Otaru Museum comprises the Railway Museum (the main building) and the Canal Building.
The main building called the Railway Building is located in the area called Temiya, from where the Hokkaido's railway history has started. The breathtaking part is the railway-related exhibition: A walk through the entrance hall will take you to meet with Shizuka (JGR No.7106, build 1884), one of the oldest tank engine that played a significant role in the early stage of the Hokkaido's railway history. You can actually step inside and see the interior, too. The outdoor exhibition has a fine collection of the railway cars including the snowploughs. During the winter season, the outdoor exhibition is closed. So avoid winter and visit there in other seasons. Another attraction would be the ride on the Iron Horse (H. K. Porter No.4514, build 1909), which played an active role in North America.
In addition to the railway exhibition, other facilities also include the Science Exhibition Room and the Dorm Theater.
The day I visited the museum was on a weekend and it was packed with a bunch of families having lots of fun out there. I would say this is a great museum not only for those natural-born railway lovers but also for the others who are not so into it. I am saying this because anyone who visits this museum can become a child again recalling the old days with great fun. In fact I was not a big fan of railways, but just a thought of this classic tank engine sitting right in front of me used to be running through the middle of the wilderness in Hokkaido back in old days for real got me thrilled. At the souvenir shop by the entrance hall, you could also buy the railway goods. On the entrance side of the Railway Museum (the main building), the famous railway ristorante called Toreno serves a savoury Italian dishes. Eating at this ristorante after having spent good amount of time in the museum gazing at those great pieces, it made me feel as though I was in the real dinning car. Those dishes were excellent!
A 20-minute-walk from the Railway Musteum will take you to the Canal Building. This facility used to be the former Otaru warehouse built back in 1893. This is great because you can learn about the history of Otaru and its nature. I was very happy to spend the quality time having learned things I did not know about the city and the history of Hokkaido's railway.
Address: 1-3-6 Temiya, Otaru, Hokkaido
Tel: 0134-33-2523 Fax: 0134-33-2678
9:30～17:00(with main building, canal building)
Closed day of main building: On Tuesday (in the case of holiday the next day)
Canal building is without holiday
Free of charge lower than junior high student
Main building: One 200 yen (winter season 150 yen) resident in general 400 yen (winter season 300 yen),
high school student, the city 70 years or older
Canal building: One 150 yen resident in general 300 yen, high school student, the city 70 years or older