Otaru is also known as “North Wall Street” in the old financial center of Japan. Otaru City is an area near Sapporo, Hokkaido, so please drop by when you visit Sapporo in Hokkaido.

What Is Golden Kamuy?

Otaru is the city where the manga “Golden Kamuy” was set.

The main character, Saichi Sugimoto (on the right in the front row of the photo), goes through various hardships in search of the huge reserve hidden in Hokkaido.

The manga introduces Ainu girls who are indigenous people of Hokkaido and Japanese historical figures (Shinzo Hijikata, Shinsengumi, Yue Shiratori called Jailbreak King, etc.), so if you are interested in Japanese culture as well as indigenous Ainu people, it may serve as background information.

Battles, knowledge, comedy, history, various elements are intertwined in the manga so if you have never read this manga before, I recommend reading this manga to understand the Ainu in the Hokkaido region.

What Is Otaru?

Now, let me explain a little about the history of Otaru.

At the end of the Edo period, it was discovered that a large amount of herring (a type of fish) could be obtained in Otaru, and many Japanese immigrated to Otaru.

After that, in the late 19th century, the development of Hokkaido began in earnest, and Otaru prospered as a financial town.

So, the remnants of the buildings of that time remain.

(Former Central bank Otaru Branch Building)

Access

Train (From Chitose Airport)

The destination is JR Otaru Station.

If you use the JR Rapid Airport, you can reach New Chitose Airport from Otaru in 73 minutes. The cost is 1780 yen.

Bus (From Chitose Airport)

Unfortunately, there is no way to get to Otaru directly from Chitose Airport. I recommend to take a bus to Sapporo to sight see first before going to Otaru.

Car

You can get there about 1 hour on the highway. A Car is always a good idea because you can stop at other places whenever you want.

Things To Do in Otaru

Otaru Canal

The Otaru Canal, which started in 1914 and boasts a total length of 1140m, is a recommended sightseeing spot to visit first in Otaru. You can feel the nostalgic atmosphere.

Bank of Japan Otaru Branch

Otaru once led the Hokkaido economy as a Gulf city, and the downtown area prospered as “Northern Wall Street.” Even now, there are many historic buildings that retain the features of those days, and the atmosphere of the cityscape is a recommended sightseeing spot that gives you a feeling of something.

About Otaru Glass

The roots of Otaru glass development are “oil lamps” and “floating balls.”

In late 19th century, glass lamps were the mainstream of household lights in Hokkaido instead of electricity, so glass lamps were actively produced in Otaru.

In early 20s century, North Sea fishing, especially herring fishing, has become popular in Otaru, a port town. Since herring fishing uses glass floats, the demand for them has increased rapidly and production grew.

Oil lamps and floats. The flourishing of these two glass industries can be said to be the roots of Otaru glass.

Many glass crafts have been created that are particular about color and design, giving you a sense of comfort and warmth.

What do you think? The glass crafting technique that flourished by herring fishing is different from the glass crafts of other regions.

Otaru glass has different roots from other glass crafts in the region.

Why not pick up Otaru glassware?

Summary

I have introduced the charm of Otaru so far.This time, I focused on glass crafts, but you can also enjoy various things such as seafood, historic buildings, and beautiful scenery at Otaru.

If you visit Hokkaido, please stop by Otaru.  Thank you.

Author: Atsushi Yabushita

Read Other Articles