"Otaru - harbor city in Hokkaido" Otaru by sunnywong
Otaru Travel Guide: 46 reviews and 152 photos
Otaru is a harbor city, half an hour northwest of Sapporo by train. Its beautiful canal area and interesting herring mansion make Otaru a pleasant one day trip from Sapporo or a nice stop en route to or from the Shakotan Peninsula
Otaru Canal (Otaru Unga) used to be a central part of the city's busy harbor in the first half of the 20th century, when large vessels had to be unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.
The canal became obsolete, when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels. Thanks to a citizens' movement, however, a part of the canal was beautifully restored in the 1980s instead of being landfilled, while the warehouses were transformed into shops, cafes, museums and restaurants.
The canal makes for a pleasant scroll during the day, when various artists present their works to the passing tourists, and it is very romantic in the evening, when the gas lamps are lit.
The Otaru Canal is a 5-10 minute walk straight down the main road from Otaru Station.
Kitaichi Glass Shops
When the herring fishing industry declined in the 1950s, the makers of glass buoys diverted their business to produce refined glassware, as the demand for buoys plunged. The result today are numerous glass shops, which now carter mainly to souvenir hungry tourists.
Among the glass related attractions are the Kitaichi Glass Shops of Otaru's most famous glass maker.
When the herring fishing industry declined in the 1950s, the makers of glass buoys diverted their business to produce... more travel advice
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