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Hokkaido | Otaru

Kitaichi Garasukan

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Kitaichi Garasukan

Otaru is known as a port town, but the glassware that developed in the city gave it more notoriety. During the time people were settling in Hokkaido, the Asahara Glassworks Company first established themselves in 1901. They mainly manufactured oil lamps until the great fishing period where there was an abundance of herring. Their focus switched to making glass balls, bindama, as buoys for fishermen. The glass balls would be filled with air for buoyancy, and then the fishermen would wrap them in a net and hang another set on them to catch fish. Business was thriving until the 1950s when the herring fishing period came to an end.

In 1971, the Asahara Glassworks Company changed their name to Kitaichi Garasu, Kitaichi Glass. Under the Kitaichi Glass group they have two stores and a museum. The most known store is located in Sakaimachi Street and the name is Kitaichi Sangokan, Kitaichi Glass Emporium No.3. The store uses part of a warehouse that was built during the time Otaru was thriving as a commercial seaport. Inside on the first floor are various glass products ranging from lamps to utensils. Then on the second floor is a tea room that is only lit with 167 glass lamps from around the world. The illuminated room provides romantic atmosphere with the feeling of it being a fantasy.



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