The city of Otaru is located in the western part of Hokkaido. A one hour train or car ride will take you to this appealing port town from Sapporo station. Founded in 1923, Otaru Unga (canal) is the only canal in Hokkaido. The promenades and gardens are beautifully laid out around this gently curved 1,140-meter-long canal. Stone warehouses that line the canal were used as temporary storage places of shipments in the past. Now they are utilized for tourism purposes such as restaurants or souvenir shops. The canal is lit up in the evening making the area very romantic.
Sightseeing on a cruise boat in this exotic and romantic popular port is highly recommended. Many boats are still docked in the northern part of the port, and there are chic cafes and live music venues as well. On the south side, you will see the beautiful Asakusabashi Gaien plaza and the promenade from the boat.
Otaru Asakusabashi Gaien is a plaza that is located at Asakusa Bridge. This bridge is where the canal and the street with historic buildings cross. This plaza is a popular among visitors to take photos of the canal and the historic stone warehouses. It looks beautiful during the day, but it is even more fascinating when the warehouses are lit up at night.
The stone warehouses remain almost the same as when they were built and are now utilized as restaurants and shops. There are huge restaurants that offer buffets of fresh local seafood and sushi. A wide variety of souvenir shops are located here as well and attract many visitors.
Snow Light Path
Yuki Akari no Michi or Snow Light Path is a fantastic festival where the old town is lit up by snow candles and floating glass candles on the canal. This festival draws 500,000 visitors every year. You will appreciate the peaceful and serene atmosphere of this town.