Hakodate Delights

A second look at Hokkaido’s third largest city

By Rey Waters    - 4 min read

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.

Outside the former British Consulate
Outside the former British Consulate

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.

Night View from Mt Hakodate
Night View from Mt Hakodate

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.

Lucky Pierrot Burger Store Chain, Hakodate
Lucky Pierrot Burger Store Chain, Hakodate

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.

Trappistine Convent
Trappistine Convent

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.

Onuma Sightseeing Cruise
Onuma Sightseeing Cruise

After walking some additional trails, we stopped for some very good melon soft cream. Emi opted for squid ink and melon soft cream.

Squid Ink and Melon Soft Cream
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.

Onuma Brewery IPA and Pastries
Onuma Brewery IPA and 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.

Funadama Shrine Hakodate
Funadama Shrine Hakodate

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.

Getting there

Start at Hakodate Station Information center. Purchase a two day Bus/Trolley or streetcar pass. Many of the attractions such as Morning Market, Red Brick Warehouse, and Western Area are all within walking distance of the Station.

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Rey Waters

Rey Waters @rey.waters

Born in the U.S.A. - Worked 30 years in executive management high tech Industry, owned a management consulting firm and a wildlife art publishing company.  In 2012 completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course and published my first article Tower Hopping in Japan with Travel Post Monthly.  Since then I have published travel related articles and books in the U.S., Japan, and Costa Rica. As of 2018 I have traveled all 8 regions in Japan.   My objective in writing articles is to expose prospective tourists to areas of Japan outside the Tokyo - Kyoto corridor.   I enjoy writing about the outdoors, festivals, crafts, museums, local food, history, and the wonderful people I have met along the way. Residing in Yokohama for over eight years, I have explored the entire city by foot and have written about my experiences.   There is so much to see in Japan.

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina a month ago
It looks like Hakodate has foreign influence.
Kim a month ago
I last visited there in 2015 too, would love to revisit at some point!
Elizabeth S a month ago
Wow, it looks like you had a full itinerary for four days.

I've never had squid ink in anything? What's it taste like?
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
It tastes nice :D
Sander van Werkhoven a month ago
Hakodate is such a fun city! Been there three times (twice in summer, once in winter) and always had a great time. And this is some good inspiration for a fourth visit whenever possible again...even though visiting all the unique Lucky Pierrot locations should already be reason enough for that :-)