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Top Things to Do in Otaru, Japan – A Hidden Coastal Gem

Otaru might be a port city on Hokkaido’s coast, but there’s more to it. It blends history, art, and a touch of magic against a scenic backdrop. With its picture-perfect canal and stunning glasswork, Otaru brings you a fantastic mix of old-world charm and creativity.


Otaru Canal Museum | img via flickr


Otaru Canal

The Otaru Canal is Otaru’s heartbeat. Once teeming with cargo ships, now its warehouses have morphed into cafes, galleries, and boutiques. Evening walks here are simply magical. The canal, with its throwback vibes and serene water reflections, is a picture-perfect vista. Many travellers also recommend staying at any Otaru hotel located close by.

Otaru City Museum Main Building & Canal Museum

Ready to geek out on Otaru’s backstory? Just 10 minutes from Grand Park Otaru is the Otaru City Museum Main Building, offering a deep dive into the city’s culture and railway evolution. Just a hop away, the Canal Museum, housed in a historical warehouse, offers insights into Otaru’s aquatic lifelines and their role in shaping the city.

Sakaimachi Street

Lined with historic buildings and boutique shops, Sakaimachi Street offers an experience that’ll make you want to write home about. Glassware, ceramics, and Hokkaido’s sweet treats are all up for grabs here.

Otaru Art VBase

Showcasing everything from homegrown talents to global art stars, Otaru’s Art VBase is where the city’s creative pulse is at its strongest. With exhibitions that change up regularly and workshops to get your hands dirty, it’s a chance to explore Otaru’s artsy heart.



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