Planning a girls’ trip to Japan? Otaru in Hokkaido is one of the great destinations! This report is the first of a two part series about our trip in Otaru. Let’s take a walk on Ironai Street for souvenir hunting and gourmet meals.

Day Trip to Otaru with Three Girls, Strolling Along The Romantic Canal! Part 1

One of the popular sightseeing destination in Hokkaido is Otaru(小樽). I wanted to visit Otaru for a long time but I never had a chance until now. But one day, I searched how to get to Otaru and noticed there’s a good transportation deal on JR express airport line. So, I made up my mind to visit Otaru with my friends. It’s only about 25 minutes from Sapporo, now a day trip began!

Speaking of Otaru, this romantic canal is very famous.

Otaru thrived as a coal trade town and used to be a second largest town before WW2, the biggest town was Hakodate at that time.

Unfortunately coal trade was declined but the canal and its beautiful western style buildings remained. This place is very popular among tourists and it often uses as a shooting place for movies and TV dramas.

The Japanese movie “Love Letter” filmed in 1995 directed by Shunji Iwai, became very popular in Korea and other countries in Asia. This is a film that set in Otaru and still quite popular among them.

How long does it take to enjoy Otaru?

Otaru is a small town where they don’t have much to see. It’s a perfect place to spend a relaxing day, take your time and enjoy strolling along the canal.

If you go really quick, you can walk in an hour but I recommend spend more time 3 to 4 hours to enjoy fully Otaru. If you are staying in Sapporo, it’s definitely perfect for a day trip.

Actually, the night view is really beautiful in Otaru, so if you like to enjoy that, it’s a good idea to stay there. There’re plenty nice hotels along the canal where you can enjoy the night view.

The highlights of Otaru is Ironai Street(色内大通り)! Plenty fancy shops along the street.

About 10 minute walk from JR Otaru station, there is a street call Ironai Street. This place has a lot of historical buildings at the time of coal trade period and there’re many souvenir shops and restaurants along.

Otaru is famous for the crafts of music boxes and glassworks. There’re a lot of crafts shops in Otaru.

I wanted to buy a Suncatcher for myself that day. I wanted something special and went crazy searching for the one, but everything looks nice and it was hard to pick.

Enjoy various kinds of food in Ironai Street

There is a shop you can buy melon, a local specialty of Hokkaido, so got some and ate on the street!

These are boiled sweet corns and it’s also a Hokkaido’s specialty. Hokkaido corns are very different from the others, even Japanese will be surprised because of its deliciousness.

We bought some and shared between us.

There was a gold priced Potato Cake Shop! This potato cake won the potato cake’s competition sponsored by national TV company NHK. Potato cakes are deep fried mashed potato with some vegetable and minced meat in it. It’s delicious and popular food in Japan. They're made of delicious potato form Hokkaido I’m sure the taste is superior!

Some are very unique ingredients with cheese, curry and pumpkins. A variety of choices.

I tried the gold priced potato cake… and it was absolutely right! You can taste the difference from the others and it was so tender and sweet, after one bite the flavor spread in the mouth immediately.

There are more great spots in Ironai Street!

Next is the famous sweet shop from Hokkaido call “Rokkatei”.

This is one of the favorite sweets for Japanese people. Everyone knows and it’s a typical souvenir from Hokkaido. You can buy some sweets here or enjoy a tea time in the café.

Especially this Raisin Better Sand cookies are gorgeous! They use a very good butter produced in Hokkaido, I really recommend trying them! I loved this cocky from my childhood.

Coming up next, I’ll introduce more about Otaru on Part 2!

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