1. From Sapporo: Private Day Trip to Otaru
Explore the old port town of Otaru on your own personalized private tour, leaving from nearby Sapporo with your knowledgeable guide. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Hop on a train to Otaru, 30 minutes northwest of Sapporo, where you’ll see a side to Japanese history vastly different from the temples and shrines you’d expect. Discover Japanese colonial architecture, old port markets, and steam clocks. The small harbor city of Otaru seems like a relic from a bygone era, you’ll get to explore this fascinating pocket of Japanese history. See the perfectly preserved western-style buildings of Sakaimachi-dōri, an old merchant street harking back to Otaru’s late 19th-century history as a powerful port city. Swivel your head between elegant buildings on Nichigin-dōri, the old “Wall Street of the North”, just around the corner. Stroll along the cobbled pathways of the pretty canal along Ishikari Bay, an old-world promenade illuminated by the golden glow of oil lamps in the early evening. See how it's lined with old warehouses converted into antique stores and cafes, or hop on a canal cruise for a different vantage point. Discover the city’s famous glass-blowing industry and shop for intricate souvenirs, or see the Otaru Music Box Museum’s collection of 25,000 music boxes (or customize your own brand-new one). If you are brave enough, try the squid ink ice-cream and grab a bite to eat. You could enjoy freshly brewed draft beer at the Bavarian-style Otaru Brewery beer hall or sample sake at the Tanaka Sake Brewery before heading back to Sapporo.