Otaru Mountain & Market by Train
Guided day tour from Sapporo
1 Day Hiking Tour
An active and engaging one day tour from Sapporo to explore Otaru from its mountain to the seafood market. Get a taste of local life and the bounty of the sea.
Tour Duration1 Day
Minimum Travellers2 People
Included Meals1 Lunch
- Climb Mt. Shioya-Maruyama (629m/2,064ft) for panoramic views of the Sea of Japan
- Visit the Sankaku Seafood Market, the Otaru people’s kitchen for over 70 years
- Take a picturesque journey on local rail and travel in an eco-friendly way
Otaru is a pretty port town close to Hokkaido’s capital city Sapporo. Famous for its canal, sushi, glass ateliers and streets lined with classic stone warehouses and buildings, Otaru’s historic charms have been drawing visitors from the rest of Japan and beyond for many years. Facing the Sea of Japan, Otaru flourished as a gateway to Hokkaido, trading herrings, coal, and other goods necessary to develop the newest prefecture at that time.
On this nostalgic excursion we will explore Otaru from its mountain to the sea, using only JR (Japan Railway) as our mode of transportation from Sapporo. We will hike up Mt Shioya-Maruyama, a mountain popular with local Sapporo hikers due to its accessibility and stunning ocean views from the top. The afternoon sees us venture into a local seafood market “Sankaku Ichiba”, which sells the freshest seafood caught in the Sea of Japan right by Otaru Station.
Who is this tour for?
- Hikers who enjoy the rewards of a challenging climb and panoramic ocean views from a peak
- Active travellers who think walking around new places is the best way to see them
- Curious travellers who enjoy mingling with the locals as they go about their day
The Four Seasons of Otaru
We run this tour during the snow-less months between May and October and anytime during this period is the perfect time to go! Spring arrives in Otaru in late April, when the cherry blossoms and the spring flowers start gracing the townscape at sea level. Around June is the season of fresh verdure, and a pleasant time to hike to lower mountains like Mt Shioya-Maruyama (629m/2,064ft). July is still relatively dry and enjoys warm weather, and in August the temperature reaches its peak (22°C/71°F on average), when we pull out our short sleeves to make the most of the summer days! September and October are our autumn months, when we start seeing the change of foliage colour, a sign of the Mother Earth preparing itself for a long, snowy winter of Hokkaido.
Guided hiking to Mt Shioya-Maruyama & Sankaku Seafood Market in Otaru
We will meet between 8:00 am and 8:30 am at a pre-arranged location in Central Sapporo, and then hop on a local train to Shioya Station. This is not a tourist train, but a train used daily by local residents mainly for commuting. As we travel through the suburbs of Sapporo we leave the cityscape behind and gradually approach the coast of the Sea of Japan. Over the other side of Otaru, we will get off the train at Shioya Station and start walking on the paved road towards the head of our hiking trail, which is just over 1km/1.5 miles from the train station.
Our hike starts with a relatively mild ascent, but becomes steeper as we climb to the summit, reaching an incline of 30% in the steepest section. But the climb is well worth the effort, as the summit rewards us with a spectacular view overlooking the expansive ocean and a little shrine perched on top of rocky cliffs. Here we will enjoy a picnic lunch, Japanese rice sandwiches, before heading down the same route back to Shioya Station.
We will board a train again for a short ride to Otaru, where we will visit the Sankaku Seafood Market close to Otaru Station. The market began at this location in 1948 with half a dozen stalls selling seafood and fresh produce, from which it grew into a larger collective market over time. We will call into one of our favourite local shops to have a taste of the freshest Hokkaido seafood, before taking a return train to Sapporo. Our tour concludes upon our return to Sapporo, we will say our goodbyes at the Sapporo Station before 6:00 pm.
Hiking Distance – 7.7km / 4.8miles
Tour Duration – 9 to 10 hours
Elevation – 530m/1,739ft
What to bring on your Otaru Mountain & Market by Train 1 Day Hiking Tour
- Waterproof jacket and pants
- Adequate footwear for hiking
- Fleece jacket (even in summer the temperature can drop below 15˚C/60˚F)
- Gloves, beanie, and other items to keep you warm
- Sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
- Water bottle or hydration system of more than 1L
- Personal medications
- Travel insurance
- Backpack with enough capacity to carry all of the above
- Rain cover for the backpack
- Personal snacks
- Walking poles
- Lunch, drink and snacks
- First aid kit
- Safety equipment and maps