Enjoy Your Travel and Stay at Yamagoya Backpackers Hostel
Otaru is one of the best-loved destinations for tourists in Hokkaido, both local and international. Fashioned with romantic European architecture and a combination of Japanese traditional cuisine, one would never forget to take home photos and souvenirs of the beautiful city.
And although Otaru is a great place for a romantic getaway or a solo adventure, travelers on a budget might want to consider the expenses---accommodation to name a few. Fortunately, there are in fact, a number of affordable inns and backpacker hostels around the city, waiting to be discovered.
One of my favorites is Yamagoya Backpackers Hostel, a 3-minute taxi cab ride or a 13-minute walk from Otaru Station.
In the spring of 2023, I decided to visit Otaru once again, to check out the cherry blossoms and unexplored museums nearby. During the pandemic, many hostels closed, and accommodation prices rose up. I wanted to spend a three-day stay with my husband during the Golden Week that wouldn't hurt our budget. Through Google Maps, I found this hostel and decided to make a reservation on their website.
We arrived around 8pm on our first night. There was a free parking space located in front of the hostel. The host and owner, Mrs. Yamagoya, cheerfully welcomed us and accompanied us to our room. We reserved for a private ryokan style room for two, for only 7,000円 a night. It was a spacious room with twin futons, a heater, two large wall cabinets, a space where we can easily place our luggage, and a table with two zaisu chairs. We are allowed to eat inside, and there are no curfews. As far as I know, this is the only backpacker hostel with a private ryokan style in Otaru.
Other accommodations are the male and female dormitory which is 3,000円 a night. Free services are wi-fi, shared men and women toilets, a shared shower room, fridge, and safety box.
Mrs. Yamagoya doesn't speak English, but she mentioned that her husband does. Luckily, I am somehow able to speak Japanese, learning it from my husband who is also Japanese. But even if you can't speak the local language, the owners are very considerate and polite. They also give you a free brochure of Otaru, both in English and Japanese, to help you get around easily.
Mr. Yamagoya was celebrating his birthday at the time we arrived, and his friends and relatives were in the communal area. My husband and I were tired after a long trip from Sapporo, so we ate our takeout in the room and went to bed soon.
The next day, we had breakfast at Komeda Coffee. We went there on foot for exercise, and it took only 13 minutes from the hostel. Komeda Coffee is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, with affordable morning sets and delicious breads and coffee starting at 500円.
After that, we returned to the hostel and drove to Temiya Park. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms were almost gone, but there were still a few left near the shrines. We took pictures and videos there. Temiya Park is still very beautiful without the pink blossoms, as there were lovely landscapes, two shrines, and an overview of Otaru Bay.
Among our other destinations were the Steam Locomotive Museum, Otaru Canal, and Otaru Port Marina. I have been to Otaru Canal and the port many times before, and had a short cruise once in the summer of 2019, but it was my first time at the museum. I really enjoyed that one because I saw many preserved models of the trains from the 18th century up to the 1970s models. I also learned about the history of steam transportation in Japan, and realized what a long history it was!
After the tours, we returned to the hostel and rested a bit at the communal area. It has a very comfortable vibe filled with books, a soft sofa, a shared dining table, and free drinks.
We really enjoyed our trip in Otaru, and although I have been here many times, our stay at Yamagoya Backpackers was one of our highlights. I can't wait to come back!
Yamagoya Backpackers Hostel
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/6JjKNJEEkNFi2tYy9
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/UiZQ6acJsVi7MLqg6
Steam Locomotive Museum
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Aj42gF7dpDnPb6HE6