The town's nostalgic, old-fashioned mood is enhanced by its architecture and layout. A beautiful large canal flows through it.
Otaru is situated in the western part of Hokkaido, facing Ishikari Bay. It has developed and prospered as "the sea entrance of Hokkaido" over the last 100 years and it has gained the nickname "Wall Street of the North." The glassworks shops, coffee shops, restaurants and shopping malls along the canal have been converted from stone-built or brick-built warehouses, which were used for storage in the days when commerce flourished and the canal was crowded with jostling barges. When night falls, oil lamps on the cobbled streets are lit, and the town evokes a gentle, nostalgic mood.
Otaru's nickname is "the town of hills" as there are so many hills, including Jigoku-zaka (hell hill) - a very steep slope, and the long, winding Funami-zaka. Mt. Tengu-yama that towers behind Otaru is a popular ski resort in winter. There is an observation point on Mt. Tengu-yama, and the panoramic view including the whole of Otaru and its port area is absolutely wonderful. There are also cable cars to take you to the mountaintop.
The coastal area in the suburb of Otaru belongs to Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru-Beach Quasi-National Park and beauty spots, including the cliffs at Omotai attract many visitors, especially in summer.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 30 min from Haneda to Shin-Chitose Airport, and 1h 11 min from the airport to Otaru Station by JR Chitose-Hakodate Line (rapid train).
From Osaka :
[Air] 2h 10 min from Itami, or 1h 55 min from Kansai International Airport to Shin-Chitose Airport.