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Hakodate Has Many Tourists Attractions Such as Fascinating Night View, History, Tasty Foods and Onsen

August 27th, 2014


Hakodate (函館) that 270,000 people live is the third largest city in Hokkaido and is a regional hub city of the Southern Hokkaido area. It is one of the most popular tourist cities in Hokkaido. About 5 million people visit Hakodate. It features that there is the town with a unique seashore landscape on a large sandbar between the seas. As for climate, it is relatively warm in Hokkaido because Hakodate is located the south of other cities. By the way, the center of city is Goryokaku (五稜郭), and it is more flourishing than around Hakodate Station.

Setting Sun
Takuboku Park
Street in Front of Orthodox Church

Why is Hakodate famous? There are 4 reasons. The first is that a night view from Mt. Hakodate (函館山) is one of the highest quality in the world, the second is the long history and the internationality, the third is that tasty foods such as seafood can be enjoyed, the fourth is that there are various onsen. In addition, Hakodate is famous for having many slopes as well as Otaru city, too. There are 19 named slopes including Hachimanzaka slope (八幡坂), Daisanzaka slope (大三坂) and Motoizaka slope (基坂). Those feature that views of straight lines are good. Everybody will be convinced why Hakodate is famous if everybody visit Hakodate.

Hachimanzaka Slope
Motoizaka Slope
Daisanzaka Slope

One Million Dollar Night View

Night View from Mt. Hakodate is one of the 3 major night views as well as Hong Kong and Naples in the world and is one of the 3 major night views as well as Mt. Tengu (天狗山) in Otaru and Mt. Moiwa (藻岩山) in Sapporo in Hokkaido, too. It is authorized so much 3 major night views, you will imagine the beauty night view.

Mt. Hakodate

Mt. Hakodate

Mt. Hakodate (函館山) is a range of mountains with 334m in height in the west side of Hakodate city and is general term of 13 mountains. Another name is Mt. Gagyu (臥牛山). Mt. Hakodate was an island originally. A view that can look over the Hakodate city has been famous since old days, and is one of the 3 best night views in the world. "View from Mt. Hakodate" was introduced as 3 stars in Michelin Green Guide Japon 2011. It features that world people rate "View from Mt. Hakodate" highly. Especially, the night view is most popular. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge. Article is here

Night View from Top of Mt. Hakodate
Mt. Hakodate in Hakodate

Atmosphere of Mt. Hakodate Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Mt. Hakodate

One of Oldest Town in Hokkaido

Hokkaido was called "Yezochi (蝦夷地)" until 100 years ago and Ainu people lived in there. Very few Japanese people called "Wajin (和人)" lived in Matsumae, Esashi and Hakodate located in the southern part of Oshima Peninsula. Hakodate was called "Usukeshi (宇須岸)" and "Wajin" began a settlement from Akita in the 1400s. They built 12 hubs called the Southern Hokkaido 12 buildings (道南十二館) for trade with the Ainu people. As one of the 12 buildings, they built Usukeshi-yakata on this land, and Hakodate was named after its form of the building (Square building), and this land name seemed to be named Hakodate, too. * Square building may be called "hako" in Japanese language.

Funadama Shrine
Funadama Shrine, Hakodate

Hakodate prospered as a trade port of the Matsumae clan (松前藩) and the hub port of cargo ships that sailed the sea of Japan (北前船) in the Edo period. Western powers such as the Russia or the United States demanded the opening of Japan to the Edo Shogunate in the late Tokugawa period. The Edo Shogunate accepted this demand, and the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda (下田) were opened. Hakodate grew up as the full-scale international free trade port in 1859, and the British consulate (French consulate), the Russian consulate, the China consulate were built. The variety of culture including the Russia and the United States were brought to Hakodate, and an international exchange were flowering.

Former Soma House
Former Soma House, Hakodate

At the same time, Boshin War (戊辰戦争) occurs, and the last battleground was Hakodate. Associated historic spots such as the Goryokaku Fort (五稜郭) or the Hekiketsuhi Monument (碧血碑) were dotted with neighborhood of Hakodate, too. History fans gathered from all over Japan to hakodate as a place that Mr. Toshizo Hijikata (土方歳三), famous vice commander of Shinsengumi (新撰組), died. In the Meiji period, Orthodox Church (ハリストス正教会), Motomachi Roman Catholic Church (元町カトリック教会), Trappistine Convent (トラピスチヌ修道院), Episcopal Church (正ヨハネ教会) were built when Christianity was allowed, and the cityscape was built under the influence of Western culture greatly. Hakodate is one of the oldest city that have been developed seriously since about 1850 in hokkaido. The taste had an impact on Hakodate.

Motomachi Church Groups

Bay Area and Kanamori Red Brick Warehouses

Bay Area (ベイエリア) facing Gulf of Hakodate (函館湾) is located between Hakodate Station and Motomachi Area (元町). Tourist facilities such as Kanamori Red Brick Warehouse (金森赤レンガ倉庫) are built, and it is dotted with Lucky Pierrot and Hasegawa Store. There are boarding points for Cruising Gulf of Hakodate. A lot of tourists visit to buy a souvenir or enjoy themselves. Red brick building, pavements with stone and Shichizai Bridge (七財橋) made from stone make you feel a historical atmosphere. Article is here

Kanamori Red Brick Warehouses
Bay Area in Hakodate

Motomachi Park

Motomachi Park (元町公園) is located on a hill that tourists can look over Gulf of Hakodate at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山). Hakodate City Magistrate's Office (箱館奉行所) and Hokkaido Development Commission (開拓使) were established once. Motomachi Tourist Information Center (元町観光案内所), Old Book Warehouse (函館支庁書籍庫) and Statues of Hakodate Big Four (函館四天王像) are on the site. Hakodate Big Four are Mr. Ichiuemon Imai (今井市右衛門), Mr. Bunuemon Hirata (平田文右衛門), Mr. Kumashiro Watanabe (渡辺熊四郎) and Mr. Tokizo Hiratsuka (平塚時蔵). They used their own funds on developing Hakodate, so Mr. Tamemoto Tokito (時任為基) named them Hakodate Big Four. There are Motoizaka slope (基坂), Churches, Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall (旧函館区公会堂), Former British Consulate (旧イギリス領事館) and Former Soma House (旧相馬邸) near Motomachi Park. Admission free. Article is here

View from Motomachi Park
Motomachi Park in Hakodate

Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall

Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall (旧函館区公会堂) is a western style 2-story wooden building at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山) and was built for a meeting place of local people in 1910, and was designated as a nationally important cultural property. A symmetrical colonial style (コロニアルスタイル) building is colored with blue-gray color and whitish-yellow color and is decorated with detailed sculptures. It is very beautiful, and catches eyes. In addition, it is known for shooting a cosplay photo. At high-collar dress photo studio (ハイカラ衣装館), visitors can change from their clothers into dress of the Meiji period (明治時代) or Taisho period (大正時代) and can enjoy an atomosphere of those days. Rental dress is JPY 1000. Making up is JPY 1000. Admission is charged. Photography Allowed. There are Motomachi Park (元町公園), Former British Consulate (旧イギリス領事館) and Former Soma House (旧相馬邸) near Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall. Article is here

Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall
Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall in Hakodate

Former British Consulate

Former British Consulate (旧イギリス領事館) is a western style 2-story wooden building at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山) and was a foreign consular office established thirdly aftre United States Consulate and Russia Consulate in 1859. It was served as French Consulate, too. There are Motomachi Park (元町公園), Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall (旧函館区公会堂) and Former Soma House (旧相馬邸) near the Former British Consulate and is Motoizaka Slope (基坂) in front of the Former British Consulate. Because it was destroyed by a fire, a current building was restored as a memorial hall in 1992. As for exhibition rooms at the building, admission is charged. Photography Allowed. There is Western Style Rose Garden at the site, too, and visitors can have a look around freely. The rose garden has a gazebo, a rose tunnel and a fountain. The best time to see is from late June to early July. I visited here in 19 June 2017, and almost rose did not bloom yet . By the way, the Former British Consulate is available for use as a venue for secular wedding ceremonies. Article is here

Former Consul Richard Eusden and Consul's Office
Former British Consulate in Hakodate

Motomachi Religion Area

Motomachi Religion Area (元町宗教エリア) is located between a ropeway station at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山) and Motomachi Park (元町公園). There are a church group such as Orthodox Church (ハリストス正教会), Catholic Hakodate Motomachi Church (カトリック元町教会) and St.John's Church Hakodate (函館聖ヨハネ教会), a Japanese historical building suh as Myofukuji Temple (妙福寺), Higashi Betsuin Shinshu Sect Otani School Hakodate Betsuin Temple (東別院大谷派函館院) and Barber Sato (佐藤理容院) along Nijukkenzaka Slope (二十間坂), Daisanzaka Slope (大三坂) and Hachimanzaka Slope (八幡坂). Historical buildings and large buildings are built along stone pavements, so those go well with views from the top of the slope. Article is here

Hachimanzaka Slope
Motomachi Religion Area in Hakodate
St.John's Church Hakodate
Motomachi Religion Area in Hakodate

Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery

Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery (函館外国人墓地) is laocated at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山) in the western edge of Hakodate and is known for dividing into 3 cemetery sections, Russian Cemetery section, Chinese Cemetery section and Protestant Cemetery section. It is said that an origin of the Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery has been that 2 crewmen were buried here in 1854 when Admiral Matthw C Perry (ペリー提督) visited the Hakodate. This place seemed to be choosen because an ocean view was very good on a small hill. Admission free. There is a restroom at the site. An one-way road is narrow. A patrol car sometimes patrols to crackdown on illegal parking. A cafe such as Cafe Morie (カフェ・モーリエ) and Tea Shop Yuhi (ティーショップ夕日) are popular because the location is good. Article is here

Look of Protestant Cemetery
Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery

Goryokaku Park

Goryokaku Fort (五稜郭公園) is a fromer fort located in the northeastern part of Hakodate Station and is known as a place that old Shogunate army fought on Boshin War and made an unconditional surrender. Presently remains of the castle change to Goryokaku Park and open to general public, and many tourists come. About 1,600 cherry trees such as Yoshino cherry tree are in full bloom from late April to mid May, it becomes a famous place for the cherry trees, and many tourist particularly visited here in a spring. There are Goryokaku Tower (五稜郭タワー) with observation decks and Hakodate Magistrate's Office (箱館奉行所) at the Goryokaku Park. The tourists pay an entrance fee and can enter those. Particularly, a view from Goryokaku Tower is splendid, and the tourists can enjoy the Goryokaku as a bird's‐eye view. Article is here

Goryokaku Park
Hakodate Goryokaku Park
Goryokaku Tower
Hakodate Goryokaku Park

Atmosphere of Goryokaku Park Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Goryokaku Park

Trappistine Monastery

Trappistine Monastery (トラピスチヌ修道院) is a convent founded by 8 sisters from France in 1898 and is located in the east part of Hakodate city area. Another name is Angel Garden (天使園). It was rebuilt in 1927 though it was destroyed by a fire in 1925. There are Statue of Archangel Michael (大天使聖ミカエル像), Statue of Virgin Mary with Sad Face (悲しみの聖母マリア), Museum (資料館), Souvenir Shop (売店), Chapel for Travelers (旅人の聖堂), Lourdes (ルルド), Statue of St. Theresa (聖テレジアの像), Parsonage (司祭館), Church (聖堂), Statue of French cruiser Jeanne d'Arc (ジャンヌ・ダルクの像) and Gate for New Nun (入会者の門) at the site. Except a monastic life, a front garden is open to public. Speaking of the Trappist Monastery, sweets are famous. Especially, a cookie and a soft serve ice cream is very popular. Admission free. There is a toll parking lot near the Trappistine Monastery. Article is here

Look of Front Garden
Hakodate Trappistine Monastery

Atmosphere of Trappistine Monastery Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Trappistine Monastery

Other Tourist Attractions

There are other famous tourist attractions such as Hakodate Racecourse (函館競馬場) that tourists can watch a horse racing while looking at the sea and Cape Tachimachi (立待岬) that is a beauty spot of nature in Hakodate. As for cherry blossoms, Sumiyoshi Shrine (住三吉神社) and Hakodate Park (函館公園) are famous, too.

Cape Tachimachi

Cape Tachimachi (立待岬) is a beauty spot that tourists can look over the Pacific on cliffs in Hakodate and is at the foot of Mt. Hakodate (函館山). Tachimachi was called "Yokoushi (ヨコウシ)" by Ainu people and means "Place that Ainu people lurks on fishes" in Ainu language. I think they imperiled themselves lay their life on the line put their life before fishing, and maybe men of other days were very tough. Because the cliffs at about 30 m above sea level are steep, it was said to be a famous place for suicide in old days. The Cape Tachimachi often seems to be used as a shooting place for suspense dramas. There are monuments inscribed with a poem of Mr. Hiroshi Yosano (与謝野寛) and Mrs. Akiko Yosano (与謝野晶子) on the same sitem, and graves of Takuboku Ishikawa family (石川啄木一族) is near. A trail to Mt. Hakodate is built around Cape Tachimachi, too. Open 06:00 to 20:00. It closes in a winter season, December to March. Admission free. A parking fee is free of charge. Article is here

Tachimachi-misaki Park
Hakodate Cape Tachimachi

Atmosphere of Cape Tachimachi Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Cape Tachimachi

Hakodate Racecourse

Hakodate Racecourse (函館競馬場) is near Yunokawa Onsen (湯の川温泉). It was opened in 1896, and it is known for having the oldest in the 10 Japan Racing Assoc racecourses. It is one of popular reason that this racecourse is the only racecourse that we can look over the sea from a main stand in Japan. As a beginning of Hokkaido series that maiden race starts, it is held from June to August. Article is here

Racing Horses Reach Goal
Hakodate Racecourse

Atmosphere of Hakodate Racecourse Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Hakodate Racecourse

Cherry Blossoms of Sumiyoshi Shrine

Sumiyoshi Shrine (住三吉神社) is located in Sumiyoshi-cho, Hakodate city near Cape Tachimachi and has been reported that Sumiyoshi Shrine was founded in the Kamakura period. I think that Sumiyoshi(住三吉) Shrine is odd name, and Sumiyoshi(住三吉) Shrine merged Sumiyoshi(住吉) Shrine and Miyoshi(三吉) Shrine. The name of Sumiyoshi(住三吉) Shrine is a good combination. About 30 Yoshino Cherry Trees (ソメイヨシノ) are planted along an approach to the shrine with about 100 m in length, and cherry blossoms are in full bloom in a spring. It is like walking through the cherry blossom tunnel, and tourists will be very comfortable. The cherry blossoms are best viewed from late April to early May. Admission free. A parking lot and a restroom are not provided. Article is here

Entrance of Sumiyoshi Shrine
Cherry Blossom at Sumiyoshi Shrine

Atmosphere of Sumiyoshi Shrine Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Sumiyoshi Shrine

Cherry Blossoms of Hakodate Park

Hakodate Park (函館公園) is located in the foot of Mt. Hakodate and was established in 1879. It has an exotic atmosphere such as the Meiji period. There are a museum, an amusement park for children, a mini-zoo in the park, and it became a place for Hakodate citizen's relaxation and refreshment. In addition, about 420 cherry trees such as Yoshino Cherry Trees are planted on Hakodate park, and it is a famous place for the cherry blossoms. Food stalls stand in a row for a cherry-blossom viewing period, many tourists visit and enjoy. It had a good reputation for beautiful cherry blossoms at night in particular, and it has mysterious beauty. Article is here

Hakodate Park
Cherry Blossom at Night on Hakodate Park

Atmosphere of Night Cherry Blossom on Hakodate Park Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Night Cherry Blossom on Hakodate Park

Esan Observatory

Esan Observatory (恵山展望台) at 330 m above sea level is located on the mountainside of Mt. Esan (恵山) with 618 m in height in the eastern part of Hakodate, and comes into sight after visitors finish going up Esan-Tozan Road (恵山登山道) with some s-curves beside Esan Onsen Ryokan (恵山温泉旅館). Tsugaru Channel (津軽海峡), Shimokita Peninsula (下北半島) and the front side of the gentle can be seen Mt. Esan if it is fine weather. Sea of clouds covered with the Tsugaru Channel sometimes can be seen, too. A walking trail, Esan-Tenbodai Course (恵山展望台コース) with 1337 in length, is built from Esan-Kakohara Parking Lot (恵山火口原駐車場) to here, so the visitors can hike for about 50 minutes. The Esan-Tozan Road under traffic control is available from 06:00 to 18:00. Do not be left behind ! There is not a facility in particular. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge, too. Article is here

Nanatsuiwa Rocks Can Be Seen
Esan Observatory in Hakodate

Atmosphere of Esan Observatory Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Esan Observatory

Misaki Lookout

Misaki Lookout (岬展望台) is located around Mt. Esan (恵山) in the eastern part of Hakodate. Mt. Esan is an active volcano with 618 m in height and the whole area around the Mt. Esan has designed as Esan Prefectural Natural Park (恵山道立自然公園). The end point of Esan-Tozan Road (恵山登山道) beside Esan Onsen Ryokan (恵山温泉旅館) is Esan Kakogen Parking Lot (恵山火口原駐車場). Probably Mt. Esan from back side is the genuine Mt. Esan. The surafce of the mountain are rough, and it emits smoke. The color of the mountain is like Jigokudani (地獄谷 * Hell Valley) in Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉). There is a place called Sai-no-Kawara (賽の河原 * Children's Limbo), and early peoples wanted to name around volcanoes dread names for some reason. Those might be catchy names. The Esan-Tozan Road under traffic control is available from 06:00 to 18:00. Do not be left behind ! There are a restroom and a resting station around the Esan Kakogen Parking Lot. Admission free. A parking lot is free of charge, too. Article is here

View of Different World
Misaki Lookout in Hakodate
Misaki Lookout
Misaki Lookout in Hakodate

Atmosphere of Misaki Lookout Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Misaki Lookout


Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Hakodate.


The next page introduces about tasty foods and Onsen.

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