Otaru is a city and port located in Japan. The city has an estimated population of 146,000. The city was an Ainu habitation, and the name "Otaru" is recognized as being of Ainu origin, possibly meaning "River running through the sandy beach". The very tiny remaining part of the Temiya Cave has cave carvings from the Zoku-Joumon period of Ainu history, 400 A.D. Otaru was known as a village by the bakufu in 1865, and in 1880 the first railway line in Hokkaido was opened with daily service between Otaru and Sapporo. Otaru was re-designated as a city on August 1st, 1922. There is an look out point on Mt. Tengu-Yama and the breathtaking view includes the whole of Otaru and its port is utterly amazing. There are also cable cars to the mountaintop.
A famous attraction on the west side of the city is Nishin Goten. This is a huge wooden building, built in 1897, that was once the house of a industrialist of the herring fishing industry called Fukumatsu Tanaka. Now it is one of the popular tourist attractions in the city.
Otaru is also well known for its beer, called Otaru Beer. And you can get it at a restaurant located adjacent to the canal, the restaurant has a medieval theme.
Visit the Otaru City Museum it is housed in a former warehouse next to the canal, the Otaru City Museum introduces local history, culture and fauna to all that visit.