The Official Hokkaido Adventure Travel Guide

Trekking in Otaru, a Historic Herring Fishing Port: Seaside Cliffs& Ancient Legends




  • 1 day

  • 15

  • Trekking


  • Spectacular views of Ishikari Bay on the Otaru Beach Nature Trail
  • Visit Mt. Shimoakaiwa’s ancient shrine and learn the legend of the white dragon.
  • Enjoy fresh, locally-sourced in a traditional Japanese lunch.
  • A special chance to taste Otate scallops produced in Otaru’s Shukutsu district
  • Workshop on glass fishing floats showcasing Otaru’s history of glassmaking

Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park in Otaru City, Hokkaido




Otaru’s modern history began when the Meiji Government (1868-1912) renovated its port to service Sapporo, the new capital of Hokkaido. Otaru prospered from trade and herring fishing, growing into a powerful financial center. Today, Otaru offers tourist locations ranging from its many historical buildings to natural landscapes including sun-drenched cliffs towering over the Sea of Japan.

This tour highlights the history of the herring industry, which was central to Otaru’s growth and prosperity.
Otaru’s glassmaking industry, now a cultural and economic powerhouse, began with the production of fishing floats. In Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park, guests visit Mt. Shimoakaiwa, a sacred mountain. Locals have long prayed for fishermen’s safety following various traditions.

Come explore the spectacular natural landscapes and their deep connections to Otaru’s history and traditions. Learn about local folklore while trekking on Mt. Shimoakaiwa, take in the panoramic ocean views, and dive into the rich culture of Hokkaido.


Trekking on the Otaru Beach Nature Trail and the White Dragon Trek

We will meet at Sapporo Station at 8:30am and head for Otaru. Upon arrival at the destination, trekking will start at 10:30.

The White Dragon Trek is called Hakuryu Tainai Meguri in Japanese. The word tainai means “womb” and meguri means “to walk around or visit.” Tainai-meguri is an ancient practice in which ascetic practitioners and itinerant Buddhist monks practiced rituals of death and rebirth in mountains and sacred places across the country.

Located in the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park, Mt. Shimoakaiwa is the home of the Akaiwa Hakuryuu Shrine. Legend has it that in that spot, a monk saw a white dragon ascending to heaven in the early Meiji period, and the mountain itself has been revered within various belief systems as a sacred place. The White Dragon Trek is a challenging course that cuts across precipitous cliffs and offers spectacular views of the coast.

The Herring Mansion, A Hokkaido Tangible Cultural Property
Herring fishing, which reached its peak in the Meiji period, became the foundation of Otaru’s prosperity. At that time, Otaru attracted migrant fishermen and immigrants from across the country. The Herring Mansion was built in 1897 in Tomari, a village in the Shakotan Peninsula. It was moved to its current location and restored in 1958. A guide familiar with Otaru’s history will introduce exhibits from the period and provide a tour of the mansion.

Workshop on Glass Fishing Floats – an Integral Part of the Herring Industry
The glass fishing floats used to mark nets in the water were once indispensable to the herring industry in Otaru. However, modernization and a declining fishing industry caused demand for them to evaporate. Now, the only factory in Japan that still produces them is located in Otaru. This workshop is a chance to interact with local fishermen and glassmakers while learning about the culture and history of glassmaking in Otaru.

The tour will depart from the site at 15:30 and will be disbanded at Sapporo Station at 16:30.


Otaru Marugoto BBQ

Enjoy a barbecue meal featuring seafood from Otaru, including herring, which is low in fat and has a sweet flavor. Try sailfin poacher, which is said to be the reincarnation of the white dragon in local legends. The centerpiece of the meal is a pairing of local wine and “Otate” scallops – a delicacy produced in Otaru.

Tour Operator / Contact

Ezosika Travel Co., Ltd.


South 1 West 17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan


Official web site

We are a tour operation and tourism consulting company based in Sapporo. Specifically, we provide our customers with highly unique experiences in Hokkaido and beyond. We offer backcountry skiing and trekking guided tours, as well as a variety of outdoor activities tailored to our clients’ needs.

Adventure Travel provides comprehensive coordination. We also collaborate with local research institutions and artists to organize tours that convey the deep spirituality of Ainu culture.


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