Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

Trivia #1: Otaru boasts one of the last three functiong steam clock towers in the world
Trivia #2: The city was an Ainu habitation, and the name “Otaru” is recognised as being of Ainu origin, possibly meaning “River running through the sandy beach”
Trivia #3: Otaru played a major role in Hokkaido’s economic expansion due to its strategic port location



Located just 30 minutes by train from Sapporo, Otaru is best known for its musical boxes, glasswares and fantastic seafood caught fresh from the sea.

Once a major and important trading port in Hokkaido’s early days, Otaru has now evolved into a major tourist attraction with converted warehouses dressed in nature’s funky vines selling handmade trinkets, rows and rows of Japanese western-style confectionery and whimsical evenings by the canal.

Without a doubt, many visitors to Otaru aim to taste Japan’s best cheesecake (arguably) at LeTao. Here’s an interesting side trivia: LeTao is actually an acronym for La Tour Amitie Otaru (The Amiable Tower of Otaru) when LeTao’s founder, Mr. Seigou Kawagoe, built a majestic tower at Otaru’s foremost tourist center and named it as such in 1998.

Below: Beautiful evening scene at the Otaru Canal.


Want a check out one of the world’s last three functioning steam clock tower? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Located at the Marchen intersection, the world’s largest and second ever steam clock was installed in front of Otaru Orugoru-do, a popular music box store in 1994.

Below: Looks like the autumn colours added a lot of zest to the old warehouses, giving them a primordial feel – you’ll feel like the buildings have a life of its own, living and breathing and going about their own business as you explore the alleys. What a sight!

Below: More food and tasty street snacks – don’t miss the world famous and ultra expense Yubari melon, one of Hokkaido’s pride, and the sweetest and juiciest rock melons I’ve ever tasted! Do also try the baked Hokkaido potatoes – they look simple, but trust me, the potatoes are one of my most satisfying snacks in the whole of Japan:)

Travel Contributor:
Daniel Chen

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