Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga)

Hokkaido VSCO Cam Collection Part 3. — Otaru 小樽

Explore the best photos from my trip to Japan, Hokkaido in this exclusive VSCO Cam Collection. In part three of this four part collection, you’ll be exploring the beautiful Otaru (小樽), a small harbour city, about half an hour northwest of Sapporo by train.

About Otaru

Otaru (小樽市) is a city and port in Shiribeshi, Hokkaido, 25 minutes from Sapporo. The city faces the Ishikari Bay, and has long served as the main port of the bay. With its many historical buildings, Otaru is a popular tourist destination.

Map of Otaru

Its beautifully preserved canal area and interesting herring mansions make Otaru a pleasant day trip from Sapporo. From the early days of Hokkaido’s colonization in the late 1800s, Otaru served as a major trade and fishing port. It was hence chosen as the terminal station of Hokkaido’s first railway line that connected the port with nearby Sapporo. Many old warehouses and former office buildings by shipping and trade companies give Otaru’s city center a special character reminiscent of past decades.

Bus Stop outside JR Otaru Station.
Old railway which leads to the Otaru Railway Museum
Otaru Railway Museum
Shopping Link in Otaru

Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal (小樽運河, Otaru Unga) was a central part of the city’s busy port in the first half of the 20th century. Large vessels were unloaded by smaller ships, which then transported the goods to warehouses along the canal.

The canal became obsolete when modern dock facilities allowed for direct unloading of larger vessels. Thanks to a citizens’ movement, a part of the canal was beautifully restored in the 1980s instead of being landfilled, while the warehouses were transformed into museums, shops and restaurants.

The canal makes for a pleasant stroll during the day, when artists present their works to passing tourists, and during the evenings when old fashioned gas lamps are lit and provide a romantic atmosphere. The canal also serves as the main site of the town’s Snow Light Path Festival.


Sushi Delight


Be sure to check in for upcoming collections soon.

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© 2015 Chiang Kai Jie, All Rights Reserved.

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