We stayed in Hakodate Kokusai Hotel for two nights. It’s 700m away from the JR station (8 mins walk). If you’re arriving from the JR station, take the West Exit and walk towards Kaiko Street. You’ll pass the Hakodate Morning Market before arriving at the hotel. The nearest tram stop is Shiyakusho-mae (5 mins walk), and from there you can visit attractions like Old Fort Goryokaku and Mount Hakodate Ropeway. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse and the bay area are within walking distance from the hotel.
Located in the south of Hokkaido, Hakodate is the third largest city in Hokkaido and best known for its spectacular views from Mount Hakodate and delicious fresh seafood. I hate to say this but Hakodate is the most boring place in my entire trip (if I could turn back time, I’ll skip it for sure 😆 LOL). I didn’t really enjoy Hakodate as much as I’ve expected it to be.
Hokkaido Summer Free and Easy Vacation (Series of Posts)
Day 2: Mount Hakodate, Morning Market, Fort Goryokaku ⬅ You are here!
Day 5 & 6: Strawberry Picking at Jozankei Farm, Mount Moiwa, Asahi Beer Brewery
Day 7: Lake Shikotsu, Lake Toya, Usuzan Ropeway, Mount Showa-Shinzan
Day 8: Farm Tomita, New Furano Prince Hotel, Ningle Terrace, Shikisaino-Oka
Here are some the places and eateries that we’ve visited in Hakodate:
Hakodate Morning Market
Surrounded by the ocean, Hakodate is a haven for delicious fresh seafood. You may have heard of their juicy crabs where you can buy fresh and have them cooked on the spot. Hakodate Morning Market is one of the must-visit attractions where you can find a cluster of shops selling fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits and processed seafood products. You should try out their hairy crab steamed buns too.
Getting to: 1 min walk from JR Hakodate Station
Map Code: 86 072 344*22
Donburi Yokocho Ichiba
This is a food alley arcade near the Hakodate Morning Market where you can find some of the best seafood donburi in town. One of Hakodate’s specialities, Dancing Squid Donburi, can be found here too. The chef will catch a live squid from the aquarium and quickly kill it to prepare the dish. The muscle still reflexes, hence the name dancing squid. This culinary skill ensures the freshness of the squid, but fret not, you’re NOT eating a live squid. 😃
Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship “Mashu-maru”
This is one of the Seikan ferries that operated between Hokkaido and Honshu until 1988. Since then, it has been moored at the Hakodate port as a floating museum. You can see exhibitions such as the history of Seikan Ferry, first-class seats in the ferry, staffs’ uniforms, cockpit, etc.
Getting to: 5 mins walk from JR Hakodate Station
Map Code: 86 072 391*17
Old Fort Goryokaku & Goryokaku Tower
Fort Goryokaku was built in 1864 and it’s claimed to be the first fort of its kind to be constructed in Japan using the Western style. A panoramic view of the entire star-shaped fortress can be seen from the observation platform of the 107-meter Goryokaku Tower, which stands adjacent to the fort.
Do you know that Goryokaku is one of Hokkaido’s top cherry blossom viewing spot in spring? In summer, it’s filled with lush greenery. I can imagine how beautiful it is when blanketed with snow in winter.
Hakodate Magistrate’s Office is located inside the fort. This facility was used during the mid-19th century, part of it has been restored and opened to the public now. If you’re interested in traditional Japanese architecture, you should visit it.
Getting to: Take a tram to “Goryokaku-koen-mae” tram stop and walk for 15 mins
Map Code: 86 165 057*33 (Tower), 86 166 093*11 (Fort)
Hakodate was one of the first ports in Japan to open its doors to foreign trade ~150 years ago. Motomachi acquired a Western-influenced streetscape which remains to this day. Its neighbourhood is full of historical buildings that are lit up at night for visitors to enjoy a leisurely stroll. The interesting part is the 19 slopes that run from the foot of Mount Hakodate straight to the port.
Getting to: Take a tram to “Jujigai” tram stop and walk for 6 mins
Map Code: 86 041 450*55
This is the must-visit place in Hakodate. Awarded the highest rating of 3 stars in Michelin Green Guide Japan, the view from Mt. Hakodate is described as “worth taking time out to see.” To get to the top, you need to take a ropeway for 3 mins. On your way up, I’d recommend that you stand facing the back of the car so that you can see the beautiful view when you’re ascending.
We went up at 6:30pm (~an hour before sunset) so that we can see the day and night view. It is said that the night view of Mt. Hakodate changes with every season. At night, the lights of the city truly look like sparkling jewels to me.
This place was packed with tourists (you’ve been warned!). After squeezing into the ropeway, there was even more tourists at the observatory. Hundreds of them flocked every corner of the observation decks. It was impossible to take a decent photo – unless you “chop” a nice spot before the night fall. And the worst thing was – nobody wanted to leave after taking photos.
Despite the crowd, Mount Hakodate is still my #1 favourite place in Hakodate. You can also book Mount Hakodate Night View Sight-Seeing Bus on Klook. 😀
Getting to: Take a tram to “Jujigai” tram stop, walk for 10 mins to the ropeway station, 3 mins ride on ropeway
Map Code: 86 009 716*44
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse
Located by the bay, this was originally a port warehouse that has been re-developed into an atmospheric shopping, dining and entertainment complex. The seven warehouses contain about 50 restaurants and souvenir stores.
Here, you can try the amazing Hakodate patisserie such as Pastry Snaffle’s and Petite Merveille. Soft bite-sized cheesecakes from Petite Merveille must not be missed!
Getting to: Take a tram to “Jujigai” tram stop and walk for 5 mins
Map Code: 86 041 611*87
Lucky Pierrot is Hakodate’s home-grown fast food chain with 17 restaurants all around Hakodate. Each of them has their own unique theme. We ordered their famed Chinese Chicken Burger and Chinese Chicken Curry, along with other dishes. The Chinese Chicken is really yummy – sweet and tender, I like it! 😍
Some of the places that we did not visit (not enough time) are Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden where you can see snow monkeys soaking in hot spring and Yunokawa Onsen. Yunokawa Onsen is a large spa resort area, featuring a vast array of hot-spring inns and hotels. If you’re looking for onsen resort with personal hot spring tub overlooking the sea, you can find one here.
Next post will be at Noboribetsu! 😀