The Otaru Canal was built in the early 20th century to make up for the town's not having a deepwater port. Big ships were unloaded into little ships which then traveled the canal to warehouses. But even after Otaru dredged a harbor for large ships, life in the city continued to be centered around the canal; in the 1980s, part of the canal was revitalized and what were once warehouses became museums, restaurants and stores. Now it's the best place to take a walk in the city, with many options on your stroll: window-shopping, checking out the work of artists who set their easels on the canal banks, popping into restaurants for a quick bite. At night, the canal is lit by gas lamps—a nice throwback touch.