Otaru’s historic attractions are dotted around the canal neighborhood, walking is a good way to explore the city.
01 CANAL & PROMENADE
小樽運河 / Otaru Unga / 5 Minato-machi
Built in the early 20th-century, Otaru Canal was used in the cargo handling on barges until the 1950s. Currently the cobblestone promenade along the canal offers a romantic atmosphere, especially after dark. You will find the original canal on the north side called Kita-Unga (北運河).
Otaru Canal Cruise
小樽運河クルーズ / 5-4 Minato-machi / 9am-8pm / Daytime ¥1500, night ¥1800 / otaru.cc
Offers a 40-minute interesting canal cruise from the Chuo-bashi bridge near the Otaru Museum, from 9am to 8pm (twice hourly). New Zealand-born boatman speaks English.
03 LOCAL HISTORY
Otaru Museum Unga-kan
小樽市総合博物館運河館 / 2-1-20 Ironai / 9.30am-5pm / ¥300 (common ticket ¥500 covers entry to the General Museum in Temiya)
Housed inside the city’s oldest warehouse Unga-kan (built in 1893) that exhibits traces the history of Otaru’s Stone Age, herring fishing, port, trade and financial.
04 HISTORIC BUILDING
Bank of Japan Otaru Museum
日本銀行小樽支店金融資料館 / Nihon Ginko Otaru Shiten Kin’yu Shiryokan / 1-11-16 Ironai / 9.30am-5pm, from 10am Dec-Mar / Closed Wed except holiday / FREE / www3.boj.or.jp/otaru-m
The Bank of Japan Otaru Branch (1912-2002) was leading the Hokkaido’s economic policy during the Meiji and Taisho periods, faces on Nichigin-dori (日銀通り: also called the Wall Street of the North) lined with old bank offices. A Renaissance-style building is now a financial museum (金融資料館), focuses on banking business.
05 LOCAL HISTORY & ART
Otaru City Museum of Literature
小樽市文学館 · 小樽市美術館 / 1-9-5 Ironai / 9.30am-5pm / Closed Mon / Common ticket ¥500 / otarubij-kyoryoku.com
Across from the Bank of Japan, this museum showcases literary works of local novelists such as Kobayashi Takiji (1903-1933) and Ito Sei (1905-1959). It shares with the Otaru City Art Museum, which has landscape paintings drawn by Nakamura Zensaku (1901-1983) and local artists
06 HISTORIC BUILDING
Old Nihon Yusen Otaru Branch
旧日本郵船小樽支店 / 3-7-8 Ironai / Currently Closed
This early modern European-style shipping company building was completed in 1906, where a Karafuto Border demarcation conference under the Treaty of Portsmouth between Russia and Japan was held here. Each room has elegant interior and furnitures, a conference room has a beautiful red silk table cloth. It is close to the northern end of the canal. Note: this building is currently closed (until March 2022).
Otaru Canal Area Map