Otaru is a small city of 150,000 people situated in the western part of Japan's northern island, Hokkaido. It's a far cry from the neon lights and technology driven culture of Tokyo and Osaka. This is the place where the Japanese come for their local holidays to experience the gentle, quaint and peaceful rural culture of their country. The Japanese call Otaru the 'Venice of Japan'. It's a tenuous comparison, but there are certain similarities the locals like to play up. For a start, Otaru has a lovely canal running through its centre, testament to its heritage as a thriving sea port. When sunset falls, lamps light up along the canal creating a warmly romantic atmosphere.
The yen (JPY) is the currency of Japan.