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Photo By: PIXTA/ Yoshi.Yu
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Otaru Blue Cave

An enchanting natural wonder tucked away along Hokkaido's coastline.

By Abhijit Sen

Explore the breathtaking Otaru Blue Cave, a captivating natural wonder nestled in the scenic coastal landscape of Otaru, Japan. The adventure offers an 80-minute cruise through the Otaru Canal area, Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and the renowned Blue Cave, with fascinating stops along the way.

Otaru Blue Cave Cruise

Otaru Blue Cave Cruise

Photo by: PIXTA/ Yoshi.Yu Explore the best of Otaru’s coastline.

The tour starts with Otaru North Breakwater, a symbol of Japan’s first concrete seawalls. These walls have stood proudly for over a century and are a registered Hokkaido heritage site. Following the seawalls, passengers will then visit Takashima Point, which is home to the famous Hiyoriyama Lighthouse. Other landmarks include Otaru Aquarium, Nishin Goden and Sea Lion Rock.

Cruise Highlights

Otaru Blue Cave

Photo by: PIXTA/ スプやん Experience seeing the deep blue glow within the cave.

The climax of this expedition culminates at Otaru Blue Cave. Here, visitors are enveloped in a mesmerizing world of azure hues. Most cruise boats come with adjustable seating that ensures the perfect angle for capturing the cave’s surreal beauty. The interplay of natural elements, from seawater erosion to the angle of sunlight, creates the phenomenon where the sea surface radiates an intense blue glow.

Notably, Otaru boasts one of the few Blue Caves outside of Italy. The contrast between the rugged coastline and the vivid blue sea surface makes this a must-see attraction. In addition, fortunate visitors may encounter natural sea urchins up close on days with calm waves and clear waters. During the summer, many seabirds can be spotted, adding to the area’s picturesque charm. In the winter, seals make their presence known, further enhancing the coastal excursion. This popular adventure is a top choice for travelers to Otaru.

Things To Know

Cruises and Fees

Many companies offer this tour, and the fee is mostly based on the duration and type of cruise.

Otaru Coast Cruise

  • Boarding point: North Canal
  • Estimated fare: ¥6,000 for adults

Blue Cave Otaru Glass Boat

  • Boarding location: Shukutsu
  • Estimated fare: ¥5,500 for adults

Ryugu Cruise Ship Trip

  • Boarding point: Ryugu Street east
  • Estimated fare: ¥5,500 for adults

Blue Grotto

  • Boarding location: Shukutsu
  • Estimated fare: ¥5,000

How To Get There


By train

To get to Otaru from Sapporo, ride the JR Hakodate Main Line. The journey usually takes around 9-10 minutes from JR Otaru station to reach the meeting spots of most cruise companies heading towards the sea.

Where To Stay

Cozy Inn Otaru
  • 18-14 Nishikimachi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0039 Japan
  • ¥11,305 - ¥22,610
  • 4.26/5 (138 reviews)
  • 6.0 km
Alphabed Inn Otaru Station
  • 3-10-12 Inaho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0032 Japan
  • ¥14,000 - ¥77,400
  • 4.52/5 (144 reviews)
  • 6.2 km
Dormy Inn Premium Otaru
  • 3-9-1 Inaho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0032 Japan
  • ¥7,210 - ¥89,510
  • 4.19/5 (3,586 reviews)
  • 6.3 km
Authent Hotel Otaru
  • 2-15-1 Inaho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0032 Japan
  • ¥12,540 - ¥26,220
  • 4.36/5 (1,646 reviews)
  • 6.7 km
Hotel Nord Otaru
  • 1-4-16 Ironai, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido, 047-0031 Japan
  • ¥13,130 - ¥97,530
  • 4.02/5 (1,404 reviews)
  • 6.7 km

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