Otaru is located in the center of western coast of Hokkaido and surrounded by hills on three sides with many slopes but the last side is the port facing Ishikari Bay is called “Natural good port” from the old days and it is the port town that once greatly prospered by herring fishery.
In Otaru, which had attracted the attention as a reshipment port for coal mined out at inland of Hokkaido, the Japan’s 3rd oldest commercial railroad was laid in 1880.
In this way, Otaru port has been developed considerably as “Gateway to Hokkaido”.
Otaru became international trading port early in the day, many merchants and monetary facilities advanced into there.
Many western style, gorgeous and elegant buildings such as banks and business firms are located at Ironai and Sakaimachi areas still now and they teach us history steadily that Otaru once prospered as important commercial area.
One of Otaru’s symbols, “Canal” was completed in 1923 and it has strung stone warehouses along itself and it was alive with ships.
After finishing their rules, warehouses are reused for souvenir shops and restaurants now and running into Otaru’s atmosphere.
Canal became also present looking, after the maintenance of its walkway.
The surface of canal which is lighted up by gas lamps and illuminated stone warehouses produce romantic atmospheres and enchant visitors.
Now, there are many glass studios and shops in Otaru, but the history of glass in Otaru begun for necessaries such as oil lamp and fishery floating glass ball. And then, glass became popular as souvenir.
Many craftsmen were assembled at Otaru and you can see many kinds of glass handiworks now.
Orgel (music box) is also quite popular that its nostalgic tones suit with retroactive atmosphere of Otaru.
Port town, Otaru has various food culture and particularly, famous for sushi with plentiful fish and shellfish caught at the sea near the shore and processed marine products.
In addition, there were lots of rice cake sweets shops because there were many laborers and digested slowly, so rice cake sweets were appreciated by them.
Still now, there are some sweets shops that has been opened since old days.
Otaru is also blessed with natures, we can enjoy them in all seasons.
The coastline around the Otaru city is well known as having absolutely beautiful scenery and above all, the beauty of bluff at the Otamoi coast is called the best beauty spot of Otaru’s coast, and what’s more, you can enjoy it from the coastal cruise ship.
Mt.Tengu is famous for “The Ski resort with a view of port”, which has ropeway to its top and we can see the whole Otaru city.
Asarigawa Onsen (hot spring) area is located 30 minutes driving from the center of Otaru city and surrounded by mountains on three sides. This area is well known as a quiet Onsen (hot spring) area and you can enjoy seasonal natures sufficiently.