The beautiful coastal city of Otaru is little known outside of Japan. For the Japanese, Otaru’s a very popular holiday destination known as a centre of art. Flanked by the fishing harbour on one side and the mountains on the other, many of the must-see attractions in Otaru including art museums, shops, and restaurants are easily accessible by foot, bike or boat.
With the city’s compact centre, choosing where to stay in Otaru isn’t as difficult as in other larger Japanese cities like the modern capital of Tokyo, the former imperial capital of Kyoto, the bustling Osaka or even nearby Sapporo.
Ready to continue your Hokkaido trip? Look no further than this guide to the best hotels in Otaru…
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Where to stay: The best hotels in Otaru
✓ Top pick for culture-lovers
When in Japan do as the Japanese do. The charming Otaru Furukawa offers authentic Japanese architecture at its best. The hotel fronts the beautiful canal alongside its traditional warehouses, now converted into modern shops & restaurants.The hotel rooms here are either traditional Japanese or Western décor in style and furnishings. Both styles are spacious and comfortable, making for the perfect home away from home.
At the end of the day, relax in the on-site spa baths at Otaru Furukawa. Both public and private baths are available. They’re beautifully appointed for a relaxing soaking experience. Finish off with a soothing massage. If you’re not headed out to supper at one of the many restaurants in the area, you can drop in at the top-notch restaurant located on the premises.
The Otaru Furukawa is close to all the amenities, a minute from the main road of Otaru and close to the station. But, hey, why not get to see the sights and sounds of Otaru from the seat of a bicycle. The hotel rents them out 24/7.
Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal
✓ Top budget-friendly pick
Ideally situated almost in the centre of Otaru, the Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal is just minutes away from the main train station. It’s also surrounded by well-known tourist attractions such as the fish market, museum, art museum, and the canal park. Otaru’s famous glass blowing shops are also easily accessible.
There are several restaurants a short walk from the hotel. In the evenings you can stroll along the canal walk which, at night, is lit by ancient oil lamps that give it a nostalgic ambience.
Choose a tatami room or western décor. The hotel is brand-new with a contemporary look. The rooms, while a tad small (hey, this is Japan!), reflect clean modern lines.
The Hotel Torifito Otaru Canal serves a full, delicious breakfast every day. Guests are welcome to use the on-site hot spring for free. This hotel offers a comfortable stay at a reasonable price and, because of its location, is one of the best places to stay in Otaru.
Grand Park Otaru
✓ Best luxury hotel in Otaru
With stunning views of the tranquil Ishikari Bay, the Grand Park sits at the centre of the action. It’s a short walk from the station and shares the building with a large shopping centre. The hotel boasts several restaurants and cocktail bars offering international cuisine and award-winning cocktails.
The Grand Park serves Japanese and Western breakfast buffets every morning. You could also choose to saunter down to the mall and find something tasty there. This is the only international luxury hotel in the city of Otaru. With access to the marina, you could stroll along the harbour or charter a yacht for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
The hotel has a wide range of rooms in various sizes right up to the Presidential Suite boasting all the amenities that you’d expect from a five-star hotel. If you’re used to living in the lap of luxury, this is the best hotel in Otaru for you.
Villa Harbour View
✓ Best self-catering accommodations in Otaru
Not just any accommodations in Japan offer barbeque facilities in Japan. The Villa Harbour View though, has got your Japanese BBQ cravings covered.
In addition to chillin’ and grillin’, the hotel also delivers lovely garden views from the room. This small self-catering facility is close to the city centre. It offers all the amenities of a hotel but with the privacy of staying in your own in the home.
The house is pretty, comfortable and airy with great views of the city and bay. It has a bath and shower, dining facilities and a kitchen. It offers visitors a real home away from home.
It’s close to Park Otaru and within walking distance of the station and shops. The villa sleeps four and is a great option for those wanting to save on catering costs.
If cooking on your trip doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from in the area.
✓ Best mid-range pick
If you’re looking for accommodation with natural hot springs (who wouldn’t?), the Dormy Inn offers guests both an on-site onsen and sauna. In low-lit luxury, the hot springs are adorned with beautiful stained-glass lanterns that set the scene for a truly relaxing end to the day.
The beautifully appointed rooms at Dormy Inn have lovely views of the mountains and the sea. They’re much larger than one would expect from a Japanese hotel.
There is also an on-site restaurant. Start your day with a Western or Japanese breakfast at one of the best hotels in Otaru.
Dormy Inn is situated just a minute’s walk from the train station and bus terminal so you can quickly get to any of the tourist sites in the area. It’s surrounded by a number of superb restaurants and is close to many of the top local tourist attractions.
✓ Top pick for traditional Japanese luxury
Another charming hotel, Kaihourou Club, with its classical Japanese architecture, is both comfortable and central. Close to the Tanaka Brewery and within walking distance of town, there are several tourist attractions and restaurants close to the Kaihourou Club. From here, it’s easy to explore the main tourist areas by foot.
Get to see the sake makers, glass blowers and charming music box shops located in the area. The hotel also has two on-site restaurants, a jacuzzi, an open-air hot spa, and a garden.
They also have a car rental service, so if you want to see the outskirts of the town you can rent a car and take to the roads. There’re plenty of things to do outside the city centre. One of the most popular is the climb to the top of Mount Tengu to get views of Otaru below.
Hotel Nord Otaru
The Otaru Canal, constructed during the historic fishing era of the town, fronts the Hotel Nord Otaru. Along the canal, the warehouses where once fish was stored have now been upgraded to trendy bars and restaurants easily accessible from the hotel. With splendid views of the mountains, the hotel also overlooks the beautiful Ishikari Bay and is close to the town’s main attractions.
Rooms are available in both western and Japanese décor in a variety of sizes to meet your budget. They’re airy and light and boast all the modern amenities that the modern traveller requires.
The hotel boasts a rooftop bar serving snacks and delicious cocktails in the cool sea breeze. It also has a restaurant that serves lunch and breakfast.
The station is a seven-minute walk from the hotel and there are a number of excellent restaurants in the area if eating on-site doesn’t tickle your fancy.
The Shogetsu Grand Hotel
✓ Best onsen (hot spring) hotel
A little further away from town, the Shogetsu Grand Hotel is located in the beautiful Jozankei area. A 45-minute drive will get you into Otaru. The hotel is located in an active hot spring area so you can expect indoor and outdoor hot baths and a spa.The hot baths contain hot free-flowing spring water. When you’ve had enough of the heat you can step out into the cool river that runs past the hot springs just outside the door. Take a hot spring steam bath or book yourself in for a relaxing massage.
Here you can enjoy the best of Japanese cuisine as the restaurant serves breakfast and delicious six-course dinners. The food, by all accounts, is fantastic, featuring fresh ingredients with the seafood a highlight of the evening meal.
Both Japanese and Western-style rooms are available. All rooms face the gorge and the views of the valley below are breathtaking. For the traveller looking great food, home comforts and nature in all its glory the Shogetsu Grand Hotel is where to stay in Otaru.
Looking for reasonably-priced accommodations in Otaru? The Plum House is a fantastic choice, offers comfortable close to the canal with a small garden and private terrace.
It’s surrounded by several restaurants and shops and is in an ideal location to launch your city exploits. The shared lounge and eating areas are pleasant and offer guests the opportunity to mingle and discuss the day’s adventures.Get the feel of classical Hokkaidan living in the large traditional Japanese bedrooms that look out onto the pretty garden.
The Japanese breakfast is homemade on site and forms part of the overnight cost of staying in this homely bed and breakfast. If you don’t mind sharing a bathroom this is one of the top places to stay in Otaru as it is close to the city’s famous music box shops and sculpted glass workshops.