Summer in Nothern Town - Otaru

The North Wall district features a cluster of turn-of-the-century-modern Japanese buildings: Otaru City, Hokkaido

The former Bank of Japan Otaru Branch, established 1912

The name "Otaru" comes from an Ainu language word "Ota Oru Nai" meaning "river in the sand."

Built starting at the end of the 19th century, the Port of Otaru was designated an international trade port in 1899. During the middle part of the 20th century, it was vital to the delivery of coal produced in the Ishikari region to locations outside of Hokkaido. As trade flourished with Sakhalin and Russia, leading Japanese companies and major banks, including the Bank of Japan (Otaru Branch), competed as they built locations in what came to be known as the North Wall area. As such the port has contributed greatly to the history, culture, and economy of Hokkaido.

Dotted with numerous historic buildings including the "Herring Mansion" as well as other large mansions built by wealthy merchants, Otaru retains cultural assets left over from nostalgic times.

The former Nippon Yusen Kaisha Otaru Branch, established 1906

The former Kimura Warehouse, established 1891

The former Ooie Warehouse, established 1891

"Herring Mansion" (Nishin Goten), former Inomata residence, built in 1900

Otaru canals lit up on winter nights

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