Have you ever heard Hakodate in Hokkaido－ Hakodate is the city located in the southern part of Hokkaido and one of the famous sightseeing cities in the world and was selected as the most attractive city in Japan. I want to introduce you where you should go when you visit Hakodate.
No.16 RIDING A HAKODATE TRAM
If you are interested in vehicle, it may be nice to ride a tram that has been a citizen’s mean of transportation for long time. There is an antique tram that may give you a time-slipped feeling to old Hakodate. It takes you to major sightseeing spots in Hakodate including western district, Goryokaku and Yunokawa.
Probably you understood how Hakodate is a fascinating place to visit for sightseeing, relaxing and eating gourmet food. It is guaranteed that you will be satisfied with staying in Hakodate.
No.15 LUCKY PIERROT
Lucky Pierrot is unique hamburger shop expanding to 17 shops only in Hakodate and neighboring city and towns. Each shop has a theme, such as Santa Clause, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, Gustav Klimt’s arts, Botticelli’s arts, songs in the 1950’s and old movies and inside of the shop is filled with posters and goods, even the background music in accordance with the theme. You can enjoy the atmosphere as well as the tastes of course.
They serve not only hamburgers including unique fillings, but also pasta, curry and rice, omelet rice, and pork cutlet bowl. Their sweets also taste as good as the ones in cake shops. The shop is confident with the quality of their food since they mainly use the materials produced locally. Once you taste the food there, you will see the reason why the shop is so much loved among local people and tourists. In addition, they have their original goods with the shop’s symbol mark, a clown and many tourists purchase goods as souvenir. The shops are located in Bay Area, Goryokaku, near the station, and other areas.
Hours: 10:00am － 12:30am in principle (Depending on shop) Website: Lucky Pierrot (JP only)
No.14 MIHARASHI PARK
Miharashi Park, which is also known as “Kosetsuen” is a vast garden with 150 different kinds of trees. Iwafune Family, a wealthy merchant in Hakodate, made the garden and villa in 1890’s. Greenhouse made of bricks, a cottage with teahouse style, and athletic playground equipment for children will never make people bored.
The changing colors of the garden feast your eyes at every season; pink of cherry blossoms in spring, fresh green leaves in summer, red and yellow leaves in autumn and pure white of snow in winter. The garden is illuminated in late October and the scenery takes you to the fantastic world.
Address: 56 Miharashi, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-57-7210 Fees: Free Hours: 9:00am － 5:00pm for facilities
No.13 YUNOKAWA ONSEN AREA
There are many hot springs in Hakodate. Yunokawa is the hot springs resort area in Hakodate which is about 5-minute drive from Hakodate Airport. Most of hotels in Yunokawa Onsen area have their own hot spa and some of them are facing the sea. The scenery of the sea looking from the open air bath is superb, especially at summer nights illuminated by the lights of squid-fishing ships. There is a hotel which has guest rooms equipped with an open air bath. If you do not have enough time to take a bath, you can go to a free 24-hour hot spring for your feet.
In addition, you can see even monkeys enjoy taking a bath in Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden (“Hakodate Nettai Shokubutsuen” in Japanese) in winter time. Their behavior just like human is cute and funny and you cannot help smiling.
Tel: +81-138-57-8988 Website: Yunokawa (JP only)
No.12 HAKODATE MAGISTRATE’S OFFICE
The replica of Hakodate Magistrate’s Office was reconstructed in the fort, which was built with the technique of Japanese traditional architecture. You can learn the history of Goryokaku and the magistrate’s office and how to construct the building.
Address: 44-3 Goryokaku, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-51-2864 Fees: 500 yen/adult, 250yen/child, Free for preschool-child Hours: 9:00am － 6:00pm from Apr to Oct 9:00am － 5:00pm from Nov to Mar *Here is closed from Dec 31 to Jan 3. Website: Hakodate Magistrate’s Office (JP)
Goryokaku, the star-shaped fort, is the place of the last civil war in Japan. It is about 20 minutes from Hakodate Station by a tram and another popular sightseeing spot in Hakodate.
It is really nice to visit in spring when the fort is beautifully colored in pink by cherry blossoms and in winter when the surrounding of the fort is illuminated during the period called as “Dream of Stars” (Japanese:Hoshi no Yume). From the tower built in the park, you can view entire star-shaped fort and the city.
Almost every weekend nights for a month from the beginning of July, Open-Air Theater Hakodate (Japanese: Yagaigeki) that is historic entertainment play made by about 500 volunteers in Hakodate City is held. Anyone who wants to join the play can participate in. After consulting to the staff members, you will have a simple lecture and wear the costume to join the play. It could be a good memory of your travel.
Address: 43-9 Goryokaku, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-51-4785 Fees: 840 yen/adult, 630yen/high school and junior high school student, 420yen/child, free of charge for preschool-child Hours: 8:00am － 7:00pm from Apr 21 to Oct 20 9:00am － 6:00pm from Oct 21 to Apr 20 9:00am － 7:00pm during the period of “Hoshi no Yume Event” in winter 6:00am － 7:00pm on New Year’s Day Website: Hakodate Goryokaku
No.10 HAKODATE MORNING MARKET
Most of tourists visiting Hakodate aim at enjoying delicious local food. As being surrounded by the seas, Hakodate is famous for its fresh and tasty seafood and squid is a specialty of Hakodate especially. Moreover, Tuna caught in the Tsugaru Strait between Hokkaido Island and Honshu Island, is also famous with its high quality red meat. Other seafood is also tasty because fish has plenty of fat to live in the cold water of the Tsugaru Strait. You should try seafood cuisine including Sushi used those seafood in Hakodate.
You can enjoy squid fishing at fishing pond set at the Hakodate Morning Market and the squid can be eaten right after fishing. It is exciting to fish a squid that sometimes spews ink to protect and surprising to see a chef’s kitchen knife handling to fillet the squid expertly.
As you may know, Hokkaido is also famous for agricultural and dairy products. Vegetables such as corns, potatoes and asparaguses, fruits such as apples are tasty, too. If you like sweets, you cannot miss cakes and ice creams there.
There are many seafood shops, souvenir shops and restaurants in the Hakodate Morning Market, so it must be fun to look around.
Address: 9-19 Wakamatsu, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-22-7981 Hours: 6:00am － 12:00pm from Jan to Apr 5:00am － 12:00pm from May to Dec Website: Hakodate Morning Market (JP only)
Certainly, you cannot miss the one of the world’s top night views seen from Mt. Hakodate. Fan-shaped land illuminated by the lights of buildings makes fantastic scenery just like gems in a jewelry box.
You can ride on ropeway to reach the summit of Mt. Hakodate, the best location in 3 minutes.
Address: 19-7 Motomachi Hakodate Tel: +81-138-27-5530 Fare: 1280 yen/Adult for round trip (780 yen/one way) 640 yen/Child for round trip(390 yen/one way) *Children up to 2-year old are free of charge. Hours: 10:00am － 10:00pm from Apr 25 to Oct 15 10:00am － 9:00pm from Oct 16 to Apr 24. Website: Mt. Hakodate
No.8 HAKODATE MEIJIKAN
The Old Hakodate Post Office, which is called “Hakodate Meijikan” was built in 1911 and used as post office for long time. The historical building was renovated as a popular shopping mall where you can buy as souvenirs. You can also experience handiwork of music box in 2,625 － 3,150 yen. It could be a precious memory and could be the great souvenir if you make a music box with your music of memories.
Address: 12-12 Toyokawa, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-27-7070 Hours: 10:00am － 6:00pm Website: Hakodate Meijikan (JP only)
No.7 KANEMORI RED BRICK WAREHOUSES
The Red Brick Warehouses are symbolic buildings in bay area. The warehouse had been actually used for international trade and currently used as restaurants, general goods stores and souvenir shops. During the period of “Hakodate Christmas Fantasy” in December, a large Christmas tree given from Halifax City, Canada, a sister city of Hakodate, with some ornaments and illuminations is set on the sea. The fireworks and concerts make you excite.
It is great to take a walk with seeing those historical sites, participating events and go shopping in the area.
You can enjoy an excursion cruise of Hakodate Bay at day and night from the middle of April to the beginning of November. The excursion boat, Blue Moon is really nice especially in summer as you can feel comfortable sea breeze. Then, the cruise at night is bly recommended for couples to see the romantic sunset and night view from the sea.
In addition, the Hakodate Port Festival (Japanese: Hakodate Minato Matsuri) is annually held from August 1 to 5. There are a log of events including parades that citizens and tourists dance along the street on August 2 and 3.
The most popular event in the festival is the fireworks on August 1. Bay area is crowded with many people siting standing to watch spectacular fireworks show as the fireworks set off from the area.
Address: 14-12 Suehiro Hakoda Tel: +81-138-27-5530 Hours: 9:30am － 7:00pm Website: Hakodate Kanemori
No.6 FORMER BRITISH CONSULATE OF HAKODATE
The British Consulate was established when Hakodate opened the port in 1859. After being used as the consulate by 1934, it was renovated and opened to public as the memorial museum of the port opening in 1992.
It is famous for its beautiful rose garden, so some couples hold wedding ceremonies in the romantic spot. You can have a cup of tea at the elegant room furnished with antique furniture.
Address: 33-14 Motomachi, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-27-8159 Fees: 300 yen Hours: 9:00am － 7:00pm from Apr to Oct 31 9:00am － 5:00pm from Nov to Mar 31 Website: Hakodate kankou
No.5 HIGASHI HONGANJI TEMPLE, HAKODATE BETSUIN
Higashi Honganji Temple, Hakodate Betsuin is the first building made of concrete in Japan and designated as National Important Cultural Property. Its massive structure building and black and shiny tiled roof is magnificent.
Address: 16-15 Motomachi, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-22-0134 Fees: Free
No.4 HAKODATE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Hakodate Episcopal Church is the oldest church in Hokkaido with unique roof shaped like a cross that you see from above when you ride on ropeway. You can only see the exterior of the church basically, but you will have a chance to enter the inside when concerts with a pipe organ are held.
Address: 3-23 Motomachi, Hakodat Tel: +81-138-23-5584
No.3 MOTOMACHI ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Motomachi Roman Catholic Church is the Gothic style church with the rooster on the spire and one of the major churches in Hakodate as well as Hakodate Orthodox Church and Hakodate Episcopal Church.
Address: 15-30 Motomachi, Hakodate Tel: +81-138-22-6877 Fees: Free Hours: 10:00am － 4:00pm from Monday to Friday 1:00pm － 4:00pm on Saturday and Sunday
No.2 HAKODATE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Hakodate Orthodox Church, which is famous for its sounds of bells and symbolic exterior of the white building with light green beautiful roofs. The bells of church may make you feel nostalgic.
Address: 3-13 Motomachi, Hakodat Tel: +81-138-23-7387 Fees: 200 yen Hours: 10:00am － 5:00pm from Monday to Friday 10:00am － 4:00pm on Saturday 1:00pm － 4:00pm on Sunday *It is closed from Dec 26 to the middle of March, but opened some exceptional days. Website: Hakodate Orthodox Church (JP only)
No.1 OLD PUBLIC HALL OF HAKODATE
Hakodate is the first international trading ports in Japan as well as Yokohama and Nagasaki. Therefore, it developed a unique culture by mixing Japanese and foreign cultures as found in architectural design of buildings. There are a lot of beautiful old buildings including churches and houses in western district especially in Motomachi area.
Old Hakodate Public Hall was built in 1910. The building was used as an accommodation of the emperor in 1911 and it has gorgeous guest rooms and a large hall. It is located on the head of the slope named “Motoizaka” and known as a landmark of Motomachi Area.
You can try on old fashioned dresses in the building and take pictures in a feeling to take part in a ball of upper classes in old Japan.
Tel: +81-138-22-1001 Fees: yen/adult, 150yen/child, free for preschool-child Hours: 9:00am － 7:00pm from April to October 9:00am － 5:00pm from November to March * Every Tuesday is basically closed from September to April. Website: Hakodate Zaidan (JP Only)