Traveling the World #340 - Otaru Canal @ Sapporo, Japan
As we slowly move away from Sapporo, our first stop is Otaru which is around a 2 hour drive from Sapporo city. Otaru Canal, right in the harbour town of Otaru which I have visited for the first time around 8 years ago. This beautiful canal, with its European surroundings and unique atmosphere, transport you back in time. Especially in winter when the temperature will drop to minus degrees, the snow will cover all grounds and you feel like you are in a European city, romantic right in the middle of Otaru city. If you are in Sapporo and can spare a day out, visiting Otaru Canal is a must.
The Otaru Canal was constructed in the early 20th century and the area surrounding it has been preserved very well. Back in the days before modern transportation is available, the canal was an important part of the city allowing goods to be moved around the city with ease. Until when technology has overtaken our lives, the canal is now a must visit when you visit Otaru. There are local tours which we did see on the day but even without a tour, you can easily find the canal from the station.
As we walked down the canal, we could see the warehouse still standing now with many turned into shops and cafes. During summer months, it’s a little more pleasant to walk down the canal with flowers blooming but when we were there, the temperature was around 9 degrees so it was getting a little cooler than we wanted. The last time when we went, it was snowing heavily so it was nice to see the canal again under some nice warm sun. During colder winter seasons, there are special lights decorated along the canal, and is popular for couples to take photos in the romantic atmosphere.
Next to the bridge which overlooks the canal, there is an extensive map showing Otaru as the city is very accessible by foot. You could spend a day in Otaru without needing to rush. Due to the popularity of this site, there is also a tourist information centre if you need more assistance. A visit to Hokkaido is not complete if you haven’t been to Otaru Canal, highly recommended!
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