Otaru Canal: Enjoy the history and atmosphere of Otaru│Hokkaido Japan

One of Hokkaido’s most attractive sightseeing spots is the Otaru Canal.

Located in Otaru, Hokkaido, this canal is a place where history and beauty come together, and many tourists are drawn to its charm.


Overview and characteristics of Otaru Canal

Otaru Canal is a historic canal located in Otaru City, Hokkaido.

This canal was completed in 1923 (Taisho 12) and is the only canal in Japan built using the offshore land reclamation method.

It is characterized by its gently curved shape and has a total length of 1,140 meters. The width of the canal is 20 meters along the Rinko Line, and widens to 40 meters in the northern part (commonly known as the North Canal), which is the original width.

Part of the Otaru Canal was reclaimed in 1986 (Showa 61), and half of it was turned into a road and a walking path was developed, and it became a tourist attraction in Otaru City.

Gas lamps are installed along the walking path, creating a magical atmosphere, especially at dusk.

The wood-framed stone warehouses that stand along the canal retain their original appearance and are Light up at dusk, providing a beautiful sight for visitors.


This canal was constructed to accommodate the increasing amount of cargo handled by Otaru Port.

As Otaru Port prospered as an important cargo handling area, it became necessary to make it possible to unload cargo from the sea more efficiently.

For this reason, the Otaru Canal was designed as a waterway, allowing barges carrying cargo to enter directly close to warehouses.

However, after the war, with the development of Otaru Port, a wharf was built, and the canal ended its mission.

The historic wood-framed stone warehouses and buildings surrounding the canal have been left intact, becoming a valuable heritage that gives us a sense of a bygone era.

History and success of canal restoration

In 1966 (Showa 41), a plan was implemented to make the entire Rinko Line (currently Hokkaido Route 17 Otaru Port Line and Hokkaido Route 454 Otaru Kaigan Park Line) six lanes as a measure to alleviate traffic congestion.

The plan also included filling in the canal and demolishing the warehouse complex.

At this time, citizens began efforts to preserve the surrounding historical buildings, and in 1973, the Otaru Canal Protection Association was established.

However, the debate remained divisive for more than a decade. In the end, half of the canal’s width was reclaimed and used as a road, and the remaining area was used to create pocket parks and walking paths, and the canal was reborn in 1986.

Through the process of revitalization, this historic canal has become a tourist attraction representing Otaru City, and private capital has actively invested in the area surrounding the canal, resulting in the creation of new buildings and facilities.

The beautiful scenery of the canals and historical buildings provide excitement and fun to tourists and enhance the appeal of Otaru.

Charm of timber-framed stone warehouses

The wood-framed stone warehouses that line the Otaru Canal convey the scenery of the past.

These warehouses retain their original appearance and are Light up at dusk, creating a magical atmosphere.

Visitors are impressed by the beauty of the historic buildings and enjoy taking photos of them.

New attractions around the canal

Around the revitalized Otaru Canal, new buildings are being built that are in harmony with historic buildings, reusing timber-framed and stone warehouses.

Glass music box workshops, restaurants, seafood shops, confectionery shops, souvenir shops and more offer visitors a variety of experiences and souvenir options.

There are also sightseeing boats that sail around the canal, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the canal from the water.

The area around the revitalized Otaru Canal is a place where history and modern charm come together, offering tourists a variety of experiences and fun.

This place is a place where past and present intersect and symbolizes the charm of Otaru.

Basic information about “Otaru Canal”

InfoOtaru Canal (Otaru Unga)
 4-4 Minato-cho, Otaru, Hokkaido
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Have a great trip with delicious food!

Surrounding touring spots

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