Otaru: Best Things to Do

Otaru - Photo by ng carrie on Flickr

Otaru is a port city in Shiribeshi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan, northwest of Sapporo.

Otary has several popular tourist attractions which are very interesting and worth visiting. Such as Otaru Music Box Museum and Otaru Museum.

If you are looking for some Otaru themed souvenirs, you can visit Kitaichi glass outlet.

Are you curious what are popular dishes in Otaru? We recommend you to visit Sushi Dokoro Shun and Masa Zushi. They have a wide variety of sushi.

Stroll around Herring Goten Otaru VIP Hall (former Aoyama villa) and Otaru Canal. Get relaxed or maybe you can take some photos there!

Enjoy Otaru and it will never disappoint you! Keep reading this First Time Tourist Guide by Tripboba to get more information. Let's go!



Otaru Music Box Museum is a music museum in the Otaru Orgel-do II building in Otaru, Japan. It includes several examples of music boxes as well as CDs which have music box-esque versions of various songs. The main building of the museum was constructed in 1902. You can see antique music boxes in Hall two. This building features several of the oldest musical devices to be found in Otaru including French music boxes from the nineteenth century, a grand Engi. In addition, there are about 25,000 music boxes here.

Otaru Music Box Museum

Lovely little shop + museum with mostly music boxes for sale.

The building itself is really traditional and has a steam clock in front

You’ll find hundreds of different musical boxes, some of them are wooden, some made of glass or metal.

A must visit for those who love music box and acoustics.

Address : 4-1 Sumiyoshicho, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0015, Japan


The Otaru Aquarium is a large-scale aquarium of Hokkaido with 350,000 guests yearly. The west side of Hokkaido, about an hour by car from Sapporo, is surrounded by naturally confronting the Sea of Japan. It's such an incredible place!
In addition, inside the large and little aquarium, there are 5000 cold and warm water fishes of 250 varieties on display. We recommend you visit during the winter season. There are penguins taking a walk in the snow. Besides, there are also so many sights to see including the fun dynamic dolphin show, the earless seal mealtime, and the walrus cute performance.

Otaru Aquarium

The aquarium is quite interesting place for visiting with whole family.

There is plenty of shows to see and you could also view and touch marine life.

They even have seal & dolphin performance shows, which is really great to experience.

Definitely recommended to see it.

Address : 3 Chome-303 Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0047, Japan


This shop is open daily from 8.45 to 6 p.m. Actually Kitaichi glass outlet is a historical stone on the wood frame building and established in 1891. This building contains both a Kitaichi glass outlet and a cafe. It is also well known for its grand hall lit with one of a kind oil lamps and a wide selection of charming Kitaichi glass items you might like.

Kitaichi Glass Building

Beautiful place to stop by and shop.

Kitaichi Glass outlet has all the local made carefully artified by Japanese artwork beautiful decore art pieces.

Nice to look at the various glass designs and patterns.

Address : 7-20 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0027, Japan


We all know that Sushi is a famous dish in Japan. There are several restaurants that offer various kinds of sushi. In addition, Le TAO is another famous food in Japan, especially in Otaru, Hokkaido. It is an amazing cake with a dairy-based sweet. The line-up includes a cheesecake, a chocolate cake, cheese cookies, and rich creamy puddings between other delightful treats. In addition, Whilst sake or known of rice wine is the national drink of Japan, lager-beer or pronounced "beer-ru" in Japanese. They are all worth tasting!


Japanese culture was impacted from ancient times to the Middle Ages basically by numerous Chinese dynasties and to a lesser degree by other Asian nations. For example, the Japanese language uses Chinese characters (kanji) for writing, but the Japanese has no genetic relationship with the Chinese. In the near-contemporary history since the Meiji time Japan was essentially affected by western nations.


The best time to visit Otaru for ideal weather is between May 28th to October 14th.


Grand Park Otaru is a luxury stay which is located in the bay area in Otaru. It gives you easy access to Yacht Harbour in Otaru Marina and also offers a magnificent view of Ishikari Bay and the view of Mt. Shokubutsu on the horizon. The hotel also provides a special moment away from routine and incredible resort life. Hotel Nord Otaru is located in a strategic place. There are a restaurant and bar at the hotel. You can easily access other popular places near the hotel.


Amazing property to stay and easy access to train station and mall.

The room is spacious with king-sized bed and clean.

Overall staff are great and accommodating.

Best for short stay and/or driving traveler and very reasonable price as well.

Address : 11-3 Chikko, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0008, Japan

Hotel Nord Otaru

This hotel is amazing in the old building but with modern furnishings.

Beds are comfortable and comes with memory foam pillows.

Breakfast buffet is very good for the price.

All staff are welcoming and helpful.

The location is perfect for walking around the small town.

Address : 1 Chome-4-16 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0031, Japan


It's time to enjoy a wide selection of local seafood from Hokkaido and Otaru. Sushi Dokoro Sun is located close to Otaru Station and Otaru Canal. You can taste Keiji salmon which is a rare type to be one in 10,000 finds. Besides, you can also order a Nigiri Sushi, an array of sushi which demonstrates the chef's attentive skills. Masa Zushi offers the relaxation of a meal to the customer and they have a special menu like Maguro or tuna year-round. The fish is produced from the Atlantic Ocean near Canada which is known the best in the world. In addition, they also have a wide selection of multi-course meals which suits for business meetings or dinner parties.

Sushi Dokoroshun

Friendly local Japanese sushi place.

Fresh ingredients in traditional Japanese sushi style.

The squid soup noodles and steamed rice bowls that you can eat in the cupon are delicious.

Nice chef and excellent skill.

Address : 1 Chome-2-11 Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0032, Japan

Masa Zushi

The best sushi restaurant in Otaru.

The freshest and tastiest sushi served by attentive waiter in a great ambience.

Full English menu available which is helpful.

And you can see chefs make sushi right in front of you with respect.

Address : 1 Chome-1-1 Hanazono, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0024, Japan


We will recommend you to visit this unique place called Press Cafe. There are two vintage-style cars, one at the outside and the other one is inside the cafe. For the menu, they have several selections of Japanese pasta, curry rice, and various types of cakes and coffee. Other than the Japanese foods, they also have West dishes as well. This cafe offers lunch and dinner every day except on Thursday. We recommend you to visit LeTAO Pathos, they have a special selection menu such as Double Plumage and you can also enjoy Jersey Milk Pudding. There is a limited product which uses Hokkaido jersey milk and Le Tao original fresh cream. So, this cafe must be on your itinerary while visiting Otaru! It's worth visiting!

LeTAO Pathos

If you don't go to LeTAO while in Otaru you're missing out on one of Hokkaido's food (at least dessert-wise) highlights.

Delicious cheese pastries and desserts and their popular double cheese cake.

Menu is so good presentation at reasonable price.

Tthe waiters are superb with amazing vibes.

Address : 5-22 Sakaimachi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0027, Japan

Press Café

A very cool cafe with wonderful decor of Aston Martin luxury vehicles.

The ceiling is high and there is a sense of openness, and the classic cars located in the center and outside.

Coffee is perfect, and the pancakes are delicious.

The waiters are excellent and quick.

Address : 3 Chome-3-21 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0031, Japan


We recommend these special places which offer Otaru beers and include a traditional method. Otaru Beer Warehouse No.1 uses the traditional method because it can produce much higher quality. There is four raw material added in the beer like malt, hop, Otaru water, and yeast. If you are curious, this place should not be skipped. It's worth visiting. In Nikka Rita, you can taste both a wide selection of international and domestic whiskey. We recommend you to enjoy three types of key malt limited to the Yoichi Distillery.

Nikka Rita

Lovely hideaway bar in Otaru-Shi which provides various spirits from NIKKA.

A vast selection of whisky is available, as well as some light snacks.

The bartenders are wonderful, and the service fantastic.

Address : 1-1 Ironai, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0031, Japan

Otaru Beer Otaru Warehouse No.1

The space is really nice and their beer are must to try if you are visited Otaru.

The beer types, food, and music are German and the prices are extremely reasonable.

Highly recommended for their seafood too.

Address : Japan, 〒047-0007 Hokkaido, Otaru, 港町5−4 小樽運河倉庫群


Herring Goten Otaru VIP Hall (former Aoyama villa) or well known as The Old Aoyama Villa was built up over two generations by Tomekichi and Masakichi Aoyama. The primary material is keyaki (zelkova wood) from Sakata. In the various rooms, the traditional alcoves (tokonoma) are built in rosewood (shitan), blackwood (kokutan), Bombay blackwood (tagayasan), and Japanese cedar. In addition, Otaru has listed the importance of this building as one of the tangible cultural properties.

Herring Goten Otaru VIP Hall (former Aoyama villa)

Fascinating villa if you are interested in local history as the rooms contain many beautiful antiques.

It's a huge building with exhibition halls and well cared garden.

You cannot take photos inside but the garden area is very picturesque.

Take your time and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the complex.

Address : 3 Chome-63 Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0047, Japan


Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) is a central part of the city's bustling port in the main port of the twentieth century. A large vessel was emptied by littler boats, which at that point shipped the products to stockrooms along the canal. The canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels. Because of a residents' development, a part of the trench was wonderfully reestablished during the 1980s as opposed to canal landfilled, while the distribution centers were changed into museums, shops, and restaurants.

Otaru Canal

Flanked by restaurants, shops & vendors, this historic canal has a romantic, old-timey ambiance

Address : 5 Minatomachi, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0007, Jepang