Hakodate is a charming city located in the southern part of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. With its rich history and stunning natural beauty, Hakodate has become a popular tourist destination. From its picturesque views of Mount Hakodate to its delicious seafood and vibrant local culture, there is so much to explore and discover in this delightful city. In this article, we will delve into 48 fascinating facts about Hakodate, shedding light on its historical significance, cultural heritage, unique attractions, and much more. Whether you are planning a visit to Hakodate or simply have an interest in learning about this incredible city, these facts will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what makes Hakodate truly special. So, let’s dive into the world of Hakodate and uncover its hidden treasures!
The First Port Opened to Foreign Trade in Japan
Hakodate was the first Japanese port to open its doors to international trade in 1854, marking the end of Japan’s isolation policy during the Edo Period.
A Haven for Seafood Lovers
Hakodate is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood, offering a wide range of delicacies such as succulent squid, mouthwatering crab, and melt-in-your-mouth scallops.
The Iconic Mount Hakodate
Mount Hakodate, standing at 334 meters tall, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscape. The night view from the mountaintop is particularly mesmerizing and has been ranked among the world’s top three night views.
The Historic Goryokaku Fortress
Goryokaku, a star-shaped fort built in the 19th century, is a symbol of Hakodate’s historical significance. Today, it serves as a popular park, adorned with cherry blossoms during the spring season.
The Oldest Western-Style Building in Japan
The Old British Consulate, constructed in 1859, is the oldest surviving Western-style building in Japan. It now functions as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse into the city’s international history.
Home to Japan’s Northernmost Tram Line
Hakodate boasts the northernmost tram line in Japan, providing convenient transportation for both locals and tourists. Riding the tram is a great way to explore the city and its various attractions.
The Splendid Hakodate Morning Market
The Hakodate Morning Market is a bustling hub of activity where visitors can sample fresh local produce, seafood, and unique Hokkaido specialties. It’s a must-visit for food enthusiasts.
Fascinating Foreign Cemeteries
Hakodate is home to several foreign cemeteries, including the Russian Cemetery and the Hokkaido Foreign General Cemetery. These burial grounds reflect the city’s international connections in the past.
The Traditional Motomachi District
The Motomachi district showcases Western-style architecture and charming streets lined with trendy cafes, boutique shops, and historic buildings. It’s a perfect blend of East and West.
Famous for its Ramen
Hakodate is renowned for its delicious ramen, with various styles and flavors. Be sure to taste the local specialty: salty soy sauce-based ramen topped with succulent seafood.
The Hakodate City Museum of Northern Peoples
This unique museum focuses on the indigenous Ainu culture and other northern peoples, giving visitors a deeper understanding of Hokkaido’s diverse heritage.
The Historic Red Brick Warehouses
The iconic red brick warehouses located in the bay area have been transformed into a cultural and commercial complex, housing shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
The Hakodate Orthodox Church
The eye-catching Hakodate Orthodox Church, with its unique onion-shaped domes, is one of Hokkaido’s most beautiful religious landmarks.
A Gateway to Onuma Quasi-National Park
Hakodate provides easy access to the stunning Onuma Quasi-National Park, offering picturesque landscapes, hiking trails, and serene lakes.
The Historic Hakodate City Hall
The grand Hakodate City Hall, constructed in 1910, is a fine example of Western-style architecture and a designated Important Cultural Property.
The Illuminated Hakodate Christmas Fantasy
During the winter season, Hakodate comes alive with dazzling Christmas lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere for visitors.
The Unmissable Hakodate Festival
The Hakodate Festival, held annually in August, is a vibrant celebration of the city’s history and culture, featuring traditional dances, music, and spectacular fireworks.
The Majestic Tsugaru Strait
Hakodate is situated on the southern tip of Hokkaido, overlooking the scenic Tsugaru Strait, which separates Honshu and Hokkaido.
The Picturesque Yunokawa Onsen
Yunokawa Onsen, a famous hot spring district in Hakodate, offers relaxation and rejuvenation in its tranquil natural surroundings.
Unique Hokkaido Ice Cream
Indulge in Hokkaido’s famous ice cream, known for its rich and creamy texture. Hakodate offers a wide variety of flavors, including local specialties like squid ink ice cream.
The Historic Meijikan District
The Meijikan district, with its charming European-style buildings, is a testament to Hakodate’s history as an international trading hub.
Home to the Hakodate Racecourse
Hakodate Racecourse is one of Japan’s oldest horse racing tracks and hosts exciting races throughout the year.
The Quaint Motomachi Roman Catholic Church
The Motomachi Roman Catholic Church, a beautiful red-brick building, is another example of Hakodate’s architectural charm.
The Iconic Hakodate City Tram
The Hakodate City Tram, operating since 1918, is not only a convenient mode of transportation but also a nostalgic symbol of the city’s heritage.
A Paradise for Sea and Mountain View Lovers
Hakodate offers stunning views of both the sea and mountains, making it a dream destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
The Magnificent Hakodate Bay
Hakodate Bay, with its calm waters and panoramic vistas, provides a picturesque backdrop for the city’s attractions.
The Historic Hachimanzaka Slope
The Hachimanzaka Slope is a steep cobblestone road that leads to the Motomachi district, offering scenic views and a glimpse into Hakodate’s past.
The Hakodate Morning Market Asaichi Hall
The modern Asaichi Hall within the Hakodate Morning Market is an ideal place to savor local delicacies and shop for souvenirs.
The Ruins of Fort Goryokaku
Within Goryokaku Park, visitors can explore the remnants of the historical fort and learn about its significance in Japan’s history.
The Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden
Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden provides a unique experience with its diverse collection of tropical plants and flowers.
The Hakodate Bay Area
The bay area is a hub of entertainment, featuring numerous shops, restaurants, and attractions, including the must-visit Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse.
The Iconic Hakodate Tower
The 107-meter tall Hakodate Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, including the majestic Mount Hakodate.
The Hakodate Velodrome
The Hakodate Velodrome is a popular venue for track cycling enthusiasts, hosting various events and competitions throughout the year.
The Historic Hakodate Library
The Hakodate Library, established in 1926, houses a vast collection of books and documents, preserving the city’s literary heritage.
The Luminous Hakodate Squid
Hakodate is famous for its luminous squid, enjoyed as sashimi or grilled, showcasing the city’s love for fresh seafood.
The Hakodate Modern Western Clothing Museum
This unique museum showcases Western clothing that influenced Japanese fashion during the Meiji and Taisho periods.
The Hakodate City Museum of Art
The Hakodate City Museum of Art exhibits a diverse range of artworks by local and international artists, showcasing the city’s flourishing art scene.
The Hakodate City Minato Elementary School
The historic Hakodate City Minato Elementary School transformed into a museum, provides insights into the local education system through the years.
The Hakodate Magistrate’s Office
This traditional Japanese building served as the administrative center during the Edo Period and is now a designated Important Cultural Property.
The Hakodate Nanae Snow Park
Hakodate Nanae Snow Park offers various winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
The Hakodate Museum of Northern Peoples
This museum focuses on the indigenous peoples of the circumpolar regions, fostering a deeper understanding of the world’s northern cultures.
The Vibrant Hakodate Fish Market
Hakodate’s fish market is a lively place to witness the bustling seafood industry, offering a wide variety of freshly caught fish and seafood products.
The Historic Hakodate Ward Public Hall
The Hakodate Ward Public Hall, constructed in 1910, is a beautiful Western-style building and a designated Important Cultural Property.
The Hakodate Museum of Literature
This literary museum showcases the works of Hakodate’s famous writers and celebrates the city’s contribution to Japanese literature.
The Hakodate Planetarium
The Hakodate Planetarium offers visitors a chance to explore the universe through its impressive projection shows and educational programs.
The Traditional Hakodate Yatai
Hakodate Yatai are mobile food stalls, offering delicious street food such as yakitori, hot dogs, and grilled corn.
The Hakodate Russian Orthodox Cemetery
Located in the Motomachi district, this cemetery is the final resting place of Russian sailors and merchants who played a significant role in Hakodate’s history.
The Hakodate Art Plaza
Housed in a former bank building, the Hakodate Art Plaza showcases contemporary artworks and provides a platform for local artists to exhibit their creations.
In conclusion, Hakodate is a fascinating city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its stunning views of Mount Hakodate to its rich cultural heritage, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming city. Whether you’re exploring the historic district, indulging in local cuisine, or soaking in the relaxing hot springs, Hakodate is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. With its vibrant festivals, picturesque landscapes, and friendly locals, it’s no wonder that Hakodate continues to captivate the hearts of travelers from around the world. So, make sure to add Hakodate to your travel bucket list and discover all that this amazing city has to offer.
Q: Are there any famous landmarks in Hakodate?
A: Yes, Hakodate is home to several famous landmarks such as the Goryokaku Fort, which is a star-shaped fortress, and the Hakodate Bay Area, known for its stunning views and iconic red-brick warehouses.
Q: What is the best time to visit Hakodate?
A: The best time to visit Hakodate is during spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and the cherry blossoms or autumn foliage are in full bloom.
Q: Is Hakodate known for its seafood?
A: Absolutely! Hakodate is renowned for its fresh seafood, especially its delicious squid and crab dishes. Be sure to try some local delicacies like Hakodate-style seafood ramen and seafood kaisendon (rice bowl) during your visit.
Q: Can I reach Hakodate by train?
A: Yes, Hakodate is easily accessible by train. The Shinkansen (bullet train) connects Hakodate to major cities like Tokyo and Sapporo, making it convenient for travelers to visit the city.
Q: Are there any hot springs in Hakodate?
A: Yes, Hakodate is home to several hot springs, known as onsen. Yunokawa Onsen is the most famous hot spring area in Hakodate, offering relaxing baths and traditional ryokan accommodations.
Q: What activities can I do in Hakodate?
A: There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Hakodate, such as taking a ropeway ride up Mount Hakodate for breathtaking views, visiting the Hakodate Morning Market for fresh seafood, and exploring the historic Motomachi district with its Western-style buildings.
Q: Is English widely spoken in Hakodate?
A: While English may not be widely spoken, especially in smaller establishments, many tourist areas have signs and menus in English, and locals are often helpful and welcoming to international visitors.