【Hokkaido】 Otaru and the world famous “Music Box” museum2015.06.29


The historic trading port town of Otaru is located on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, has a world famous music box museum that hosts many visitors from all over the world. After the port opened in 1899, western music, influence, instruments and music boxes, were introduced into the city. Western travelers and sailors came to Otaru, bringing their music contained in small delicate music boxes that played sentimental tunes to remind them of their far away families or loved ones. City artisans then began producing music boxes, which became popular for their melodies and as treasured household pieces.

The landmark, Otaru museum is considered the world’s best display of music boxes. The museum showcases more than 3,000 animated and automatic music boxes. The music box museum is one of many musical museums found in this historic town. There are several museums located on “Sakamachi” street, which display a wide variety of antique music boxes. If you want to make your own music box, one of the museums offers a hands-on experience. Furthermore, there is the town’s Aeolian pipe organ that plays mini concerts 6 times a day.

Today,  bygone era, the historical buildings and canals are remained in Otaru. Many old warehouses and former office buildings are built by shipping, and trade companies give a special character reminiscent of past decades at the center of Otaru city. One of those old building is a museum, built in 1912 reflecting a nostalgic atmosphere and houses steam clocks.

The sights, museums and quaint shopping arcades bring the visitors into the nostalgic place.

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