Illuminations add a romantic dash of color to the cold season. For this season only, the Otaru canal has been specially illuminated with 10,000 blue LED’s. The best time to go is in the so-called ‘blue hour’, the period just after sunset when a little blue is still visible in the darkness. Enjoy the magical air brought to the canal as the blue of the lights mixes with that of the sky.
During this period, the popular Otaru Canal cruise ships are also clad in blue lights as they transport you along the canal.
The Blue Canal
The hand-crafted ‘Wine Glass Tower’ makes an appropriate symbol for Otaru, also known as the ‘town of glass’. The tower is a popular photo spot and this year will once again be built from 2,000 individual wine glasses piled on top of one another.
The Wine Glass Tower
On display in JR Otaru Station, the gateway to sightseeing in Otaru, are works of art from Otaru’s workshops. Not just for tourists, every year this display proves extremely popular with locals and commuters on route to work or study.
The Glass Art Gallery
This is a special tour is being offered as part of the Yoichi Snow Story. A premium tour, limited to 40 people each time, lets you see how in winter, the distillery is illuminated by the bright white light of the snow. It is also the perfect chance to take photos—something not normally permitted in the distillery.
Meeting Place: Nikka Whiskey Hokkaido Plant, Yoichi Distillery, 7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi
Each night’s tour is limited to 40 people on a first-come-first-served basis. Booking necessary. (Tour is free to join.) Booking opens on November 1st.
Nikka Distillery Night Tour
In the bicycle parking area by the side of JR Yoichi station, a specially erected tent will serve food, drink (including alcohol), and products made using ingredients from Yoichi and nearby Niki. Exclusive whiskey from Yoichi’s distillery and Yoichi produced wines will be available starting at the one coin price of ¥500 (including tax). The hot nishin soba (herring over buckwheat noodles) offers the true taste of Yoichi’s nishin with a hand-crafted dashi broth. With its specially prepared tables, this is the place where you start your adventures in Yoichi.
What’s on offer: Yoichi Single Malt, Taketsuru Pure Malt, Blended Whiskey only available at Yoichi Distillery, etc. all available by the glass. Japanese sake ¥500, nishin soba ¥500. Various other goods on sale including 100% fruit juice from Yoichi and Niki.
Special tent in the bicycle parking area
Yoichi Eki Bar
The area in front of JR Yoichi Station is illuminated in a shade of amber fitting for a town associated with whiskey. This relaxing, warm hue is a welcoming sight for all visitors.
The Amber Dream
An iconic image of the Otaru Snow Story, the tree is around 3m high and displays 150 spherical glass floats used by fishermen. Standing in front of a backdrop of historical buildings, you will see many people taking photos at this popular spot.
The Glass Float Tree
2019/NOV-2020/JAN on every Sat.
Every Saturday throughout Otaru’s Snow Story from November to January, the lights are turned down on Canal Plaza, the area that hosts the Wine Glass Tower, and replaced by romantic candlelight. The casual bar serving alcohol from Otaru and Yoichi also offers soft and hot drinks.
The Candle Bar
For one night only experience this session that combines, light, sound, and art in the snow! Along with illuminations, you can see exhibits like photographs, writing, and ancient rope patterned Jomon pottery, all themed around Yoichi. The indoor venue will house a flea market as well as offering food and drink and live music.
・Outdoor exhibition: 16:00-20:00
・Indoor event: 12:00-20:00
Saturday in Dec. and Jan.
Otaru Tourism Association's guides are voluntarily offering this free guided walking tour which lasts roughly one hour. Starting at the Canal Plaza, enjoy walking the hourlong course while taking in detailed information on Otaru’s historic buildings. Join us for this casual trip.
No need to book in advance. Come directly to Canal Plaza.
*Wear non-slip shoes and warm clothing! *As soon as there is a group of 10, the tour will begin.
(Event will be canceled in case of inclement weather)