Otaru Aquarium

Otaru Aquarium
AdmissionChildren ¥200
Junior & High school students ¥500
Adults ¥1400
Opening HoursMonday – Saturday
9:00 – 17:00
NotesForeign Language Ability:
Location /
Getting There
3 Chome-303 Shukutsu, Otaru, Hokkaido Prefecture 047-0047, Japan
Take a train from Sapporo station to Otaru station. 40 min. Bus to the aquarium. 20 min

Otaru is a harbor town 1 hour west of Sapporo by train. Otaru is famous for its seafood, glassblowing, and its canal. Its also home to the largest aquarium in Hokkaido. Some aspects and parts of this aquarium are outdated but there are also some parts which are unique. Originally built in 1959, the aquarium is home to 5,000 sea creatures of 250 different species. The primary focus is on fish that live in Hokkaido and the polar regions.  Visitors can also see the only harbour porpoises in Japan. 

Otaru Aquarium

One of the large tanks with an array of sea life.

Throughout the day there is a line up of shows for the tourists. They involve the penguin walk, the dolphin show, the sea lion show, seal show, and the walrus feeding. These events are arranged over the whole aquarium. They are on one after the after leaving very little time to get to each one, so a little hustle is needed. If you do miss a show they are on 3 times a day. The penguin walk, and walrus feeding are interesting and a great opportunity to see these animals. The sea lion, dolphin, and seal shows are out of date compared with more modern aquariums and hopefully these will be modified in the future. All shows are in Japanese. 

The Penguin Walk
A great opportunity to get up close to a flock of penguins as they make their daily walk down for their ocean swim. 
Walrus Feeding
A chance to see these enormous animals up close and personal. After the feeding takes place the walruses will come down to the front glass in the water for some great photo opportunities.

Dolphin Show
An opportunity to watch the dolphins with their trainers, jumping and performing for the crowd. There is also a large viewing window beneath the water.

Sea Lion & Seal Shows
These separate shows are similar in structure. The animals will jump and dive for an audience. The show also acts as the feeding time for these animals.

How to get there : If you don’t have access to your own transport it is quite easy to take public transport to the aquarium. Take the train to Otaru station from Sapporo station (this takes about 40 minutes). Otaru station is the last station on the coastal line so its not hard to miss. After that, the bus will take you straight to the aquarium, which is also the last stop (this takes about 20 minutes). The staff at the information booth at the station are extremely helpful and will be more than happy to tell you which bus to take. They speak great English and there are timetables available.



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Hokkaido Guide contributor and editor. Keen photographer with a love of travel, the great outdoors and all things Hokkaido, Japan. Matt Holloway is a professional photographer and holds exhibitions around Sapporo, Hokkaido and Sydney Australia.