Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru (Japanese小樽 市, -shi ) is a city about 30 km west of Sapporo on the Japanese island of Hokkaidō in the sub-prefecture Shiribeshi. Although in Otaru lives more than half of the total population of the sub-prefecture, Kutchan is the seat, the seat of the prefectural government.

The name comes from the Ainu, probably meaning " river that flows through the sand ."


Otaru was an important fishing port in the 19th century. In the first half of the 20th century there were around major coal mining. Until the 1950s, Otaru was even the most populous city on Hokkaidō, until it was surpassed by the capital Sapporo, and also the industry migrated there from. Today Otaru acts as a " bedroom community " for Sapporo and is known nationwide as a starting point for several ski areas and because of its picturesque old town with stone warehouses along the river.


The city has a port with container terminal and regular ferry to Niigata, Tsuruga, Maizuru and the island of Sakhalin in Russia.

  • Sapporo highway
  • National Road 5
  • National Road 337.393


Otaru has a trade high school and Pharmaceutical University.



  • Seiji Aochi (1942-2008), ski jumpers
  • Be Itō (1905-1969), writer
  • Hideharu Miyahira (* 1973), ski jumpers
  • Nobuko Miyamoto ( born 1945 ), actress
  • Masaru Nagaoka (* 1962), ski jumpers
  • Ryohei Nishimori (* 1976), ski jumpers
  • Yoshikazu Norota (* 1972), ski jumpers
  • Kenji Suda (born 1966 ), ski jumpers
  • Takuya Takeuchi (1967 ), ski jumpers
  • Miyoshi Umeki (1929-2007), actress
  • Kazuya Yoshioka (born 1978 ), ski jumpers

Adjacent Cities and Towns

  • Sapporo
  • Ishikari ( Hokkaido )
  • Yoichi
  • Akaigawa