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The Otaru Canal was built during the final days of Japan's Taisho era and half of the canal remains today. Although the canal helped Otaru flourish as a commercial seaport, changes in marine transportation diminished the canal's role. Over time, the canal became less important as larger ships could dock in modern facilities larger than the canal.
Rather than face destruction or be converted into a landfill, the Hokkaido citizens' movement lead to a beautification process to preserve the canal. The promenade was improved and gaslights were installed while the former warehouses were converted into museums, shops, and restaurants. The citizens' efforts revitalized Otaru Canal into one of Hokkaido's most popular sight-seeing spots, especially for young lovers who want to take a romantic stroll with the gaslights lining the way.
Now considered one of the leading tourist spots in Hokkaido, Otaru Canal is a popular destination for local and international travelers in Sapporo. The Canal Plaza offers guests a great range of goods and cafes to choose from, while the Chuo and Asakusa Bridge are the perfect spots to enjoy the canal's scenery. Rickshaw rides are available by the canal, as are bike rental services. For tourists truly looking to enjoy the scenery, Japan Deluxe Tours recommends joining a cruise along the canal before dining at one of the restaurants along the waters. Hokkaido is well-known for it's sea food, and many of the restaurants in Otaru serve delectable Japanese cuisine like sushi, sashimi, and more to experience.
While the canal is usually gorgeous when the sunsets and the lamps begin to turn on, that's not the only way tourists enjoy the canal. Home to the town's stunning Snow Light Path Festival, the canal is a must when on a Hokkaido Tour during the winter. The festival runs during the Sapporo Snow Festival, just as fresh, powdery snow buries the stone warehouses and promenade for a winter holiday atmosphere. Thousands of candles are lit during this festival, resulting in an absolutely breathtaking event highlighting the beauty of Otaru Canal.
Bring your loved ones and enjoy a romantic walk along the canal while we travel through the highlights of the northern island on our fully-guided Hokkaido Tours. Looking to upgrade to a luxury vacation? Ask your travel agent about Japan Deluxe Tour's affordable and flexible range of custom private tours available May through December.
Hokkaido's "Wall Street of the North"
Shopping District in Otaru's Historic Buildings
One of the largest museum shops in Japan featuring music boxes in Hokkaido
Glass creation workshop in Hokkaido, Otaru
Signature curry dish in Sapporo
Red Brick Building of Hokkaido
The most famous Cookie Sandwiches of Hokkaido
Recreation of Hokkaido in the Meiji to Showa Period