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Facing the Ishikari Bay, Otaru is located in the western part of Hokkaido and started its development as a gate to the island about 100 years ago. Around that time, the city began to flourish and thus is now home to the branches of many banks and companies. In the past, the canal located in the city was crowded with the constant loading and unloading of cargo, and along the coast, the bustling warehouse seemed to never catch a break. Today, these warehouse buildings have been converted into glass craft shops, tea houses, restaurants and large shopping malls. In the evening, the gasoline lights on the stone streets light up the city with a nostalgic atmosphere that is reminiscent of the past.
Otaru is known as a city of slopes because there are many slopes on the road, including a steep slope known as Hell Slope. Additionally, there is an observatory on Tenguyama behind the winter ski resort, a place where tourists often like to go to enjoy panoramic views of the city and harbor. There is also a cable car available for tourists to ascend the mountain. Hotels in Otaru are often located near these attractions.
The suburbs of the coastal zone are part of the Niseko Kaodan Dantuo Otaru Coast National Park, among which there are scenic spots such as Ota Maui, famous for its cliffs. In the summer, many tourists visit the park. Otaru is a port city with four distinct seasons and a pleasant climate. Among them, cherry blossoms can be enjoyed in spring, golden leaves can be seen in autumn, and snow and ice can be seen in winter. For this reason, tourists often chose seasons other than summer when visiting Otaru.