Otaru Canal [小樽運河]
Otaru Canal and a gaslight
Otaru Canal is the most popular sightseeing spot of Otaru city.
It is called "Otaru Unga" in Japanese.
It is located about 0.8 km east of JR Otaru station.
It is at the edge of the central part of the city and separates the city from ther harbor area.
It has about 1.1 km long, and there are old warehouses made of stone or brick along the canal.
It was built for discharging of cargo from ship in 1923.
But it had fallen out of use because of the fading of marine transportation, then it filled with sludge and reeked of bad odor.
In the 1960s, the city decided to fill in the canal, but it conflicted with a conservation group.
At last, the city started filling in the canal with an idea of leaving half of the width of 40 meters in 1983.
It completed in 1986, then a new road and a promenade were created on it.
63 gaslights are set along the promenade, and they are lighted in the evening.
A part of original canal remains farther to the north.
It is called Kita-unga (North Canal, 北運河).
Otaru Yuki-akari no Michi
Unga Plaza, Photo by Railstation.net
An event that many candles are decorated on the street around Otaru Canal is held in early February.
The lights of the candles are fantastic.
It is "Otaru Yuki-akari no Michi" (Otaru Snow Light Path) and is held in the evening for 10 days.
At the end of the main street from Otaru station, there is a tourist information center "Unga Plaza" (Canal Plaza, 運河プラザ).
It is in the old buiding which had been used as a warehouse.
How to get here
About 0.8 km walk from JR Otaru station.
Or, 2 minutes by "Otaru Sansaku Bus" (Otaru Stroller's Bus) from JR Otaru station.