Otaru is a beautiful Canal town less than an hour away from Sapporo that many people travel to as a day trip. However, it is also a great place to explore for a little longer and this hostel is the perfect place to stay. The Otarunai Morinoki is owned and managed by Masa who brings his resident cat, Momo, and dog, Hug with him to work so it’s a great place to stay for pet lovers (if they don’t run away first).
On entering the hostel, you would be forgiven for thinking you have just entered someone’s home as it is warm and inviting and the walls are covered in things from people’s travels from around the world. Masa also has an extensive collection of Japanese manga as well as many DVDs and games to play.
It’s a small hostel with just a couple of dorm rooms as well as a small private room, so it doesn’t usually feel too crowded. Beds are also set up with everything you need including individual power points and reading lamps as well as a small privacy curtain. There is also a small kitchen and dining area as well as a lounge area with the all important Kotatsu (a table with blankets and heater under it that I didn’t want to leave during my stay). In the mornings you can pay a little bit extra to get a Japanese style breakfast cooked for you with perfect Japanese hospitality.
The Hostel is located in between two of Otaru’s JR Stations (Otaru and Minami-Otaru) and is just a 10-15 minute walk from either, as well as being walking distance to the famous Otaru Canal and Sakaimachi Street. You can also get buses from the JR Station to other attractions around Otaru.
If you time your stay well then you might be lucky and arrive to enjoy one of Masa’s soba parties where he makes homemade soba noodles and everyone in the hostel gets together for a great time socializing and playing games. This was by far the most memorable night of my stay. Also, if you find yourself enjoying your stay so much and want to stay longer, then you could sign up to be a Whooper (work exchange volunteer) and help clean the hostel like I did or even learn Japanese with Masa who is a Japanese Language Teacher.
Otarunai Morinoki is just the place to rest your head after a lovely day sightseeing in Otaru without spending a fortune.
Check out the Hotelsaurus Website to book or the official website below.
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