Hakodate

Hakodate is Hokkaido’s third-largest city and best known for the spectacular views to be enjoyed from Mount Hakodate and its delicious, fresh seafood. As one of the first Japanese harbour cities to be opened to international trade after the country’s era of isolation, Hakodate has experienced notable influence from overseas, and the foreign population’s former residential district and a Western-style fort are among its main tourist attractions.

Group Attractions

  • Attractions
  • Dining
  • Experience
  • Omiyage

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Fort Goryokaku

Japan’s first Western-style fortress, Goryokaku is a massive, star-shaped, Western-style citadel, which was built in the last years of the Edo Period for the defence of Hakodate against the imperialist threat posed by the Western powers. After the fort had lost its military importance, it was eventually turned into a public park in the 1910s. Over one thousand cherry trees were planted along its moats, making it one of Hokkaido's best cherry blossom spots. The peak of the blooming season usually takes place around early May.

Activities: Photo stop, Viewing Fee: JPY 900 (Goryokaku Tower); JPY 500 Former Magistrate Office Time required: 45 minutes

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Mount Hakodate

Renowned for its sweeping panoramas of Hakodate and the surrounding bay, sea, and mountains, Mount Hakodate is 334 meters above sea level. The mountain summit can be reached by Mt. Hakodate Ropeway, or by bus, taxi, and other modes of transportation. Mt. Hakodate Ropeway can hold as many as 125 people at a time. There are no chairs on the ropeway so we recommend finding a spot near the windows to enjoy the view of Hakodate city. During the day, but especially after dark, the views from the Mt. Hakodate Observatory will take your breath away.

Activities: Ropeway, Photo stop Fee: JPY 1000 (one-way ropeway) Time required: 1 hour

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Hakodate Morning Market (Hakodate Asaichi)

Hakodate Asaichi is held daily from 5 am (from 6 am during winter) to noon, close to Hakodate Station. Spanning about four city blocks, products offered include various types of fresh seafood such as crabs (kani), salmon eggs (ikura) and sea urchin (uni), as well as fresh produce such as melons. Many restaurants can be found in the market area, offering fresh seafood breakfasts, such as uni-ikura domburi. This famous seafood dish is a bowl of steaming rice topped with fresh, raw seafood, and one of the most famed meals in Hokkaido. (Image via Hakodate Travel)

Activities: Shopping, Eating Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

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Motomachi

The harbour of Hakodate was one of the first to be opened to foreign trade in 1854 after Japan's era of isolation had come to an end. As a result, many traders from Russia, China and Western countries moved to Hakodate. Motomachi, at the foot of Mount Hakodate, became a district favoured among the new foreign residents. It resulted in the picturesque and Western-influenced streets of this port. Popular places to visit include the Old Public Hall, which has wonderful views of the bay from its balcony, the Hakodate Chinese Memorial Hall, and the Old British Consulate, where you can stop for afternoon tea. Activities: Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes

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Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse

The atmospheric Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse is a commercial complex consisting of four facilities. Hakodate Port was among the first Japanese ports to be opened to international trade towards the end of the Edo Period (1600-1867) and the surviving red brick warehouses from past trading days have recently been redeveloped into an entertainment complex featuring a typical range of trendy souvenir, fashion, interior and sweets shops as well as a restaurant, a beer hall, a chapel for weddings.

Activities: Photo stop, Shopping Fee: None Time required: 1 hour

Nearby Areas

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A five-minute walk from Hakodate Station is Daimon Yokocho, Hakodate’s only food stall village. This street is filled with 26 food stalls, izakaya, and sushi restaurants that serve fresh seafood. There are also ramen shops, restaurants where you can enjoy jingisukan (grilled mutton) or oden (ingredients stewed in a dashi soup), and bars.

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Matsumae is Hokkaido’s only former castle town. It is the northernmost traditional castle in Japan and lies outside of Hakodate City. During the Edo period, it marked the northern border of Japan’s territory and therefore holds great historical significance. Located in a park, visitors can usually enter the castle for a modest fee and see a small exhibit inside.

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