Kitaichi Glass

Kitaichi Glass

Travel Guide

Kitaichi Glass is a long-established handmade glassware shop. Kitaichi Glass consists of 18 shopping stores and each store has its featured products. It also has a workshop where the manufacturing process can be observed and visitors can experience glass creation. The one that represents Kitaichi Glass the best among its stores is the Kitaichi Glass 3gokan (Sangokan in Japanese, literally third house) which also is the center of glasswork of Otaru City.

Kitaichi Glass 3gokan uses a part of the sales warehouse built when Otaru prospered as a commercial seaport in the mid-Meiji to Taisho eras. It is a stone warehouse with timber frames built in 1891. Now, there is a variety of glass products including eating utensils (plates, glasses, etc.), cups, windows, vases, glass accessories as well as stained glass lamps of high quality from all over the world that are exhibited and sold.

3gokan has three different sales floors, YO WA COUNTRY and a fantastic cafe, Kitaichi Hall. At YO, there are Western taste products based on local culture. At WA, there are graceful products for Japanese traditional life. At COUNTRY, there are homely taste products based on local tradition. Kitaichi Hall is a café room where 167 lamps light up the entire space, filling it with a very fantastic mood.

Otaru City is well known for the glass manufacturing so glassware is one of the main tourist attractions of the city. This began with the production of kerosene lamps and floating balls used in herring fishery (an industry that brought the city its prosperity during the Meiji and Taisho eras). Today, there are many stores selling glassware in Otaru. Among them, the one with the oldest history is Kitaichi Glass which was founded in 1901.

Kitaichi Glass used to manufacture oil lamps before the electricity came into use, and then moved into making the glass buoys for fishing during the great fishing period of the city. With the changes in lifestyle, the company has come to make products to enrich our lives.


Travel Advice


- Inside Kitaichi Hall, a total of 167 oil lamps are displayed in chandeliers, on the tables, and along the walls. Every morning at 8:45 each lamp is lit by hand to prepare for the day. Anyone interested in watching this lighting process can join for free.

Every morning, using only indirect sunlight reflected on the walls, the lighting process begins. It takes only 15 minutes to light the 167 lamps used in the room. Once the chandeliers are lit the indirect light is removed from the room and the lamps are all that remain.

During the lighting process, the staff makes sure to tell you when they plan on lifting the chandeliers into place, so you're sure to get a good look. Before lifting they allow tourists to get up close and see the chandeliers in detail.

The chandeliers are actually lifted quite a distance, they sway slowly the entire time they are raised. Many of the children watching were amazed for another reason, often muttering Wow! It's just like Harry Potter!

Because the lamps use oil, they do emit a peculiar smell. But for many it is a bit nostalgic.

The lighting is soft, gentle on the eyes, as opposed to electric or candle lighting. This gives the room a calming atmosphere.

If you have the chance to stop by Kitaichi Glass, be sure to visit this hall at 8:45! After viewing the lighting ceremony you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the soft lamplight.

- Almost of the stores of Kitaichi Glass are closed at 6:00pm. If visitors want to spend more time here, it is recommended that visitors visit Kitaichi Glass earlier.

- Only half day will be enough to just go around main spots in Otaru such as Otaru Canal, Kitaichi Glass and Otaru Orgel Doh.

- The Kitaichi Hall provides cream puffs which is 15 cm in diameter. If you like cream puffs, the jumbo cream puff is worth try.

- The terrace in Kitaichi Glass 3gokan serves six-layered soft ice cream. More surprisingly, they serve 12-layered soft ice cream during the winter season. Maybe it is too much, but funny.

Hands-on experience

Kitaichi Glass provides the work-shop of glass sculpture, mobile phone straps making, the process of making a blown-glass piece with a blowpipe or a small ornament from rods in a flame observation, and the photo with rental carnival costume.

No reservation is needed but if you want to make reservasaion please contact at Tel 0134-33-1991,fax 0134-29-0691,E-mail



Address 7-26 Sakaimachi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido
Phone 0134-33-1993
Admission Depend on shops  
Hours Depend on shops  
Closed Depend on shops
Duration Depend on shops
Getting There By Train
10 minute walk from JR Mimaniotaru Station.
20 minute walk from JR Otaru Station.

By Car
Take Sasson Expressway to the Otaru exit. It is approximately 2 kilometers 5 minutes from exit.
Parking Paid parking available

Attractions in Japan