2016 Hokkaido Winter Holiday - Day 3 in Otaru

Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6day 7day 8day 9 trip report

After spending 2 days in Sapporo, we moved on to Otaru this morning. Every winter Hotel Mercure provides shuttle bus service which made the access very convenient, see time table here. We went down to lobby 10 minutes before departure time, wanted to take the free shuttle bus to Sapporo JR station but there was no space for 2 of us with luggage and we took cab in the end. So better be there early.

Getting here and around

The easiest way would be by JR train. It took us about an hour from Sapporo JR station. 

Our accommodation for the night, Kourakuen, is not within walking distance from Otaru station so we took a cab from Otaru-chikko station. We can actually leave our luggage at Otaru station luggage storage locker but we still prefer to leave it in hotel first. 

What to do in Otaru

Most attractions in Otaru can be accessed by foot. Otaru Canal, Sakaimachi street, Otaru music box museum and all kinds of souvenir shops.

Music box museum, for some people this maybe an interesting place to visit this place, but also the biggest tourist trap.

You can make your own musical box here.

Many different kinds of musical box.

Kitaichi glass 3gokan 北一硝子3号馆 (11am - 5pm), I did not visit this place. There is cafe inside.

Otaru Canal is the symbol of this town. Some say it's just a smelly drain, a larger version. I wouldn't say this is a must see, but people always think of this canal when talking about Otaru. 

What to eat in Otaru


Otaru is well known for sushi and there is this sushi street. It is about 200m long and has a few big sushi restaurants such as Masazsushi 政寿司, Nihonbashi 日本桥, Shikamaz 寿司和食, Yamatoya 大和家, Machino 町の寿し and 20 over smaller sushi shops. 
We choose to dine at Masazsushi. We ordered sushi set, chawanmushi and chutoro sashimi.  

Ice cream

Hokkaido is famous for its dairy product. The rainbow tower ice cream from a stall beside art museum. It looked beautiful on picture but didn't taste that nice actually. Better don't waste your money on this but you should still try Hokkaido ice cream.

Sweet souvenirs

Le Tao, famous for its double layers fromage cheesecake. Fellow Singaporeans now do not need to travel to Hokkaido for this, LeTao had just setup a takeaway kiosk at ION Orchard basement 1 since December 2016.

Cream puff from Rokkatei 六花亭

If you happen to be there, you should buy their famous Marusei butter sandwich

Cafe in Kitakaro 北果楼

This one also another must buy, Kaitaku Okaki (flavored rice cracker).

Otaru is quieter and slower in pace compare to Sapporo. Most shops in Otaru close after 6pm or earlier, which means the whole town shuts down after 6pm. If you are coming here for day trip, make it early in the morning. Since there is nothing much to do at night here, the best entertainment would be spending a night in a ryokan here, enjoy their delicious kaiseki dinner then soak in an outdoor private in room onsen. So shiok.

I found this ryokan, Otaru Kourakuen in tripadvisor.com when I was planning my visit to Otaru. Read my review for this ryokan here.    

We board the bus bound for Asarigawa Onsen from JR Otaru station Chuo bus terminal platform number 2 (bus number 13) and get off at Kourakuen-mae. Bus journey took about 23 mins with bus fare 210 yen. Bus stop is just in front of Kourakuen.  

Welcome dessert.

Half board traditional multiple course Japanese dinner.

Our room comes with private in room outdoor onsen, that allowed us to enjoy onsen anytime. I used it after dinner and after breakfast the next day. Shiok! 

Here is my Hokkaido trip video 

Interested to visit Hokkaido? Check out my itinerary and click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6day 7day 8day 9 trip reportTop 10 food must not miss in Hokkaido. 

You Might Also Like