Hakodate – Hokkaido


Hakodate and Southern Hokkaido
Retro Western influences, succulent seafood, inland beauty and spectacular night views

Retro Western influences, succulent seafood, inland beauty and spectacular night views
The picturesque town of Hakodate is renowned for its fresh seafood and spectacular views, while its location at the southern end of Hokkaido is perfect as a base for exploring the lush natural surroundings.

Don’t miss
Shopping in the historic Motomachi district
A view of the city’s twinkling lights from Mount Hakodate
A relaxing walk in Onuma Park and on Onuma Lake

Getting there
Hakodate can be reached by air, rail, road and sea.
You can fly directly to Hakodate from major Japanese airports, including domestic airports in Hokkaido, such as Chitose, Okadama, Asahikawa and Monbetsu.
The JR Tohoku/Hokkaido shinkansen connects Tokyo with Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in four hours. Take a local train from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station for the last leg of the journey to Hakodate. From Sapporo in Hokkaido, JR express or local trains depart for Hakodate. All routes are covered by the JR Rail Pass.
Alternatively, you can take a Chuo bus from Sapporo station. If you are looking for a scenic option, regular ferry services are available between Hakodate and Aomori across the Tsugaru Strait. The journey can take up to four hours.

A well-preserved frontier spirit
Although Hakodate has been inhabited since the Jomon period and later by the Ainu, its modern face emerged during the 19th century, when Japan reopened to the world. The historic Motomachi district is home to many buildings dating from this period.
Stroll through Hakodate’s past and visit the Red Brick Warehouse complex in Kanemori, which has become one of the city’s favourite shopping and dining destinations.

Visit the morning fish market
Hakodate is one of Hokkaido’s main fishing ports. To see the day’s catch, visit the morning market at Hakodate Station, where you will find seafood and other products.
See fresh salmon roe, sea urchins, crabs and other delicacies from the sea before sampling them at one of the many restaurants in the market. The local speciality is rice donburi with seafood.
Not just seafood
Besides seafood, Hakodate offers dishes for all tastes, from ramen to tempura to burgers. Don’t miss the city’s burger chain, Lucky Pierrot. The chain has more than twelve locations, each one artistically decorated in its own distinctive style.

Glittering landscapes
At night, Hakodate glows with lights. For the best views, you have two options: Mount Hakodate or Goryokaku Tower. From both locations you can admire the city in all its luminous beauty.

Hakodate, Japan at Fort Goryokaku in winter.

Glittering landscapes
At night, Hakodate glows with lights. For the best views, you have two options: Hakodate Mountain or Goryokaku Tower . From both locations you can admire the city in all its luminous beauty.

The colourful alpine flora of Mount Esan
Another destination to consider is Mount Esan, two hours east of Hakodate by bus. Mount Esan is an active volcano renowned for its wealth of alpine plants. Don’t miss the Azalea Festival in early summer when the slopes of the mountain are dyed red.
Bathe in wine-coloured springs or with a sea view
Another reason to visit the Mount Esan area is the chance to relax in an unusual, rejuvenating thermal spring. The naturally burgundy waters of Esan Onsen have been attracting visitors since the 19th century.
On the coast, the Mizunashi Kaihin Hot Spring allows you to dive right in front of the sea. You’ll have to choose a good time to visit, as swimming is only possible when the tide is low.

Venture beyond the borders
Hakodate is a great starting point for exploring southern Hokkaido. Head for the wide open spaces of Onuma Park, with its lakes dotted with small islands. Consider a trip to Esashi, a picturesque fishing port with many historic buildings, or a visit to the castle town of Matsumae .
If you have time, take a ferry to the beautiful island of Okushiri, covered with pastures and beech forests, for a taste of island life.


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