August 24, 16 | nobu Kawashima

Otaru Canal Cruise, rediscover attractions of the canal from a different perspective!

小樽運河クルーズ
▲Photo provided by: Otaru Canal Cruise 
 
 
Would you like to go on an Otaru Canal Cruise? The tour is recommended for not only tourists but also locals from Otaru and Sapporo. You will rediscover attractions of the canal, which is always on the weather forecast background on TV programs, by looking it from a boat. 
 
 

What is Otaru Canal Cruise?

Otaru Canal Cruise is a 40-minutes tour that goes around Otaru Canal, containing the standard photo shooting spot Asakusa-bashi Bridge, North Canal, and a part of the Port of Otaru. The Captain who boards on the boat guide the guests, introducing sightseeing spots, history, and culture of Otaru. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズのキャプテンたち
▲The Captains are saying hello from the boat. (Photo provided by Otaru Canal Cruise)
 
 
The name is “cruise” but boats are small, so the tour is conducted with a casual and friendly atmosphere. One of the attractions of participating the tour is this feeling of “being in a group of one” with other guests, centering the Captain. It is like an attraction from the famous themed amusement park.  
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの船内
▲All seats are unreserved and bench-type. About 20 people can ride on a boat. 
 
 
Other than the day cruises, they also offer night cruises, which come with lightened city views and canal views. Check the official website of Otaru Canal Cruise for timetables and ticket costs.
 
 

I participated the tour of Otaru Canal Cruise!

I actually participated the tour on one evening of a day in spring.
The place to get on and off is near Chuo-bashi Bridge. This is the bridge located down the hill from Otaru Station. The ticket counter stands across the bridge. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの乗船場所
▲The Captains were waiting for us under the bridge with the boat.
 
 
First of all, I got lectures from the Captain about warnings of this tour on the boat. After everything is set, the boat left the bridge.
 
The view of Otaru Canal from the point near the water surface looked entirely different from what I saw from the bridge or promenade. I felt as if I came to a different place. The boat continued to move as I looked up people who are taking pictures, taking a walk, and relaxing at restaurants by the canal. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの船から眺めた小樽運河
▲Even the standard photo shooting spot of Otaru Canal felt like a different place when I looked from the water surface. 
 
 
I passed under few bridges on the way. Some of them had enough height but some of them did not and I could reach the top if I brought my arms up.
“Okay everybody, lower your head under this bridge. Ready? One, two, three!”
The Captain led us to lower our head, and the boat moved on. (Actually, the bridge was not too low that we did not have to lower our heads)
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの船から眺めた小樽運河の橋
▲This bridge had enough height. There were swallow’s nest under some bridges and could hear cute voices of little birds.
 
 
A boat came to us from the other side of the canal. This is the Otaru Canal Cruise boat which left about 30 minutes before. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの船
▲We waved hands and said hello as the boat passed each other. 
 
 
The Captain gives us descriptions about warehouses and harbor facilities with historical backgrounds at important points. Not only the description about the building and facilities, but also lots of interesting stories such as how the city was like when the canal was built and when a part of the canal was reclaimed. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズの船から眺めた北海製罐
▲The warehouse of Hokkai canning factory viewed from Otaru Canal. 
 
 
This is the warehouse of Hokkai canning factory built during Taisho era. This facility had the latest transporting equipment such as spiral slides chute and manual elevator. 
I felt the stairs and handrails all rusted look older when I look from the surface. I was surprised that this warehouse is still in use. 
 
It was over in the blink of an eye as I listened to fun stories from the Captain and enjoyed the beautiful changing views. This was a very fulfilled 40 minutes boat ride. 
 
 

You can reserve the whole boat with your friends or for wedding parties!

You can book the entire boat if you want to go on a tour with friends, group, or families. 
 
There are many people who book the whole boat for wedding parties. This must be a real romantic situation! 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズでのウエディング
▲The wedding boat during the time of colored leaves. Trees and grasses around the canal are colored red and yellow, seem like they are blessing for the new couple. (Photo provided by Otaru Canal Cruise)
 
 
Other than weddings, Lolita fashioned girls reserved the whole boat in the past for an event. 
This is one moment from the event called “Otaru Kawaii Tea Party” that was held around Otaru Canal and Lolita fans gathered. 
 
 
小樽運河クルーズに乗船する小樽kawaiiティーパーティー参加者
▲Lolita fashion matches so well with non-Japan like townscape and this boat situation. Their outfits look prettier! (Photo provided by Otaru Canal Cruise)

 
For those of you who are visiting Otaru as a tourist, how about not only look at the canal and take pictures but also experience the canal and learn history and culture of Otaru?
For those of you who are locals, the canal seems to be a part of daily life, but there are lots of things you might not know yet! This cruise is such fun! 
  • Otaru Canal Cruise, rediscover attractions of the canal from a different perspective!
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