The Otaru Canal is a popular tourist destination for Japanese and foreign visitors who flock to the canal year round to enjoy its nostalgic atmosphere. The canal was built in 1923 to allow small ships to transport goods to the warehouses. Once modern docking facilities were built, the canal became obsolete and was no longer in use. Land filling of the canal was planned in the 1980's, but thanks to a citizens movement, the canal was instead beautifully restored and the remaining warehouses turned into museums, shops and restaurants. The canal is an ideal place to enjoy a pleasant stroll during the day, as artists present their works to passing tourists, warehouses reflect off the water's surface and old fashioned gas lamps light the path at night creating a romantic atmosphere.
The canal is a five minute walk from Otaru Station.
Just situated at the end of Sakaimachi Street and opposite the famous photo point of the Otaru Canal is a small congregation of shops that exudes post-war Japan architecture. Denuki-Koji (出抜小路) is the right place for a short meal and a break before continuing your exploration in the beautiful port city of Otaru. Here are my recommendations of the top 3 must-try savoury food items when you are in Otaru: