Otaru is a port city in Hokkaido, Japan. The city is near Sapporo and it is a tourist destination for its food, its historical buildings and its shops. Otaru passenger terminal is centrally located 5 mins by taxi from Otaru station.
Map of Otaru and Sapporo
With its many historic buildings, Otaru has become a highly popular tourist destination. Travel to neighboring Sapporo takes about 30 min. by JR express train.
Many of its historical buildings, restaurants and shops are within easy walking distance so walking is a very easy (and cheap) means of getting around Otaru. A suggested walking itinerary begins from the Otaru Music Box Museum at one end of Sakaimachihondori Street, follow the street until it crosses a small canal, walk up the street until the Museum of the Money, and then follow the canal down and then keep following the canal when it turns left and widens up.
There are 40 minute canal cruises that run regularly from the West end of the canal. There are also pleasant short cruises from the harbor that are have the added attraction of the Japanese custom of bird feeding (while squealing excitedly) Great for kids.
Sapporo-Otaru Welcome Pass is a one-day ticket, available only travelers from abroad, allows unlimited rides on JR Hokkaido lines between Sapporo and Otaru Station and all subway lines in Sapporo for one day. ¥1,500
Otaru is a major station on the JR Hakodate Line from Sapporo, with very frequent train runs. At a cost of ¥620, there are at least five trains per hour.
Otaru Canal is the symbol of this city. The gaslights and stone warehouses along the canal producing a beautiful nightscape popular with young couples. There are many cafes, museums, restaurants & shops as well as the brewery restaurant belonging to Otaru Beer.
Otaru is a city famous for its sushi. Over 100 sushi restaurants can be found within it. Sushi Street, a collection of some 20 sushi restaurants, is reached by walking toward the canal from National Route 5.
Otaru is a city also famous for its glass. There are a lot of glass factories.
The currency in Japan is the yen. It comes in denominations of ¥10,000, ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 notes, as well as ¥500, ¥100, ¥50, ¥10, ¥5 and ¥1 coins.
ATMs in Japan are becoming more useful, and most can be used to withdraw funds from overseas accounts. Post offices also offer ATMs. Major credit cards are accepted at a majority of stores and restaurants in large urban areas, but if you plan on spending any time in rural areas, be sure to carry sufficient cash. Japan is still very much a cash society and some stores, hotels and restaurants-regardless of location-refuse credit cards.
Don't tip, as it's considered rude!
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