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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 29, 2019
Headline for 6 Unforgettable Things to do in Otaru on a Day Trip – exploring the northern city of Otaru
Joanna James Joanna James
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6 Unforgettable Things to do in Otaru on a Day Trip – exploring the northern city of Otaru

There's plenty to do in Otaru, from museums to restaurants and bars to a relaxing dip in the hot springs. Here are some of the best spots.


Squid Ink Ice Cream

Being a much lesser-known travel destination in Japan, and located in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Otaru is far away from the tourist trail, but that's not to say it doesn't have some interesting characteristics. The quaint city has a big café culture and among them some of the most novel ice cream flavours in the world! Otaru is known for its ice cream, and among the exotic flavours, you'll find the Squid Ink Ice Cream, an Otaru delicacy which tastes nothing like you'd imagine.


strolls along Otaru Canal

If you've got limited time in Otaru, this is among the attractions you don't want to miss! Otaru is a port city steeped in history. A stroll alongside the Otaru Canal takes you back to 1920's Japan, a time of European influence in architectural styles. Basing yourself beside the canal will give you great views of the port, and there are many great hotels like Grand Park Otaru, for example, that is located just a stones' throw from the docks. The canal here is now lined with many busy cafes and some old warehouses, which makes for beautiful walks. If you're Otaru for a short time, base yourself at an Otaru Hotel Near Jr Station to make the most of your time.


The Wall Street of Nichigin-dori

Once the financial centre of Hokkaidō, Nichigin-dori was commonly referred to as the 'Wall Street of the North. The 1920s grand, western-style buildings of stone and brick – the style of the time – still remain untouched to this day, many of which line the town's central canal. Nichigin-dori is also home to a money museum, which is a must-see while in Otaru.


Try the Local Brew

The Japanese take their brew seriously, and Otaru is among the best parts of Japan to sample local brew including sake, wine and local beers. Otaru has quite a few distilleries, many of them heavily influenced by Germany. So pick your poison and join a guided tour to any one of the amazing breweries for a deeper understanding of local spirits and a chance to sample them at the factory. The town also has plenty of pubs, with German styled food and a wide selection of beers.


Glass Trinkets

Otaru was the capital of glass production in the olden day Japan, and to date has several glass factories and museums which make for a great outing for families. The city is particularly famous for its glass-blown figurines. Enjoy an independent walk through any of the museums. Try your hand at making your own glass trinkets or let the kids do this while you pick up some signature pieces found only in this city.


Visit the Otaru Hot springs

The Hokkaido region is known for its hot springs, and just a short drive will take you to some fantastic hot springs in Otaru. It's the ultimate luxury and quintessential Japanese spa experience!

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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