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The historic and attractive port of Hakodate is hugely popular with Japanese tourists. It was one of the first to open to foreign traders following the end of Japan’s seclusion from the world in the mid-19th century. Some of the consulates that nations such as Britain, Russia and the USA established on the lower slopes of Hakodate-yama (Mt. Hakodate), and the attractive wood and stone buildings and churches of that era, have been preserved in the picturesque Motomachi district. The 1,096-foot high peak provides the best vantage point from which to view the port and can easily be reached by cable car or bus. Beside Hakodate’s train station ...

The historic and attractive port of Hakodate is hugely popular with Japanese tourists. It was one of the first to open to foreign traders following the end of Japan’s seclusion from the world in the mid-19th century. Some of the consulates that nations such as Britain, Russia and the USA established on the lower slopes of Hakodate-yama (Mt. Hakodate), and the attractive wood and stone buildings and churches of that era, have been preserved in the picturesque Motomachi district. The 1,096-foot high peak provides the best vantage point from which to view the port and can easily be reached by cable car or bus. Beside Hakodate’s train station – the first major stop of services heading out of the undersea Seikan Tunnel that joins Japan’s main island of Honshu with Hokkaido – is the wonderful Asa Ichi, a morning market where you can dine on the freshest of seafood.

It’s fun to rattle around town on Hakodate’s trams, one line of which heads towards the late-19th-century star-shaped fort Goryokaku. There are onsen baths to be enjoyed at Yunokawa and Yachigashira while just 18 miles north of the city the Onuma Quasi National Park provides a lovely lakeland escape with dramatic views of the double-peaked Komaga-take and opportunities to cycle, hike or take to the water.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to October