By Rey Waters
Hakodate Station is one of those places that make you thankful for the rail traveling experience in Japan. It also creates a certain level of frustration at the fact that the place you call home can’t provide the same level of service and convenience.
After a week in Sapporo I hopped on a Limited Express Hokuto Train that would see me arrive at my final destination in just over three hours. Upon disembarking the train, after waking up just in time to see my train gently pull into the station, I entered the main arrivals hall and quickly headed to the second level by escalator.
I was looking for a quick bite to eat and thankfully found a nice restaurant on the upper level and a Japan Post ATM that accepted internally-issued credit and debit cards. Belly full and wallet replenished, I headed back to the main level with the intent of checking into my hotel located a mere 100 meters from the station.
Before heading out the main exit I turned to my left to find the large travel center and tourist information headquarters. I picked up an English-language map and spoke to one of the office clerks about the best way to get around Hakodate. It was suggested that I head out on foot in the immediate vicinity to visit the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway, the historical Motomachi District with its western style buildings and churches and the nearby morning market and Ekini Fish Market (100 meters from the station). If I wanted to head to Goryokaku Park or sites further out, the city bus or tram would be my best bet. Conveniently – and unsurprisingly – the bus stations hitting all major points in the city were located next to Hakodate Station and the tram lines had stops on the street adjacent to the bus area.
My last question was in regards to my hotel, the Hotel Route Inn Grantia Hakodate Ekimae, and where exactly it was in proximity to the station. The friendly clerk asked me to turn around and then pointed over my shoulder to my nearby accommodation. I exited the station and past the large, red art installation and within one minute I arrived at my hotel, relaxed and ready to explore Hakodate.
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