Otaru is located on Ishikari Bay of the Sea of Japan on Hokkaido Island. With a name meaning “sandy beach”, Otaru developed as a modern town in the late 19th century. Provided with a good natural harbour, it is the port for the city of Sapporo, the largest city and capital of Hokkaido Island and site of the 1972 Winter Olympics. Visit the Asarigawa Spa, Otamoi Park, and the Otaru Aquarium, one of the largest in Japan. Sapporo, laid out in 1871, features wide, tree-lined boulevards and some beautiful Botanical Gardens incorporating the Ainu Museum and Sapporo Art Park. The Sapporo Beer Garden and Museum and the Historical Village of Hokkaido are also well worth visiting.

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