Historic Canal, Glowing Snowy Path and Mansions at Otaru

Otaru is a small yet beautiful harbor city about 40-45 minutes northwest of Sapporo by local train ride. Otaru served as a major port for trading goods. Hokkaido’s first railway terminal station was built here. Otaru is rich in history, you can find many historical places being carefully preserved throughout the city. Some of the magnificent historical landmarks are the famous Otaru canal, Nikka Whisky Distillery facility, the herring mansions and the city’s museum. If you are eyeing to visit Otaru, you can find furnished apartments to rent in Sapporo with KaguAruoo. Simply visit the site and search for furnished apartments in Sapporo. If you have selected an apartment, sign up, complete your profile and submit one valid form of identification. While waiting for your identification to be verified, you can send your inquiry to the apartment of your choice. You can even communicate with the landlord. In KaguAruoo, there is no paperworks, broker’s fee, guarantor, deposit and key money.

Things to see in Otaru

Otaru Canal 2009The lovely Otaru Canal : The Otaru canal was built to aid the transport of goods in the first half of the 20th century. Before, the large ships were being unloaded by smaller vessels into the dock. Over time, modern facilities enable large ships to unload, thus, the Otaru canal has become outdated and is no longer used. The citizen’s movement in Otaru decided to restore a portion of the canal. The warehouses along the banks were transformed into shops and restaurants. These vintage buildings along with antique gas lamps adorn the banks of the canal. The view of the canal is a wonderful place for taking strolls with your loved ones. The ambience is relaxing and somewhat romantic. If you want to glide through the canal, there are also cruises that will take you along the waterway. The experience from the cruise is truly splendid and offers a unique feeling of being transported into time. The cruise takes about 45 minutes from Chuo Bridge which is only 15 minutes walking distance away from JR Otaru station.

Nishin-Goten1The magnificent Herring Mansions : Otaru’s herring fishing industry was once a prosperous industry. Many fishermen gained wealth from the industry. Thus, these people have built large and beautiful mansions for their residence. Up to this day, these mansions stood the test of time. A famous mansion that served as a residence for a wealthy fisherman’s family is the Aoyama Villa. The construction of the mansion took over 6 years to complete. The mansion is surrounded by a beautiful garden, a courtyard filled with pine trees and rocks. The mansion has a very sophisticated design and is lavishly decorated. Now, the local government is intended to commemorate the herring mansions as a cultural heritage.

小樽雪あかりの路(Otaru Snow Light Path Festival) - panoramio (3)The magical Otaru Snow Light Path Festival : A magical snow festival is being held in Otaru every February. The city transforms into an enchanted paradise filled with cute snow sculptures decorated with lights. The snow sculptures are marvelously glowing everywhere you look. During the festival, these snow lanterns are lit up daily from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The festival is being held at two different locations; Unga Kaijo and Temiyasen Kaijo. Still, you can see these beautiful snow lanterns all over the town. Shops, restaurants, residences and even the canal is ornate with these magical glowing snow sculptures. Otaru has never looked this enchanting at night during the festival. People walk all throughout to savor the experience.

Sakaimachi street Otaru Hokkaido14nThe vibrant Sakaimachi Street : Sakaimachi street is an old merchant street and is now a popular tourist destination in Otaru. It is only a short walk from the station and a block before you reach the famous Otaru canal. Most of the buildings you can find at Sakaimachi are converted to restaurants, shops and cafes. You can enjoy shopping and dining while taking instagrammable photos from these vintage buildings. You can also see museums and glass workshops there. Some shops are offering glass blowing tutorials to tourists. Since Otaru is a harbor town, you will find plenty of seafood restaurants in the area. If you are taking a car, there are also a lot of paid parking spaces near Sakaimachi street.

130823Nikka Wisky Yoichi Distillery Hokkaido Japan18s3Richer through the years with Nikka Whisky Distillery : Nikka Whisky Distillery is one of Japan’s best whisky makers. As a matter of fact, the founder, Taketsuru Masataka is considered as Japan’s father of whisky. This distillery is known for its single malt whisky, which has acquired numerous awards around the world. Masataka san believes that the condition of the place is similar to Scotland and is perfect for crafting the best scotch whisky in Japan. The distillery, from its buildings and equipment, were preserved from its original state in 1934. The entire facility is over 132,000 square meters. The distillery is now open to the public for tours such as a demonstration on how to produce whisky, tours on the original equipment used and a history behind the success of the company. At the end of the tour, visitors are given a chance to taste samples from Nikka Whisky Distillery.

Otaru-museum 20130824 104019Visit Otaru City General Museum for history : The city museum has two separate museums: a history museum and a railway museum. The history museum is located beside Otaru canal. You can see Otaru’s rich history from literature, models and displays. Meanwhile, the railway museum is located on the old terminal of Hokkaido’s first railway station. You can see multiple trains being exhibited in the railway museum, about 50 trains are being skillfully preserved here. A history of Otaru’s first railway is depicted in the museum.

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