A picturesque city in itself, it is surrounded on three sides by mountains with the sea at its front.

Created initially as a then vital port town during the development of Hokkaido, the waterways and chic western-style buildings that were once constructed still remain to an extent and the former warehouses along the old canals and waterways have now been transformed into museums and shops, all of course welcoming of tourists.

old canals

A rather quiet event, the 2005 version of the Otaru Yukiakari no Michi festival will be held in Otaru City from February 11th to 20th. Handmade snow and ice candles produced locally by Otaru citizens using the cold climate to their advantage are put out and lit on the city streets. Approximately 400 further candles are also floated on the surface of the canals and are put in glass floats for use in fishing. Compared to the dynamic Sapporo Snow Festival this event is somewhat calm and poetic – an interesting way to spend an evening in the old fashioned and romantic streets of Otaru.

Otaru Yukiakari no Michi festival

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