Otaru is a port city that lies northwest of Sapporo on Ishikari Bay. The waterfront section stretches in a narrow strip for 30 km from Otaru Dream Beach west to the Otaru Aquarium on the tip of the bay. The two best best places to run in Otaru are the Otaru Dream Beach Area/Hoshioki River Path, and further north along the Otaru Canal and some lovely city parks.
Otaru Canal Area & Temiya Park. The more historic section of Otaru, and the area often visited area, is located 20 km northwest of Sapporo. The city, now almost a bedroom community of Sapporo, is famous for its canal. Folks take boat trips along the canal to enjoy its blossoms in spring, winter scene with icicles, and festive blue lights in season. There’s a walking path alongside the canal that’s nice for running. For a nice 3.7 km loop, run the canal path one way, and take the cycle path for the return. This paved, dedicated path cuts through the center of Otaru.
For a 2 km nice add-on, continue from the north end of the canal path into hilly Temiya Park. There are lovely running paths passing botanical gardens and then climbing 70m to the Temiya Park Viewpoint. The park is popular for its cherry blossoms in spring and is lovely in winter with fresh snow. There’s a running track at the center! Note: Hilly ROUTE MAP
Otaru Park to Asahi Observation Deck. Otaru Park is a pleasant city park just west of downtown. There are walking paths, ballfields & other athletic facilities, and a concert hall. A loop of the park is ~1.5 km. You can start in the park, or combine with the canal route. It’s 1 km from the southern end of the canal path to Otaru Park, using Koen Dori.
From the northwest end of the park, challenge yourself with a run/walk to the Asahi Observation Deck. It’s 2 km, climbing 200m, on a mainly wooded road. There are several km of additional roads and paths in this wooded city park. Especially pretty in winter! Use our map as a guideline. Note: if you’d like to avoid the hill climb, there’s a parking area at the Observation Deck. From there, enjoy a less hilly run on park roads/paths, or run downhill! ROUTE MAP
- Canal Loop is 3.7 km (2.3 miles); Temiya Park adds 2 km; Otaru Park Loop to Asahi Observation Deck is ~3.5 km one-way
- Canal path is flat; Temiya Park is hilly. It's a 200m climb to the Asahi Observation Deck
- Downtown Otaru for the canal path; For Otaru Park/Asahi, can run from downtown or park in Otaru Park near the concert hall
- Otartu Park: parking area at concert hall; Can also park at Asahi Observation Deck