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Hakodate is one of the first places in Japan to open to international traders after the end of the shogunate. See the highlights of this Western-flavored harbor town and enjoy spectacular views including one of Japan's top 3 night views!
- See the romantic old atmosphere of Hakodate!
- Visit a unique star-shaped citadel
- Stroll the old town streets and see many classical buildings
- See one of the best night views in Japan!
Hakodate is one of the most charming towns in Hokkaido. Located at the south of the island, it was the first harbor opened to international traders and missionaries after the end of the shogunate in the 19th century. Plenty of Western merchants and officials built their residences and churches here which changed the image of the town and created a peculiar international atmosphere.
You can choose between a full day and a half day guided tour in Hakodate. The town is conveniently located to other popular destinations in Hokkaido such as Matsumae, Yunokawa Onsen and Onuma Park, so you are free to decide how much time to spend in the town and how to combine the sightseeing with a visit to nearby places.
This is the example itinerary for a half day tour (morning or afternoon):
1. Morning Market or Red Brick Warehouses. The Morning Market is open only until noon and here you can find plenty of fresh seafood (particularly Hokkaido crab) and local fruits such as melons. You can have a quick snack at some of the restaurants or buy something and eat as you walk. The Red Brick Warehouses remain as a historical memory from the early days of Hakodate's opening as an international port. Now the impressive buildings host restaurants, shops and even a wedding chapel.
2. Motomachi area. After Hakodate's opening foreign merchants and missionaries built their residences and churches over the charming slopes of this area. Located just under Mt Hakodate, this pleasant district will fascinate you with its historical and cultural legacy. Here you can find the impressive classical buildings of the Old British Consulate, the Old Public Hall of Hakodate, and the Russian Orthodox Church which is the oldest Orthodox Church in Japan.
3. Mt Hakodate. The night view over Hakodate from the 334-meter tall mountain is considered one of Japan's three best night views (the others being Kobe and Nagasaki). You will be impressed by the stunning view over the town and the entire peninsula.
A full day tour in Hokkaido will include all of the above plus:
4. Fort Goryokaku. Largely considered one of Hakodate's symbols, this unique star-shaped citadel cannot be compared to any other fortress in Japan. It was built at the end of the shogunate as a defence facility against the imperialist government. You can see the impressive citadel and the surrounding park from the observatory deck of the Goryokaku Tower located just next to the citadel.
5. Trappistine Convent. This impressive Baroque-style building is a nunnery constructed in 1898 to be the home of several nuns dispatched from Trappistine Monastery in France. The convent is not open for visitors, but you can take a walk around its beautiful garden and see the solemn statues of Virgin Mary and St Michael. The local nuns produce delicious sweets that you can buy at the convent's shop.
JR Hakodate Station
What you need to bring