The city of Hakodate

the city of Hakodate Excursion

One of my favorite cities is Hakodate. I can think of several reasons. Hakodate was the hometown of a band I liked when I was in high school, it is a city with a history that dates back to the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it offers delicious food, and it is a compact city that is easy to see and explore. I feel that all of those things are true, and none of them are true.

Once you get to know the Hakodate I am about to introduce, I am sure you will want to go there too. And when you visit, you will see what this city has to offer.

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Access to Hakodate

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station, approximately 4 hours from Tokyo Station. From Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station, it is approximately 20 minutes by Hakodate Liner to Hakodate Station in the center of Hakodate City.

From Haneda Airport to Hakodate Airport is approximately 70 minutes. From Hakodate Airport to the city center is approximately 20 minutes by bus.

Scenery of Hakodate



Goryokaku is a European-style fortress built in 1857. Its purpose was to manage Hokkaido, then known as Ezochi, and to defend it from foreign nations. Its distinctive feature is its shape, which can be seen as a star from a high vantage point. Today, it is a tourist attraction while it is maintained as a park. The park is open to the public free of charge. It is also known as a cherry blossom viewing spot, with 5,000 cherry trees usually at their best in early May.

Goryokaku Tower and Hakodate Magistrate’s Office

The shape of Goryokaku can be seen clearly from Goryokaku Tower, which stands right next to Goryokaku. Of course, you can also look down on the city of Hakodate.

The Hakodate Magistrate’s Office was reconstructed in 2010 in the center of Goryokaku. The building was constructed using the same construction methods and materials as those used at the time, based on data obtained from excavations and other sources. Inside the building, visitors can see the recreated parts of the original building as well as the exhibited materials.

There is an admission fee for each. There is no common ticket.

Goryokaku Tower: https://www.goryokaku-tower.co.jp/en/

Hakodate Magistrate’s Office: https://hakodate-bugyosho.jp/en/index.html

Yunokawa Onsen(hot spring)

Yunokawa Onsen is a 10-minute drive from Hakodate Station and a 30-minute tram ride away. It is also only a 10-minute drive from the airport, making it the “closest hot spring resort to the airport in Japan” as it claims. It is accessible enough to be an option for Hakodate sightseeing stays. The hot spring resort is located by the sea, and almost all hotels have open-air baths with a view of the ocean.

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Red Brick Warehouses in the Bay Area

Built around 1870, these red-brick warehouses stand adjacent to the Port of Hakodate. The warehouses flourished as the shipping industry prospered, but around 1980, the port functions of Hakodate were relocated and the warehouses ceased to function. The traditional buildings have since been preserved, and the inside has been converted into commercial facilities. The building is now used as a restaurant, souvenir store, hall, and various other facilities.

Mount Hakodate

Mount Hakodate is a symbol of the city of Hakodate, a low mountain of about 300 meters, but famous for its spectacular night view. The mountain is prone to fog during the spring and summer months.

night view of Hakodate city

There are several ways to access the mountain, but the ropeway is the only way as the mountain trail is completely closed in winter.

・The ropeway takes 3 minutes from the base station to the top of the mountain

Welcome to a city of overflowing lights. Enjoy the dramatic night view from the best location. | Mt.HAKODATE ROPEWAY


・Bus from Hakodate Station or the bay area

・Rental car

However, due to restrictions, there are times when rental cars are not allowed on the trail. (Taxis are allowed.)

April 25-September 30, 17:00-17:00 / October 1-winter closure 16:00 – 21:00

・On foot

There is a pedestrian trail that takes about one hour to reach the summit. There are no lights, so you will need to bring your own at night.

Motomachi Stroll


Hakodate was one of the first ports to be opened to the outside world during the Edo period (1603-1868), when Japan was closed to the outside world. Therefore, the Motomachi area at the foot of Mt. Hakodate is lined with churches and buildings that were once consulates. The area is hilly because it is at the foot of the mountain, but it is just right for a leisurely stroll while viewing the buildings. From Hachimanzaka slope, one can see straight down to the harbor, and many people stop to take pictures. The path from the Mt. Hakodate ropeway stop to Motomachi Park is recommended.

Must-eat in Hakodate

Lucky Pierrot

hamburger of lucky pierrot

A theme restaurant rooted in the city of Hakodate. The extensive menu, including hamburgers, is the main selling point. You will want to visit different stores as the interior and some of the menu items differ from store to store. They make it a point to only have stores in the Hakodate area, so you have to go to Hakodate to taste their food.

Hasegawa Store

Yakitori is one of the most popular Japanese dishes, consisting of bite-sized pieces of chicken and green onion skewered, grilled and served with salt or sauce. In the Hakodate area, yakitori refers to pork. The specialty using yakitori is Hasegawa Store’s yakitori bento. Although Hasegawa Store is a convenience store, it cooks its yakitori in the store. Try their freshly made yakitori bento!



Many people may imagine fresh seafood when they think of Hokkaido. There is a famous morning market near Hakodate Station. You can enjoy delicious sushi at even the most casual conveyor-belt sushi restaurants. You can also easily enjoy seafood at local izakaya (Japanese-style pubs).

Travel Tips for Hakodate

Explore Hakodate by tram and on foot. If you are visiting Hakodate for the first time, stay one night, and if you want to go back, stay two or three nights.

Spring is late and summer is short. Cherry blossoms bloom from late April to early May. In spring and fall, the days are warm but the mornings and evenings are cold. Be especially careful at the top of Mt. Hakodate as the temperature is cooler.

Hakodate station in snow

In winter, Hakodate is not subject to heavy snowfall, but blizzards can occur. When snowstorms occur, flights are cancelled and local trains and Shinkansen are often delayed.