The Otaru Canal is a popular tourist attraction for its romantic walkway along the canal which is lined by ivy-covered warehouses that have been renovated into quaint shops and atmospheric restaurants.
1.15km in length and 40m in width, the canal was completed in 1923 after 9 years of construction and was initially used as a waterway for barges carrying coal or marine products to pass through.
After piers were built at Otaru Port and ships unloaded their goods directly onto trucks, the canal fell into disuse, and the town considered filling up the canal and building a road over it. However, the citizens objected to this and wanted to preserve the canal. After a ten-year debate, the city finally agreed to preserve the canal as it is. Now, taking a cruise along the canal is a popular tourist activity and the canal is a popular attraction especially during winter for its postcard perfect scenery of white-capped warehouses and romantic street lights. The Music Boz Museum near the canal is also worth stopping by for a plethora of music boxes in various shapes, sizes and coming in the latest tunes as well!