Having visited this city back in 2015 much has changed in just six years. The Shinkansen is currently celebrating five years in operation to Hakodate. When you consider it only takes less than four and half hours from Tokyo, it is no wonder that the tourist have finally found a gem worth seeing.
Hakodate is surrounded by water on three sides, only has a population of little over a quarter of a million people, and can compete with much larger cities for the varied and numerous attractions available. Yes, we did cover The Western area, Goryokaku Fort and Tower, the Morning Market, Red Brick Warehouse, and of course the Night View from atop Mount Hakodate. All of these attractions are covered in my original article.
Since my stepdaughter Emi accompanied us, we revisited each of these well-known sites. It actually took three consecutive night trips up Mount Hakodate before we could get an almost cloudless view of the nightlights. As for the Morning Market, inflation has set in and the slices of melon have increased from 300 to 500 yen. However, that did not stop us from sampling these delicious prize- winning fruits.
This area is also famous for excellent seafood and we partook at the conveyer belt sushi restaurant (Nemuro Hanamaru), ramen (Hakodate Noodles Enjin), ate freshly caught crabs (Kaisenryori to Kamameshi Araki), and even boiled squid on a stick (Hakodate Beer Brewery). Since this city is a mixture of East meets West it is appropriate that they have a 17-store hamburger chain called Lucky Pierrot, each with a different theme. They won first prize for the best local burger store in Japan. We all enjoyed the cheeseburger, fries and onion rings.
Now for some places that we didn’t see during our first trip. A thirty-minute bus ride beyond Goryokaky Fort is Trappistine Convent. Established in 1898 by French nuns, it is still active today. You cannot enter the buildings, but there are great photo shoot spots along the grounds and of course a gift shop with some tasty breads made by the nuns.
On our third day we headed to Onuma, a Quasi-National Park, twenty kilometers north of Hakodate. This area was formed by ancient volcanic eruptions, creating three lakes with 126 islands. Our first adventure was a thirty-minute sightseeing cruise around the lakes where we spotted many waterfowl and beautiful small islands. Back on ground we took the Shimameguri-no-Michi trail, which crosses over seven islands via walking bridges. This area should be known as the water lily capital, as there were thousands of water lilies all along the trail.
After walking some additional trails, we stopped for some very good melon soft cream. Emi opted for squid ink and melon soft cream.
We then walked back towards town and discovered Onuma Brewery. Their beers have won several Brewers Cup awards and the IPA was outstanding, as well as their hand made fruit pastries.
At Onuma station we caught a free shuttle to Hakodate Nanae Gondola. We were excited about the Seven Great Views, (Mt. Komagatake, Ounma Park, Funka Bay, Mt. Yoteizan, Muroran, and Mt. Esan) however the weather did not cooperate and all we were able to see were thick clouds. The ride was enjoyable, as was the Peak Café at the top.
After that, we took the free shuttle to Shin-Hakodate station for our train to Hakodate. The next morning we walked back to the Western Area to take some pictures before the crowds headed up the hill. We visited Funadama Jinja Shrine where the hydrangea were still in bloom.
Overall our trip was four days and there were still museums, and other attractions we were not able to see.
Hakodate is a must stop on your trip to Hokkaido.