When Otaru was a port city from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Sakaimachi was a merchant street for trading and shipping companies who built Western style buildings for their businesses. Fast forward to the present and you’ll still see some of those buildings as they have been preserved and converted into boutiques, restaurants, and shops that make Sakaimachi Street a famous tourist draw.
Sakaimachi Street is known for it’s glassworks, which is obvious from the glass chimes that tinkle prettily from the lamp posts where they’re hung. There are also a lot of shops that sell glass ware and you can even try a hand at making your own. But if you’re as interested in glass ware as I am (not), don’t be put off because Sakaimachi has so much more than glass.
It also has pretty music boxes, which you can find at the Otaru Music Box Antique Museum. The Antique Museum is one of the five museums/shops of Otaru Orgel Doh. The left half of the museum is a shop where you can purchase a variety of music boxes while the other half has an exhibition of antique music boxes and mechanical dolls. Their music boxes were really pretty and they had a variety of designs. I didn’t think they had a lot of melodies to choose from though, which was a little bit disappointing because, well, they’re selling music boxes.
If a music box doesn’t seem like a memorable souvenir, you can opt for something more traditional and Japanese: chopsticks. Granted, you can buy chopsticks anywhere in Japan but it was only in Sakaimachi where I found a shop that’ll engrave your name on the chopsticks – for free! If I didn’t have four pairs already I would’ve bought another pair, and would have been so crazy happy to see my name on them.
But if you’re more sensible than I am and you actually want to appreciate glass ware in Otaru, then look for this unassuming building:
And you’ll find this:
Kitaichi Glass 3gokan is a cafe in a stone-exterior warehouse lit by hundreds of kerosene lamps. Because of the good reviews it has on the internet, I was really excited to see this place and I wasn’t disappointed. It was romantic and the smell of kerosene added to its beautiful ambiance. Sadly there was an ongoing piano performance when I was there, which meant that I couldn’t take pictures (a poor excuse for why the best picture on this post is taken from the internet). Also, the menu was not as attractive as the view so I decided to just breathe in the kerosene, take a quick peek, and then went nom nom-ing somewhere else, which is not as easy as it sounds because, like many things on this famous street, food in Sakaimachi is -`ღ´-