Otaru is a port city on Hokkaido Islabd, in Japan's Shiribeshi Subprefecture, located northwest of Sapporo and facing Ishikari Bay. A scenic waterway (canal) runs through the city. The city has population around 130,000.
A popular city attraction is Nishin Goten (herring mansion) - big wooden building from 1897. It was initially built in a nearby village and in 1958 moved to the city. Visitors can see the difference between squalid conditions of the 1st floor sleeping quarters of 120 workers and ground floor luxury of owners' rooms.
Another notable building is Sakaushi residence, created by Yoshiya Tanoue, pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright. Another popular spot is the Tomioka Catholic church. Lots of the buildings have been titled as landmark architecture. In nearby Asarigawa Onsen village a new boutique resort that caters for outdoor leisure activity is under development by Wisbey brothers, scheduled for completion 2017. Otaru is famous for its beer. Otaru Beer, next to the canal, is a restaurant with medieval theme. The city is also known for its fresh sushi. Otaru has substantial bazaars and shopping arcades, though fewer than nearby Sapporo. Its prominent industries are arts and crafts like musical boxes and studio glass.