Otaru City General Museum (Railway)
Otaru City General Museum at Temiya is a local museum focused on the railway history of Otaru and the former Temiya Line. My first stop in Otaru would definitely be this.
The façade of Otaru City General Museum. From JR Otaru Station, I took Hokkaido Chuo Bus 10 to access Otaru City General Museum.
The concourse area of Otaru City General Museum before entering the ticketed area.
Otaru City General Museum Tickets
Tickets can be purchased from the ticket counter towards the entrance to the exhibition area.
Tickets for the Otaru City General Museum (Railway) cost 400 yen, or 500 yen for a combination ticket that includes the Otaru City General Museum Canal Museum.
With just 100 yen difference, I bought the Otaru City General Museum combination ticket which includes the railway and canal museums.
Otaru City General Museum Exhibition Area
The centerpiece of the museum is the Japanese Government Railways (JGR) Class 7100 No.7106 “Shizuka” steam locomotive built by H. K. Porter, Inc, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which was first used in Hokkaido.
Access to the cab was restricted, though I could still stand on the steps leading to it.
Information on the JGR Class 7100 No.7106 “Shizuka” steam locomotive is displayed in front of the footplate.
The cab view of the JGR Class 7100 No.7106 “Shizuka” steam locomotive.
The tender of the JGR Class 7100 No.7106 “Shizuka” steam locomotive.
There is a Type I1 First Class passenger car displayed behind, manufactured by Hokkaido Tanko Tetsudo Kaisha.
Access inside the Type I1 First Class passenger car was also limited.
Nevertheless, this allowed a good view of the interior of the Type I1 First Class passenger car without any visitors inside.
Information on the Type I1 First Class passenger car is displayed at he side of the car entrance.
There is a display of the types of rails used in Hokkaido, notably not made in Japan, as Japanese technology to manufacture rails was not developed yet in 1866. How times have changed.
The first Japan-manufactured rail was made in 1901. A piece of rail manufactured in Otaru in 1922 is on display here.
There is also a display of railway signalling and signs.
Unfortunately, the hands-on display was not working.
A display of uniforms used by the railway in Otaru.
Heading on to more static displays.
A display shows the development of the railway lines within Otaru from 1875 till today.
A small sample of the lines showed on the 3D screen with the topology of Otaru.
A diorama of the former Temiya Line and Temiya Station follows.
The Temiya Line was a freight line between Minami-Otaru Station and Temiya Station, closed in 1985. The Temiya Line was originally constructed as a part of the Horonai Railway which was the first railway in Hokkaido, which began operations in 1880.
A display of various private railway lines in Hokkaido follows.
Preserved locomotive number plates, train services, and tickets are also on display.
There is also a display of the Temiya Elevated Pier.
The Temiya Elevated Pier was built for easy transfer of coal from trains to ships.
Much of the operation of the coal transfer from train to ship was done by gravity including the dropping of coal and individual shunting of empty wagons.
A retro video of how the Temiya Elevated Pier works is shown on a retro TV above the display.
A diorama of the trial run between Temiya and Kumausu Tunnel in 1880.
A diorama of how railways are built in Hokkaido with mountainous terrains.
Old maps of Hokkaido are also displayed.
Working timetables using a line diagram are also displayed.
Models of snowplows are displayed to show how Hokkaido dealt with snow before.
The museum continues on the 2nd floor.
Unfortunately, there’s not much railway-related displays on the 2nd floor.
In fact, it felt more like a community science centre.
The view of the JGR Class 7100 No.7106 “Shizuka” steam locomotive from the 2nd floor.
Heading out of the exhibition area.
Otaru City General Museum Shop
There is a museum shop near the exit of the museum for railway-related merchandise.
Otaru City General Museum Railway Park
The rain and snow had stopped when I exited from the museum.
However, the railway park was closed already for the winter season. The trains have also been wrapped up in preparation for snow to hit.
Otaru City General Museum Railway Restaurant • Harunochihare Restaurant 『ハルのち晴れ。』
There was a restaurant in a train car outside the museum, so that’s definitely where I went for lunch.
Following lunch, I walked over to the former Temiya Line to begin my walk to Otaru City General Museum Canal Museum.
Otaru City General Museum Railway Park
Along the way, the trains in the locomotive park can still be seen. This is probably before they were wrapped up for the winter.
The best spotting point would be the car park at AEON MaxValu Temiya.
JNR Class DE10 diesel locomotive DE10 503 at the railway park.
Most of the trains have already been wrapped up for winter.
The platform of former Temiya Station.
The former Otaru Chikko Locomotive Depot Turntable (Temiyaguchi Turntable) in the railway park.
Otaru City General Museum Spring, Summer & Autumn Entrance
During non-winter seasons, the entrance to Otaru City General Museum is via the locomotive park.
This entrance is closed from 4 November 2022 to 31 March 2023.
The Otaru City General Museum focuses a lot on the history of railways in Otaru and Hokkaido including the former Temiya Line, but with the closure of the railway park during winter, a lot of actual trains could not be seen, which was unfortunate. Perhaps a re-visit to Otaru City General Museum is in store the next time I visit Hokkaido, whenever that is.