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Otaru Art Base and its Stained Glass Museum in Otaru, Hokkaido: Video introduction

This video, titled "OTARU – Otaru Art Base and its Stained Glass Museum" (【小樽】小樽芸術村 ステンドグラス美術館), was uploaded by "Nichimen Auto System" (日免オートシステム).
The Otaru Canal, one of the best tourist destinations in Hokkaido, has a nostalgic atmosphere. Otaru Art Base, composed of retro buildings on the banks of the canal, exhibits various arts and crafts from around the world.

The Stained Glass Museum, formerly the Takahashi Warehouse, is one of the retro buildings along the canal. The video clip shows the priceless stained glass art that was actually used in old chapels in England from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.

Enjoy the beautiful and solemn space of lights in the video, while pondering these historical artworks.

Otaru Art Base – Utilizing Historical Buildings

Image of the Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch, Otaru Art Base, Otaru, Hokkaido
Photo:The Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch, Otaru Art Base, Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru, Hokkaido has been prospering as a gateway to Hokkaido thanks to its surrounding waters. Many financial and trading companies have been stationed here since around 1930, and developed the area as an economic center.

Otaru Art Base was established in July 2016 in Otaru, Hokkaido by Nitori Group, a popular Japanese furniture retail company that originated in Hokkaido. Its operation has been managed by the Nitori Cultural Foundation since October 2020.

Otaru Art Base has five historic buildings that were built in the early 20th century that include the former Arata Firm, the former Takahashi Warehouse, the former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch, the former Hokkaido Takushoku Bank Otaru Branch, and the former Naniwa Warehouse. They display excellent pieces of art from both Japan and around the world.

Because it utilizes historically valuable buildings in Otaru, both the exhibits and the architecture have outstanding value as a cultural heritages from the past.

Highlights of Stained Glass Museum in Otaru Art Base

The Stained Glass Museum is in the former Takahashi Warehouse, one of the buildings of the Otaru Art Base, displays stained glass that actually used to decorate chapel windows. The stained glass was crafted in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Unfortunately, many chapels in England have been demolished in recent years, but these works managed to survive and ended up in Japan by chance.

Among many valuable works, it exhibits the stained-glass version of the famous artwork "The Last Supper" and "God and the Glory of Great Britain," which was produced to commemorate the victory and victims of World War I.
[Video] 1:38 - God and the Glory of Great Britain
[Video] 6:06 - The Last Supper

The museum is full of the history of England. You can feel the flow of time up close through the figures and lettering on the stained glass artworks.
[Video] 5:33 - God and the Glory of Great Britain Viewed From the 2nd Floor
[Video] 6:00 - The Sower

Highlights of the House of Western Art, Nitori Museum, and Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch in Otaru Art Base

Image of Nitori Museum, Otaru, Hokkaido
Photo:Nitori Museum, Otaru, Hokkaido

In addition to the Stained Glass Museum, the Otaru Art Base also has House of Western Art, Nitori Museum, and the former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch.
Be careful as photography is prohibited is some of these buildings.

Here, we'll introduce the highlights of each facility at Otaru Art Base and specific locations where photography is prohibited.

● House of Western Art
The House of Western Art, which is the fourth museum in the Otaru Art Base, was just recently opened on April 28, 2022. The highlights are the stained glass produced in Europe and the United States from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, as well as Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass crafts. Photography is permitted here, but the flash photography, selfie sticks, and video recording are prohibited.

● Nitori Museum
The Nitori Museum is in an old bank building. It has become a popular tourist spot with a large number of outstanding works, such as modern Japanese paintings and Western paintings. A must-see is the powerful stained glass by stained glass artist Louis C. Tiffany. You can take pictures of the stained glass exhibited at the entrance, but no other photography is permitted inside the building due to the presence of copyrighted works.

● Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch
From the end of the Meiji Period to the beginning of the Showa Period, Otaru was called Northern Wall Street because it was extremely prosperous as an economic center. The building that symbolizes this prosperity is the Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch. This building has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. Highlights include the Renaissance-style masonry exterior, a beautiful plaster ceiling, and a safety deposit box and drawing room that give you a sense of the atmosphere of a bank at the time. Furthermore, be sure to check out the projection mapping that takes place every hour on the 1st floor. Photography is allowed in this building, but video recordings are prohibited.

Admission Fees, Required Time for Otaru Art Base, and Reviews

Image of a woman looking at her phone
Photo:A woman looking at her phone

Next, we'll go over admission fees, the time required to visit Otaru Art Base, and reviews.

First, the Admission fee. We recommend the discount "Four Combined Museum Pass" ticket when visiting Otaru Art Base: 2,900 yen for adults, 2,000 yen for university students, 1,500 yen for high school students, 1,000 yen for junior high school students, and 500 yen for elementary school students. This ticket is cheaper than buying individual tickets for two museums. It's a great deal!

Individual fees for the Stained Glass Museum are 1,000 yen for adults, 800 yen for university students, 600 yen for high school students, 500 yen for junior high school students, and 300 yen for elementary school students.

Individual fees for the former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch are 700 yen for adults, 500 yen for university students, 400 yen for high school students, 300 yen for junior high school students, and 200 yen for elementary school students.

Individual fees for either the Nitori Museum or the House of Western Art are 1,500 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for university students, 700 yen for high school students, 500 yen for junior high school students, and 300 yen for elementary school students.
University/high school/junior high school students are required to present their student ID at the reception.
Elementary and junior high school students in Otaru can get in free with the Otaru Resident Special Discount. Those with documentation of a physical disability, rehabilitation, or mental disability can receive free admission, plus one designated caregiver.
Please check the official website for more details.

The estimated time required for Otaru Art Base is about 3 hours in total if the museum is not crowded.
The estimated time required for each museum is as follows:
● Stained Glass Museum: Approximately 30 minutes
● Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch: Approximately 30 minutes
● Nitori Museum: Approximately 60 minutes
● House of Western Art: Approximately 60 minutes

Many reviews for Otaru Art Base talk about the beauty of the exhibits and praise their harmony with the historical buildings. People also praise the number of exhibits, and are often surprised at the quality, saying that it's worth more than what you pay!

Other Things to Do in Otaru

Below is a short list of other things to do in Otaru, Hokkaido.

Otaru Museum
Otaru Museum is a museum that displays exhibits related to the history, nature, transportation, and science of Hokkaido. The museum is actually made up of 2 separate buildings: the main building, and the canal pavilion. They are a 20-minute walk from one another but you can purchase a ticket to visit both.

Hours: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Admission Fee: General admission: 400 yen (winter 300 yen), high school students and senior citizens living in the area: 200 yen (winter 150 yen), Junior high school students and younger: free

Otaru Music Box Museum
The Otaru Music Box Museum is located in a historical building that was built in 1915. It's home to 80,000 music boxes of 5,000 different varieties, making it one of the largest music box stores in Japan. It's a great place to go if you like music boxes, art, or are looking for souvenirs. The museum is a 15-minute walk from Otaru Art Base.

Hours: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Admission Fee: Free

Sankaku Market
Otaru Market began around 1948 when a group of street vendors opened near Otaru Station. Eventually it developed into a morning market, attracting people from various regions in Japan. It's a great place to eat some delicious seafood and buy some local specialties to commemorate your trip to Otaru. Sankaku Market is located right next to Otaru Station and is a 12-minute walk from Otaru Art Base.

Hours: 6:00 am - 5:00 pm (restaurants 7:00 am - 5:00 pm)

All of these locations are within close proximity to one another, so if you're visiting Otaru, you can easily visit a number of different places in a single day, making for a really efficient trip.

Summary of Otaru Art Base, in Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru is a port town with a beautiful retro townscape that evokes a sense of history. It's a popular tourist spot where you can enjoy nature, shopping, and delicious food, but also breathtaking works of art.

Otaru Art Base is also home to buildings that themselves are works of art, and you can appreciate precious art pieces inside them while exploring their history. If you're in Otaru, Hokkaido, or are planning on visiting, be sure to stop by Otaru Art Base!

【Official Website】Stained Glass Museum (Former Takahashi Warehouse) | Otaru Art Base

【TripAdvisor】Otaru Art Base, Stained Glass Museum

Written By
Last Updated : Jun. 1, 2023
もりありさ(Arisa Mori)
Writer and blogger living in Germany. Former flight attendant who loves traveling and food.
The stained glass museum at Otaru Art Village, Otaru City, Hokkaido, is full of attractions! Watch the video to experience the beautiful and majestic world of light!
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