Northwest of Sapporo City, Otaru is best known as a city rich in history and scenic beauties. It takes about 30 minutes to reach by car from Sapporo and is easily accessible by both highway bus and train.
One of the must-sees when in Otaru is definitely the many stores selling beautifully crafted glassware. From the Meiji to the Taisho era of Japan, the people of Otaru had to use oil lamps and floating balls, both made of glass, to lead their ordinary lives, and this made the glass-making industry in the area very prosperous.
The streets of Otaru are lined with shops and craft studios making and selling a wide variety of glassware, from dining utensils to jewelry. Don’t forget to also try out making your own glassware from scratch in one of these stores! You can also choose to make small accessories as a gift to your loved ones, such as in the photographs above.
As a port city, Otaru is perhaps also known for its thriving shipping and fishing industry. The Otaru Canal, once crucial to the city, is now a popular tourist spot, offering visitors the opportunity to take beautiful Instagrammable photos. You can also ride a boat along the canal and enjoy the views of Otaru to the fullest.
Otaru cannot be called a port city without the local seafood delicacies. Do head down to one of the many restaurants along the main street which offer the freshest catch of the day.
Otaru Music Box Museum
The Otaru Music Box Museum is also one of the must-sees in Otaru. Located inside an antiquated building at the end of the main street, this museum houses thousands of music boxes, each with a different melody that is simply pleasing to the ear. There are several special exhibitions on music boxes as well, so do check them out!
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