Otaru is a city that suits art and where one can enjoy art.
Exhibits and stores the works of artists affiliated with Otaru.
On the first floor is the Zensaku Nakamura Memorial Hall, which introduces the works and materials of Zensaku Nakamura, one of Japan’s most famous landscape painters. On the second floor is the Special Exhibition Room where we mainly exhibit the works of artists affiliated with Otaru. On the third floor, there is the Arinori Ichihara Memorial Hall, which introduces the works and materials of Arinori Ichihara, one of Japan’s most famous printmakers.
Otaru Art Base, Where History and Art Reverberate
The Otaru Art Village was built in the first half of the 20th century during Otaru’s prosperity. In each of the four buildings, extraordinary Japanese and international art and craft works that distinguished their era are on public display. By allowing as many people as possible to view these works, the village aims to foster a rich and affectionate spirit and to communicate the excellence of culture and art to the world.
■Stained Glass Museum
(Former Takahashi Warehouse, Former Arata Trading Company)
Approximately 140 panes of stained glass that decorated the windows of churches in England created using traditional techniques
The former Takahashi Warehouse was built in 1923 by Naoji Takahashi, a wealthy merchant who was also famous as a politician, as a warehouse to store red beans.
The structure is called timber-framed masonry, where the inner frame is made of timber and the outer walls are made of stacked stones. This structure was often used for warehouses in Otaru, where fires were common, as it had high fire resistance.
The outer¬ walls are made of Otaru Soft Stones, quarried in the vicinity of Otaru.
The former Arata Trading Company, adjacent to the former Takahashi Warehouse, was built in 1935 as the main office of the shipping company, Takichi Arata Shoten. It is a wooden structure with a symmetrical front.
Although the building was renovated in later years, the window frames and other areas still retain their appearances of when they were first completed.
■Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch
Robust bank architecture with a solid design and projection mapping on the beautiful plaster-decorated ceiling
The Former Mitsui Bank Otaru Branch was designed by Sone Chujo Architectural Office, one of the leading architects in Japan at the time. Completed in 1927, it was the last city bank in Otaru and was operating until 2002.
The outer walls are made of granite from Kitagi Island, Okayama Prefecture, and the eaves are decorated with plant motifs.
The building is constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and used the most advanced earthquake-resistant structure at the time, taking lessons from the damage caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake.
In August 2019, French stained-glass windows of the traditional 13th-century style and gorgeous Art Nouveau lamps were also displayed.
■Nitori Museum of Art (Former Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Otaru Branch)
A collection for you to enjoy various domestic and international art in one place, including Japanese and Western paintings, sculptures, and woodcut prints by Taikan Yokoyama, Tsuguharu Fujita, and Koun Takamura.
The former Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, Otaru Branch was constructed by the Ministry of Finance, led by Kenkichi Yabashi, an architect and bureaucrat in the repair section, who was also involved in the construction of the National Diet Building. The building was completed in 1923.
It is a reinforced concrete structure, and the columns in the front and the colonnade in the conference room are breathtaking.
It is also known that Takiji Kobayashi, one of the most famous writers of proletarian literature, worked at the bank the year after the construction was completed.
Many bank buildings built in the same period continue to remain in the vicinity, signifying the vitality of the Otaru economy.
Louis C. Tiffany Stained Glass Gallery
(Nitori Museum of Art 1F)
A collection of stained glass created magnificently using innovative techniques by the flag bearer of American Art Nouveau.
Art Nouveau and Art Deco Glass Gallery
(Nitori Museum of Art B1F)
An elegant space featuring glass works, furniture, and sculptures by Galle, Dohm, and Lalique.
Travel to Venice While Being in Otaru
The museum recreates the medieval palace of Venice, the water city of Italy. It introduces the seasonal and glamorous life of the aristocracy using 3,000 panes of invaluable Venetian glass that bear a thousand-year history.
The gondola for state guests that Princess Diana actually rode in Venice is a must-see.
There is also a popular cafe and an area where you can enjoy taking photos in Italian dresses and enjoy the experience of an aristocrat.