Otaru City & Ski Areas

Snow Light Path Festival Otaru
Otaru Hokkaido
Otaru Tenguyama Ropeway
Views from the Grand Park Otaru Hotel
Renga Alley Otaru Japan
Renga Alley has various cute Otaru restaurants
Lots of cute little Otaru restaurants
Sample the local beers
Otaru Japan
Otaru Hokkaido
Snow light festival in February
Otaru Hokkaido
Shopping centre attached to the Grand Park Otaru Hotel
Otaru shopping
A modern shopping mall
Lots of cheap eateries
Wing Bar shopping mall games arcade
Wing Bay bowling alley
Yoichi Nikka Whiskey Distillery is close to Otaru Japan
Yoichi Nikka Whiskey Distillery

Otaru City & Ski Areas

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OTARU Area4/51
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Otaru Japan is a seaside town and port on the southwest coast of Hokkaido, 35km northwest of Sapporo. It’s a nice town to visit for a day trip en route to or from Niseko, or you can use Otaru as a base to visit various Hokkaido ski resorts.

Pros and Cons of Otaru Hokkaido

  • Otaru provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the real Japan, away from the touristy “resortification” that you find at some of the Hokkaido ski resorts.
  • The price for Otaru accommodation is significantly less than what you’d find at Kiroro.
  • There are various Hokkaido ski resorts close to Otaru.
  • If you stay in Otaru Japan, a daily commute is required to get to the nearby ski resorts.

Otaru Ski Resorts

The Otaru Tenguyama ski area on Tengu-yama is only 3km from central Otaru. It’s a small ski area with only 6 runs that are mostly serviced by a ropeway as well as 2 little chair lifts. The top elevation is only 532 metres, so even though the slopes are mostly northeast facing, the ski area is ideal for storm riding and thankfully competition for freshies is negligible.

Of similar ilk is the Asari Ski Resort at Asarigawa Onsen which is only 9km southeast of the town of Otaru. If you’ve got a car, Asari is only a 15 to 20 minute drive from Otaru. Otherwise there are regular buses from the JR Otaru train station that take 30 minutes. Like Otaru Tenguyama, Asari ski resort is good for a day trip to ski the solitary off-piste and sidecountry areas. Asari is also at low elevation so it’s good for really windy days when some of the lifts at Kiroro are closed.

Kiroro Ski Resort is an upscale resort that’s 28km from Otaru. It's possible (albeit rather clunky) to get a bus between Otaru train station and Kiroro each day, or self-driving will make it particularly easy to get to there. 

Sapporo Kokusai is a 23km drive southeast of Otaru. Kokusai receives massive amounts of snow, and even though the slopes are crowded with lots of beginners, the sidecountry areas tend to offer some fresh tracks.

Sapporo Teine is 29km southeast of Otaru and like its Sapporo counterpart it is good for beginners, and it also features some steep tree skiing.

Niseko needs no introduction! The very high profile Niseko is 68km to the southwest. If you’re staying in Niseko and want a day trip to Otaru, Limousine Sightseeing can take you there, or it’s a 1:20 hour train between Kutchan and Otaru. Or Moon Transfers (use drop down menu) provide private transfers between Otaru and Niseko.

Getting to Otaru

If you don’t have your own wheels or you’re not on a multi-resort tour, it’s easy enough to catch a train from the New Chitose Airport or Sapporo City to Otaru. See Hyperdia for train timetables and fares. Or Moon Transfers (use drop down menu) provide private transfers between the New Chitose Airport and Otaru.

Otaru Hotels

Otaru accommodation provides very good value for money. The Otaru hotels include large western style hotels and upscale Japanese ryokans, and there are also dormitory backpackers if you are travelling on a shoestring. The Dormy Inn Premium is an Otaru hotel that is very nice, yet inexpensive, and it's located only one minute walk from the Otaru train station.

The Grand Park Otaru is a beautiful 4-star hotel which is located right on the water with views up and down the coast from one side, and views of the hills you'll be skiing on the side of the hotel. Below the hotel is a shopping centre and eateries. This Otaru hotel is surprisingly inexpensive considering the quality on offer.

Otaru Hotels Listings


It’s novel to see snow at sea level in Otaru, but it’s also nice to look at the historic canals, wander along the old Sakaimachi Street, and to check out the glass crafts, the wacky Japanese shops, the beer brewery, and the seafood market. Of course, there is plenty of fresh seafood to eat as well. Beyond the pretty Snow Light Path Festival held in February, there aren’t a huge number of other tourist attractions, but it’s a nice town to indulge in some Japanese culture.
Tours That May Include Otaru

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Hokkaido Storm Chaser
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Otaru area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder. Share
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax for 2021 season.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,883
View Details
 Early bird special: 10% off listed prices until Aug 31
Hokkaido Backcountry Powder Quest
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Jump on the Hokkaido Backcountry Powder Quest tour & experience the magical powder wonderland Hokkaido is famous for along with its rich culture & incredible cuisine. Join as a solo, couple or small group; max 6 guests per tour & guaranteed departures. Share
Price p/p Price based on per person twin-share.
base/invoice currency is in USD
*displayed price may vary slightly due to recent exchange rate fluctuations.
$600 deposit is fully refundable no questions asked until October 27, 2020. Tour requires min 4 guests to proceed.
USD 3,699
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 Book by Aug 31 & take US$200 off the advertised price. $600 deposit is fully refundable no questions asked until October 27, 2020
Hokkaido Safari
12 Days | 8 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Explore up to 7 Hokkaido ski areas on this amazing powder progression adventure for advanced to expert skiers & boarders. Locations include the Otaru/Sapporo & Furano ski areas. Groups of up to 4 guests are guided by 1 guide. From price is based on twin share in deluxe western-style room.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share room; 4 on tour.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,765
View Details
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit OTARU Area here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Otaru & Niseko Powder Chaser
7 Nights | 6 Days Chasing Powder
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are on a budget but still want to ride all of the best spots around Niseko & Otaru then this package/tour is for you! Join as a solo traveller or small group or book the entire 7 spots!
Price p/p Price based on a bed in a shared room.
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,674
View Details
Niseko Zen Guided Multi-Day Tours
For PRIVATE GROUPS only | Customizable
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you want to get the most out of your next powder adventure in and around Niseko, having a guide / driver is the ideal way to do it! Don't waste days trying to find the goods when a knowledgeable guide can get you there first-time every-time.
Price p/p From price based on private group of 5 people or more on a 5-day package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 651
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit OTARU Area here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Coast to Coast Backcountry
8 Nights - Various Backcountry Areas
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Earn your turns and experience some of the best backcountry terrain in Southern Hokkaido including Goshiki Onsen area near Niseko, Yoichi-dake (Kiroro), Kokusai backcountry, Shiribetsu & Mt Yotei. You will need to be a FIT ADVANCED skier/boarder. Based in Niseko & Otaru. Share
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share room group fixed date tours for 2021 season.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,651
View Details
 Super early bird special: 10% off listed prices if you book before July 31. Full refund if travel ban or quarantine is in-force. See T&Cs.
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit OTARU Area here