3 Cafes and Restaurants in Otaru Where You Can Fully Enjoy a Retro Atmosphere in Historical Buildings
One of the biggest charms of walking around Otaru is the various retro-chic restaurants and cafes built in renovated banks and warehouses from the Taisho era (1912 - 1926) to the mid-Showa period (1926 - 1989). There are many places with elegant facades and interior designs that keep arts and sciences dear, so you can enjoy imagining what it was like in the past. Here are some modern-classic restaurants that you're sure to find relaxing.
Taisho Glass Kuboya
Kuboya is on Sakaimachi-dori, and is a sweets shop that's perfect for stopping by when looking for souvenirs. The building was built as Kubo Shoten in 1907, so it has a 110-year long history. The interior is perfectly dim, so you'll feel like you've slipped through time. They also manage the veteran Taisho Glass-kan, a famous Otaru Japanese-style glass workshop, so you can check out the glass tableware made so that each piece has its own unique charms.
The Cream Anmitsu (800 JPY) is a popular dish. Anmitsu is a dessert made of agar jelly with fruit and anko (red bean) paste, and this dish combines the high-quality sweetness with soft-serve ice cream, so you can enjoy the delicious flavor while admiring the beauty of the bowl.
Another recommendation is the Otaru Bijin Wa Crepe (450 JPY). Inside the mochi (rice cake) is a paste made from apples from Yoichi, fruit pieces, and jam, so you can enjoy the refreshing flavor of apples.
Otaru Bine is a restaurant next to the Otaru post office by the Otaru Canal. The building was built in 1912 and used to be the main branch of Hokkaido Bank, and it was reformed into an impressive, wide hall-like structure. They have a wide menu, including various wines, pizza, and cheese fondue.
Yezo Venison Pizza (990 JPY) has a crispy crust and a fragrant flavor brought by the flaky venison from Yezo sika deer. It's not gamy, and comes with shimeji mushrooms for a great texture.
Pork Rillette with Melba Toast (700 JPY) goes great with wine. Please dip the crisp bread in the fragrant pork rillette.
Ironai Shokudo, near the Otaru Canal, is on the 2nd floor of the former Tsukamoto Shoten, a textiles shop that was built in 1920. It's a popular shop that offers delicious food for reasonable prices. Inside the shop are large speakers that play famous classical pieces, so you can relax and forget all about time here.
You can have their Cubed Steak Bento Box (990 JPY) using wagyu Japanese beef from Tokachi during lunch. The fact that it doesn't cost over 1,000 JPY with the ingredients they use is amazing! They also have the popular Ironai Bento Box (590 JPY), which has a selection from 30 kinds of side dishes using ingredients from Hokkaido.
The Japanese sweets like the Five Color Dango (390 JPY) are highly praised by regulars. It goes well with their nel drip coffee which is made from a blend of 5 different types of beans.
These shops are in renovated old buildings, so the walls and pillars still have the scars of the past. They are solid proof that people have used these buildings for close to 100 years. It's lovely to enjoy a retro atmosphere while imagining the past.
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 04.20.2017]
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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