Otaru makes a great day trip from Sapporo as it’s not so far away. 

You could even do it in half a day as it’s a small enough place but spend the day to take it easy.

This is what I got up to and recommend for you.




Otaru Day Trip From Sapporo




Otaru square is a good place to start as it’s central and not far from the train station.

If you want to get straight to the canal area and seafront just follow the main road straight from the station out front and it will take you 10 minutes to walk it.


Otaru square.

otaru Japan



The modern seaside city.

otaru Japan


The main thing to see in Otaru is the canal which was built in 1923.

You can walk alongside the whole of the canal and it makes for the perfect stroll. 

Tip: Do the canal walk in the evening when oil lamps form the past are used to light up the way. Very cool to see.


Otaru canal.

otaru canal



Warehouse on the canal.

otaru canal


A popular way to see the canal is to take an open top wooden boat along it.


Taking a boat down the Otaru canal is another way to see it.




Sunset by the canal.

otaru Japan


Be sure to try the ice cream in Otaru as there are some weird Japanese ice cream flavours that are unique to try.

Kita-no Aisukurimu-ya-san ice cream shop is the best place to go to try them.

Feeling brave? How about squid ink or sea urchin ice cream…. yes I’m serious.

There are plenty of other delicious Japanese sweets to try as well and the cows milk from Hokkaido is world renowned for good quality.


ice cream otaru Japan







You don’t need to stay in Otaru as it can be easily done as a day trip from Sapporo but if you choose to you can find a place to stay in Otaru here.

For more information on other parts of Hokkaido take a look at visiting the Sapporo Beer Museum when in Sapporo and my Rishiri and Ruben Islands guide.

If you plan to move around a lot on your trip to Japan then it’s a good idea to take a Japan Rail Pass (get one with that link) to save money on the fast Shinkansen trains.



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otaru Japan travel


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