Hopping Around The Otaru Music Box Museums
The Japanese in general, are skilled in the art of crafting music boxes. In Otaru, besides shops selling glassware, one famous attraction is the Music Box Museum. We’ve seen a couple of these “museums” in Arashiyama last time as well. It was pretty much similar, except that the ones in Otaru were much larger. Whether you are a fan of Chopin’s Fantaisie Impromptu or Ghibli Studio’s Castle In the Sky, you’re bound to find a box that you love.
It may seem confusing from the map because of their lousy naming convention. However, these seemingly similar shop names are actually different. Their only similarity is the sale of music boxes.
Otaru Music Box Museum Hall Number 2 Antique Museum
If you walked from the direction of Otaru Canal into Sakaimachi Street, the first of the music box museums you’d encounter would be the Otaru Music Box Museum Hall Number 2 Antique Museum. Interestingly, there are displays of antique musical instruments, dating way back to the 1900s. There were even instruments we never knew existed and they looked damn cool.
Also, there were these antique dolls that look kinda creepy. Not sure who would place one of these in their house. Looks like the perfect recipe for an episode of Annabelle. Nevertheless, we had a great time here.
Main Building of the Otaru Music Box Museum
Right outside the main building lies an iconic Steam Clock. At every interval of 15 minutes, the steam clock will come alive and there’ll be some sizzling sound and music playing in the area. You’d not miss it, as there’s perpetually tourists crowding around it. Be sure to catch a glimpse of it while you are there though!
Now, this is one of the largest music box museums in Japan. Actually it looks more like a music box shop, rather than a museum. This is the right place if you love music, or if you just got to spend some money and get some souvenirs home. Interestingly and magically though, every single tourist that stepped into the shop became either a music student or a virtuoso pianist. “Oh I love this song“, “That’s my favorite piano piece“, “I might buy this and that“, yada yada yada… However though, it was really an eye opener for us, kinda like a fusion of Europe and Japan.
On the second level of the shop, lies a collection of upscale quality music boxes. I’m not sure if these are antiques or just exquisitely crafted, or a mixture. All we know that you can’t take photos up here, and if you break something, we’ll probably go bankrupt.
Yume no Oto “Character House”
Japan really takes pride in its Studio Ghibli creation. It is like so integral that I doubt any Japanese would be oblivious about. This building is a mini Tokyo Character Street by itself, except that the Ghibli merchandise takes up 80% of the shop. As you can see, this huge ass Totoro plushy is like the pride of the shop. Nothing else in general, except more music boxes. I think that’s about it for the exploration of the area, it was kind of an overdose on these tinkling little boxes.
Information About Otaru Orgel Doh
Address (Main Building): 4-1 Sumiyoshicho, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0015, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily
Recommended Duration: 2 hours (for the whole series of museums)