), people over 70 years can enter following facilities for free. (※Need to show your identification.)

Otaru Museum
 Close: Tuesday
 Tel: +81 134 33 2523

Otaru Museum Canal branch
 Close: ×
 Tel: +81 134 22 1258

Otaru city Museum of Art
 Close: Monday
 Tel: +81 134 34 0035

Otaru Literary Museum
 Close: Monday
 Tel: +81 134 32 2388

Former Otaru branch of Nihon Yusen Co.
 Close: Tuesday
 Tel: +81 134 22 3316

Temiya Cavern Preservation Center
 Close: Tuesday
 Tel: +81 134 24 1092

Nishin Goten (Herring Mansion)
 Close: × (During this week)
 Tel: +81 134 22 1038

Please come and visit them, if you are planning to travel in Otaru :)


Little Halloween Party

 Hi, how are you??
Today's temperature is 28 degrees!
Still like we are in summer...normally in Hokkaido, September is the begging of Autumn but this year is special...too HOT!!
Talking with visitors to Otaru, everybody says "Too hot, is always Otaru hot like this?".
I think that Hokkaido is considered cold place, that's why everybody is surprised.
Still Otaru is like in summer but many kinds of products are prepared for Autumnal event.
In Canal Plaza, you can get these cute glass products.

Pretty isn't it??
If I find other pretty goods, I'll post again:)

Come to see us★


Otaru Bier Oktober Fest!!

Hi, how are you?
It's sudden but have you ever heard "Oktober fest"?
It's German.
Speaking honestly, I had never heard this word until I knew this happy event.
"Otaru Bier Oktober Fest" will be held from September 13 to 17 at Otaru Beer Brewery.
I checked about "Oktober fest" on the Internet, it's saying...

「Oktober fest is the annual event which is held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Originally, it's held in a celebration of marriage of Crown prince Ludwig and Princess Sachsen of the day, in 1810. Today, it is the biggest festival in the world, and many people join it and enjoy beer.」

Well, don't you think why the event will be held in Otaru?
Actually, Otaru's craft beer is made using German method. Also, you can enjoy many kinds of Otaru's craft beer, home-made sausages and Germanic meals at Brewery.
So, in "Otaru Bier Oktober Fest", specially a popular Oktober fest band, "Edertaler Spitzbuben" will come to Otaru!! and  they're gonna perform live.

***This is a schedule of their musical performance***
Sep 13 (Thu) ①17:30 ~ ②20:00 ~
Sep 14 (Fri) ①15:00 ~ ②17:30 ~ ③20:00 ~
Sep 15 (Sat) ①12:00 ~ ②15:00 ~ ③17:30 ~ ④20:00 ~
Sep 16 (Sun) ①12:00 ~ ②15:00 ~ ③17:30 ~ ④20:00 ~
Sep 17 (Mon) ①12:00 ~ ②15:00 ~ ③17:30 ~ ④20:00 ~
Don't need to pay additional charge for music live performance!! Please just enjoy beer and meals as usual.

Otaru Bier Oktober Fest
Date Sep 13 (Thu) to 17 (Mon)
Place Otaru Beer Brewery
Access 15 minutes walk from JR Otaru station. It's located along the Otaru canal.
Website www.otarubeer.com/jp
Tel +81 134 21 2323

How about enjoy music and craft beer having a look beautiful canal view??
Have Fun!!


Monthly Event Information ~'12 Sep~

The final fireworks display in this summer seemed to be a big success last night.
Besides the fireworks, lots of fun events will be held this month.

The 10th Bar Hopping FestivalSep 12
Ticket Exchange... 6 pm ~
Start... 7 pm
Goal... 8:30 pm
Place... Main stage is located at Sun Mall shopping street
Access... 10 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
Ticket... 3,500 yen
This is a night event to go bar-hopping around Hanazono area. You can enjoy supplied 5 bars in 90 minutes. After you finish bar hopping, the great draw is held at the main stage. You might get 5,000 yen in cash!! Also everybody can get beautiful gift!!!

Autumnal Delicious Fair Sep 14 ~ 23
Schedule... 9 am ~ 6 pm
Place... Tanaka Sake Brewery Head Store, Tanaka Sake Brewery Kikkogura branch
Access... To head store, 15 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
To Kikkogura branch, take strolling bus B from Chuo-bus otaru station terminal, and get off at Kikkogura sake museum. 15 minutes.
Highly-selected local specialty of Shiribeshi area can be purchased at this event. On Sep 14, tasting event for refined sake, craft beer, wine, and liqueur is held at Kikkogura branch.

CAN Art FestivalSep 15 ~ 17
Schedule... 9 am ~ 5 pm
Place... Canal Plaza hall
Access... 10 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
CAN Art Festival is created from CAN's exhibition thinking for conservation of the environment. The theme of this year is "Extraterrestrial space! Let's protect earth's environment".

(※Last year's)

Shiribeshi Harvest FestivalSep 16 ~ 17
Schedule... 10 am ~ 5 pm
Place... Nature Chamber, 5th ave, 1st floor, Wing Bay Otaru
Access... Get off JR train at Otaru Chikko station or take strolling bus B from Chuo-bus otaru station terminal, and get off at Wing Bay Otaru(20 minutes).
Introductions and sales of Shiribeshi's specialty are held. Many kinds of products will be sold, such as a product which you can enjoy natural taste of material itself, processed goods using fresh fishes. In addition, the another fair will be held at the same time, and fresh foods will be sold by farm producers from all over the country. 

Autumnal Miyako Fair Art street in Miyako street 2012Sep 21 ~ 23
Schedule... 11 am ~ 5 pm
Place... Miyako shopping street
Access... 5 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
Miyako street will be decorated with many balloons. During this evnt, some booths will appear for selling fresh organic vegetables and so on.


Autumnal Village FestivalSep 23
Schedule... 10 am ~ 3 pm
Place... Otaru Nature Village
Access... I recommend to book free shuttle bus. 7 minutes by car from JR Otaru station.
Tel... +81 134 25 1701
You can enjoy "Japanese old-time game", flea market, and vegetable markets.

Otaru Bine First brewed Wine CarnivalSep 26
Schedule... 5 pm ~ 9:30 pm (last admission 9 pm)
Place... Otaru Bine
Access... 10 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
This is an event in which you can enjoy "First brewed" wine at ease as a stand-up party. It is all you can drink for 90 minutes including five kinds of Otaru wine. Also they serve autumnal seasonal dish for 300 yen.

Otaru Lighting up Strolling Tour
Every Tuesday and Friday until October
Schedule... 6 pm~ required about 45 minutes
Place... Former Temiya railway Ironai station
Access... 10 minutes walk from JR Otaru station
Tour around illuminated historical buildings with guides. Depart Ironai station and break up at Otaru canal. Unnecessary for reservation. Free of charge.

Steam Locomotive Niseko
Every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays of Sep 15 ~ Nov 4
Fare... Return ticket for Sapporo ~ Rankoshi (free area between Otaru Chikko and Rankoshi) 3,600 yen (fare 2,800 yen, reserved seat 800 yen) ※Child's fare is half price. Please inquire for other area's fare.
《To Rankoshi》 Sapporo 8:31 → Otaru (Arr 9:17) Dep 9:58 → Yoichi 10:32 → Niki 10:40 → Kozawa 11:16 → Kutchan (Arr 11:35) Dep 11:45 → Niseko 12:03 → Konbu 12:17 → Rankoshi (Arr 12:27) Dep 12:32 → Konbu 12:43 → Niseko 12:57 → Kutchan 13:16
《To Sapporo》 Niseko 15:40 → Kutchan (Arr 15:59) Dep 16:18 → Kozawa 16:32 → Niki 17:07 → Yoichi 17:16 → Otaru (Arr 17:47) Dep 18:13 → Sapporo 18:59
JR Otaru station... +81 134 22 0771

There are other exhibition, events and more in Otaru.
If you are planning to visit Otaru, please use this information as a reference :)


Final Fireworks Display in this summer!!

Hi, how are you??
Otaru is in beautiful weather today!!!

I have a reason for that I'm really happy for this weather.
That is...
Otaru's final fireworks display
in this summer is held today!!

 September 8. 2012 
 5pm~ (Shooting is scheduled from 7pm)
Shukutsu area (from the shore in front of Herring mansion to parking area of Otaru aquarium)
By bus...20 minutes from Otaru station chuo-bus terminal. Bus# 10 or 11, Gate# 3. Please get off at last bus stop.

Some shows will be held at main stage at parking area of Otaru aquarium.

Have fun!!!