While visiting the city of Sapporo, our adventurous reporter Mr. Sato stumbled upon this bizarre looking complex called the Retro Space Saka Hall. The whole place looked incredibly sketchy, but that was right up his alley.

Little did he know, however, that this dingy-looking industrial complex nestled in snow would almost move him to tears.

The facility is located just a few minutes from Nijuyon-Ken Station on the Sapporo subway line. Just walking past it you’d be forgiven for not noticing its existence. The building is clearly used as a Saka Biscuit factory – the company known for their Salt Fry A Letter alphabet-shaped biscuits, among other treats.

It would seem that less space was needed to make these crackers because a large portion of the building had been converted into the Retro Space Saka Hall as you can barely see spray-painted in between the original sign poking out from behind the tree.

However, rounding the corner Mr. Sato was greeted by a rather ominous looking entryway and line-up of mannequins in underwear on the second floor window. It would seem that the signs wore clocks so that he may know the time.


Inside was like the home of an anal-retentive hoarder. Items were everywhere and sometimes they seemed to have been neatly arranged into sections and yet at the same time there appeared to be no sense of order at all. Apparently these items were collected by the Saka Biscuit company’s president over many, many years.

Mr. Sato wouldn’t really call this a museum or even a gallery, because these items didn’t seem to have any particular meaning or value. In one box lay a few dozen syringes and in another were 20 or so matchbooks. Although they were probably worthless each one had a unique design.

Bit by bit though, it all started to reveal itself to Mr. Sato. The more he walked through this mess of organized nostalgic chaos the more the cultural fabric of Japan’s past seemed to come to life. The syringes themselves didn’t have meaning but they were a part of a bigger experience giving Mr. Sato all the sights and smells of another era.

The most shocking part of Retro Space for our reporter was the vast array of magazines. Actually there were only two kinds: a monthly comic called Boken O (Adventure King) and an entertainment magazine called Heibon (Mediocrity). Seeing all those hand painted starlets on the covers of Mediocrity staring right at him in unison became increasingly jarring. One issue of the entertainment rag even boasted “100 famous people’s addresses.”

You probably couldn’t get away with that nowadays, but Mr. Sato realized that back then mail was the only way for fans to contact their favorite stars.

The most touching part of Retro Space Saka Hall was the collection of old aluminum lunch boxes and pencil cases. Mr. Sato looked over them, all featuring cartoon characters, athletes and children’s entertainers who have long since gone.

Suddenly, he felt a tightening in his chest and a lump began to form in his throat. He couldn’t even understand why but he began to have to fight back tears. It was as if the lunch boxes were raising some long forgotten emotions or memory that he had repressed and still couldn’t bear to recall.

It was intense and Mr. Sato wasn’t quite ready to face whatever it was at that time. Instead, he perused the countless other items on display and took plenty of photos which you can enjoy in the slideshows below.

For anyone visiting Hokkaido and of course for those who live there, Retro Space Saka Hall is well worth a visit. Mr. Sato isn’t quite sure why it exists, but it struck a chord with him and for that he’s really glad that it does.

Retro Space Saka Kaikan
3-22-7, 3 Nijuyon-Ken, Nishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Hours: 11:00am to 6:30pm
Closed holidays and some Saturdays

Original report by Mr. Sato
Photos © RocketNews24

▼ Slideshow #1: Syringes, monocles, and tonics

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

▼ Slideshow #2: Cigarette packs without health warnings, racist figurines, and pencil cases

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

▼ Slideshow #3: Rotary telephones, liquor bottles dressed up like people, and creepy magazines

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[ Read in Japanese ]