Get out of the big city! Relaxing day at Otaru Canal

Otaru is a big, but quiet town near Sapporo, in Hokkaido. The name Otaru means ‘River of Sands’ in the native language of Ainu. It grew as a harbour and port town and during the early development of Hokkaido experienced a boom as it was one of only a small number of ports on the island. This has helped to create a rich history and variety of architecture and culture. Here are some highlights from my recent trip.

otaru_railwayThe Otaru to Sapporo line was the first in Hokkaido. Above is the now defunct Temiya line.

otaru_government_buildingOtaru, rather than Sapporo, used to be the most important city in Hokkaido. The town is full of buildings from this era, such as the Bank of Japan building.

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There are also lots of old storehouses and shops around Otaruotaru_storehouse

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Otaru Watch Tower has a very cute collected of tightly packed cafes and restaurants around it.otaru_genghis_khanSo I tried out Hokkaido’s famous Genghis Khan barbequed meat. Oishii!!

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I then went for a walk along the canal.
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 The main area was actually smaller than I thought, but if you continue north, there are other less built up canals as well.

Looks like a cool place? For more info, see out Otaru budget travel guide.

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