Get in
 By train
Otaru is a major station on the JR Hakodate Line from Sapporo, with very frequent train runs. At a cost of ¥620, there are at least five trains per hour; the fastest service, the Airport Rapid, reaches Otaru in 30 minutes. The complete journey on the Airport Rapid from New Chitose Airport to Otaru takes 70 minutes.
 By car
Otaru is 25 minutes away from Sapporo by car.
 By ferry
Otaru is one of Hokkaido's key ferry ports, and the closest to Sapporo. Shin-Nihonkai Ferry (06-6348-1120) operates a daily service between Otaru and Niigata (18 hours, ¥6,200+) and between Otaru and Maizuru near Kyoto (20 hours, ¥9,600+). Both services are overnight, and private cabins are available for a higher fare (the base fare buys sleeping space on the floor).
 Get around
 On foot
Many of its historical buildings, restaurants and shops are within easy walking distance so walking is a very easy (and cheap) means of getting around. A suggested walking itinerary begins from the Otaru Music Box Museum at one end of Sakaimachihondori Street, follow the street until it crosses a small canal, walk up the street until the Museum of the Money, and then follow the canal down and then keep following the canal when it turns left and widens up.
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[add listing] Do
Blow your own glass. Several glass workshops in shops along Sakaimachihondori Street let you blow your own glass. Try, for example, K's Blowing.
[add listing] Buy
Music boxes. You`ll find these in Hakodate and Sapporo as well, but shops dedicated to music boxes are especially prevalent here. The two museums selling music boxes are well worth a look, particularly for the hand-cranked variety which emit tunes using a piece of cardboard with holes punched in it.
Antiques. If you walk from central station straight towards the canal district, you'll see a karaoke centre called Thriller Karaoke with a bat gargoyle above the sign. Turn right until you see an eatery called Kongetsudo on the left hand side. Across the road are two antique dealers, one male and one female, on the second storey of a small building that sell mainly kimono. This place is worth a visit as you can pick authentic kimonos quite cheap here. Just remember that you may have to haggle up to 50% off the price of a kimono with the male dealer if you are a foreigner.
[add listing] Eat
Otaru is the best town in Hokkaido for sushi, and it ranks high on the national scale too. Sushi here is expensive but worth trying.
 Stay Safe
Like most of Hokkaido, the footpaths of Otaru tend to accumulate a lot of ice in the winter. Try to wear shoes with corrugated soles that will grip the ice. Alternatively you can buy metal-studded wraparound bands to put on your shoes from roadside shops for about ¥1700.
[add listing] Drink
[add listing] Sleep
 Get out