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Old rich port town

Otaru Travel Blog

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The former Otaru branch of the Yasuda Bank

I get to the train station to go for a little trip to Otaru. It is a little town a short train ride away from Sapporo the train is driving along the shore for a good part of the time so it is a good trip to take and enjoy the bright sunshine along the coast.

 

I get to the city and get off and start walking down toward the canal of the town which is also the home of some of the many old warehouses which made the foundation of the wealth of Otaru a century ago. The city was the centre of herring fishing industry and its proximity to Russian meant there was a lot of commerce going on with the Russians during that era.

 

The Russian influence has been kept till this day - hence when you see posters around the town they are typically in Japanese, English and Russian.

 

I get down to the canal and walk along it during the fabulous sunshine - it is almost to warm today - here you must take into account I just left Denmark after suffering from 10 month of what would be described as winter weather in 90 percent of the world.

 

I walk along the canal to the end and down there is a little square which is surrounded by old warehouses and a main building which the former Otaru branch of Nippon Yusen Co. It has been turned into a museum and it looks quite interesting from the outside - hence I want to have a little closer look at the building from the inside. I get in and my hope that all Japanese would speak English and all signs would be in English is quickly squashed. Inside is no signs in English and the staff speak no English at all - though they are very friendly and helpful. I get in and have a little look around and the place is not that interesting the main hall is quite impressive with the big room with a high ceiling and a few old desks standing in the room indicating where the staff used to sit and work in the old days. I figure there gotta be more to the museum than just this one hall - hence I try to have a look at the out buildings behind the main building. The staff is eagerly pointing me towards the end of the small building behind the main hall - I walk down towards the end of the hall - there is a strange smell in the air. It turns out the out building is actually an out building housing the toilets of the museum. This wasn’t really what I was looking for but I guess I can just turn back and try to figure out if there are more to the museum. There are actually a bit of a museum on the second floor with the old furniture from the heyday of the house when big meetings probably took place inside it.

 

I get out of the museum - I did not really spend all that much time inside it - and then I walk towards the old Wall Street of the north - the home to all the banks of Otaru. The banks are housed in buildings of which some are quite impressive and shining above the rest is probably the old Bank of Japan branch in Otaru. The building is no longer a bank and has been turned into a museum instead.

Bank of Japan Otaru branch
 It is sort of the same deal as the other museum - not much (any?) English is spoken and the signs are all in Japanese. But at least this one is free so I figure I might as well go in and have a look at the building. The building is quite impressive including a vault where you can lift 100 million yen - ok it is not real money just paper. There is also some sort of display about the different features of the yen notes. I don’t get all of it and there might be something about counterfeit money as well.

 

I walk around for a bit taking in the old houses of the city and just before I head back for the station I walk by a catholic church which looks quite old but in fact it is less than a hundred years old. Probably because Christianity was banned in Japan until not very long ago. In front of the church are writing - probably about the times for service and such - but it looks a bit strange to see Japanese signs on a catholic church.

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The former Otaru branch of the Yas…
The former Otaru branch of the Ya…
City museum annex
City museum annex
Bank of Japan Otaru branch
Bank of Japan Otaru branch
The canal of Otaru
The canal of Otaru
The warehouse and former headquate…
The warehouse and former headquat…
One of the warehouses - now a play…
One of the warehouses - now a pla…
The fountain in front of Nippon Yu…
The fountain in front of Nippon Y…
Another warehouse
Another warehouse
Inside Nippon Yusen Co.
Inside Nippon Yusen Co.
Inside Nippon Yusen Co. the roof
Inside Nippon Yusen Co. the roof
The mainhall inside Nippon Yusen C…
The mainhall inside Nippon Yusen …
The desk in the main hall in Nippo…
The desk in the main hall in Nipp…
Hall on the first floor of Nippon …
Hall on the first floor of Nippon…
Main room on the first floor of Ni…
Main room on the first floor of N…
Old warehouse in Otaru
Old warehouse in Otaru
City museum annex
City museum annex
I am really happy to know this is …
I am really happy to know this is…
City museum
City museum
Canal of Otaru
Canal of Otaru
Old bank
Old bank
View of the harbor of Otaru
View of the harbor of Otaru
Old wooden house of Otaru - lots o…
Old wooden house of Otaru - lots …
Old wooden house of Otaru - lots o…
Old wooden house of Otaru - lots …
The home of Itaya - a former shipp…
The home of Itaya - a former ship…
The home of Itaya - a former shipp…
The home of Itaya - a former ship…
The home of Itaya - a former shipp…
The home of Itaya - a former ship…
Small canal of Otaru
Small canal of Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Imaginary money inside the Bank of…
Imaginary money inside the Bank o…
Imaginary 100 million \\ inside the…
Imaginary 100 million inside the…
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Street lamps in Otaru
Street lamps in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Inside the Bank of Japan in Otaru
Matabei Endo residence
Matabei Endo residence
Catholic church of Otaru
Catholic church of Otaru
Writings outside the church in Ota…
Writings outside the church in Ot…
Otaru
photo by: tj1777