Otaru is one of the loveliest little towns I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It’s a coastal town on the western side Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost island), and it used to be the island’s financial centre because of its role in shipping and trade with other countries. Maybe it was just because it was winter, but it seemed like a sleepy little town when we visited (I mean that in the nicest, most affectionate way).
Since the main purpose of our trip to Otaru was to see the Snow Light Path, I hadn’t really researched much about the town, and about other things to see and do there (also I didn’t have that much time for extensive research before the trip). But I generally don’t have trouble finding interesting things, and keeping myself entertained when I’m in a new town/city, so I figured it’d be fine. Besides, one of the friends I was going with had already done some research into it. As it turned out, we were sufficiently preoccupied during the day.
Anyway, the real point is that I didn’t really have expectations of what the town was going to be like. And although, even at this early-ish point in the trip, we’d already found some pretty impressive doors in Japan, I don’t think I’d expected to find so many more wonderful doors in a small town like Otaru.
After lunch (and dessert), we wandered down some random streets, and ended up in this little mall/arcade thing. It was somewhere here that we found this dental clinic:
Ok, I’ll admit the doors aren’t so flashy here (but still neat in their way, right?) but all of the stuff in the windows really caught my attention. Doesn’t it look like a pleasant dental clinic? Keep in mind it was early February when we visited – and there’s still a Christmas tree in the corner (right-hand side of photo).
These next doors aren’t overly elaborate either, but they lead into a lovely little shop, which sells the pea cookies I mentioned in a previous post (same link as the one above). Besides, I like all the calligraphy on it (even if I can’t read most of it).
Eventually we ended up in Otaru Denuki-koji – a little haven for food, and some lovely doors too! This is the little side entrance we stumbled upon:
And some typical wooden Japanese shop doors (doors like these were very common, but that didn’t make me like them any less)
Not too far from here, we found the Bank of Japan Otaru Museum, and its rather striking doors:
And these doors from a similar building nearby (I think it was another museum). I reckon the rounded details and flowers make it seem less austere than the one above.
Maybe this one (below) was the proper entrance to the museum (?) Either way, don’t think I’ve seen a timber/glass revolving door before – they’re usually glass and metal, and usually in corporate or retail buildings.
I’m gonna have to end on this one because this is a lot of photos compared to my usual posts. So much of Japan is simple elegance like this:
There will be another Otaru doors post to come (with a couple of my personal favourites from the trip!) but until then, you can check out more Thursday Doors posts via Norm’s blog: Thursday Doors is run by Norm. Please visit his site to find links to other participating blogs (or to add yours to the list if you want to join in!)