Otaru is often referred to as “the town of hills”, because there is little in the way of flat land. It is a bit difficult to get around on a bicycle, and school students are responsible for one particular street north of the railway being named Jigoku-zaka (the hill from hell) – it is a very steep slope. The best place to appreciate view the Otaru cityscape and Ishikari Bay is at the top of the Mount Tengu Ropeway. A tengu is a ghastly looking goblin like creature that lives in the mountains and characterized by its big protruding nose.
Mt. Tengu-yama behind Otaru is a reasonably popular ski resort in winter. It does not attract the number of ski and snowboard enthusiasts that nearby Niseko, Teine or Sapporo Kokusai manage, but is worth a visit. The views are great and cover the whole of Otaru City and the port.
Between April and mid-December, the ropeway is open between 9:20am-5:00pm, though hours may be extended during summer and on holidays. A round-trip ticket will cost 850 yen, 430 yen for children. Between mid-December and late March, the ropeway is open daily until 9:00pm to service the Mount Tengu Skiing Ground. From JR Otaru station, take the Chuo bus bound for the Tenguyama Ropeway.