the ULTIMATE guide to understand HAKODATE, Japan
Hello everybody, my name is Tripcompany And here is Goryokaku fortress, the most famous structure in whole Hakodate. Hakodate is the biggest city in Southern Hokkaido Also the frontier city of modern Hokkaido But the most famous thing in this city is not this fortress It is a million dollar scenery In this video, I will tell you almost thing about Hakodate What it is, where it is, how to go, what to do, kind of that Yes, it is time to discover this fantastic city Hakodate is the center of southern Hokkaido. It is in the same prefecture with Sapporo but because Hokkaido is such a large island 150 kilometers in a straight line and over 300 kilometers on roads. You can really feel the enormity of Hokkaido. it is just a journey from the midwest to the south, not tip to the tip With a population of about 260,000 people You'd have to double the population of Otaru to even come close to Hakodate.
So when I describe a trip to Hakodate it's a mid-sized city, not a small town. Small town is a city like Furano, which has population of 20,000. Hakodate is the most historic city in Hokkaido. It's not just because it's close to Honshu but it's also interesting to look at the background. When American Admiral Matthew Perry led a group of warships at Tokyo bay Japan opened its doors to the United States and Hakodate was chosen as the one of opening ports The location was perfect. First of all, it controls the Tsugaru Strait.
This is still one of East Asia's important choke point. It's not even in Japan's territorial waters, even though it's between the main Japanese islands. The Strait of Malacca between Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia is a similar case. And in the Tsugaru Strait, Mount Hakodate forms a natural bay. so they were able to build a harbor without much effort.
And so Hakodate became a city where Western powers came and operated. and the Japanese government took care of it because it was a money center. Goryokaku, the Hakodate's famous fortress, is a prime example. Of course, the center of Hokkaido was quickly taken over by Sapporo, which had a much better location.
Now the former junior city of Sapporo is much bigger than Hakodate. But Hakodate is still the gateway to southern Hokkaido, and that's physically forever. And Hakodate's industry is not very important in Japan but it's one of the most attractive cities in Japan So let's take a look at how this Hakodate is now organized. The first area to explore is around Hakodate Station This is the beginning and end of almost every trip to Hakodate.
Hakodate is just a mid-sized city but Japan is the kingdom of railway So the station is nicely built. The most common hotels are located around this station. In terms of tourism, you should check out the morning market next to the station. It's a local seafood market like the Sapporo Nijo Market and the Otaru Triangle Market. They sell a lot of different seafood, but what Hakodate is really famous for is squid.
Whether you're eating seafood bowl or anything else, make sure to include squid, it's delicious. And then there's the minimalist downtown area. with a number of independent izakaya as well as restaurants. There's even a bar street called Daimon Yokocho. It's a great place to realize you are really in Japan Next up is Goryokaku, which really stands out on the map. It's a modern fortress built by the Japanese government and it's shaped like a star to make it easier to withstand bombardment.
It's called a Bastion fort. To be honest, the fortress itself can be quite disappointing. It doesn't have a high tower like other castles. It's very bland. And the unusual shape is not visible from the inside. So the best place to experience Goryokaku is not inside the fortress.
but at the Goryokaku Tower, which is a paid observatory. It's the only place where you can really see the star shape closely. There's also a cafe inside and several historical exhibits.
but just being able to see the star-shaped fortress is overwhelming. There are no tall buildings around, so you can also see the city of Hakodate too It's a very different feeling from Mount Hakodate, which I'll explain later. And there are other things to do around here You can also find some of Hakodate's most famous restaurants next to the fortress. There's Ajisai, which represents Hakodate style Shio ramen. There's also a branch of a local fast food chain called Lucky Pierrot.
I'll come back to Shio ramen and lucky Pierrot in the next part. Finally, on the way to Goryokaku Koenmae, it means Park Front. This is the city's main downtown area, along with Hakodate Station. This downtown is bigger than the station.
There's one of the few Starbucks, a pretty big shopping mall, classic department store and a bit of nightlife that the station side doesn't have. But when you add it all up, it's not exactly wow. You don't have to stay here. Next up is the Bay Area, south of Hakodate Station.
You should find Kanemori Akarenga warehouses These were warehouses attached to a port facility, similar to the Otaru warehouses. but now it's a tourist area. The difference is that it's not on a canal, it's actually on the ocean. and it's much more commercialized.
In Otaru, there's not much to see, eat, or shop on the canal itself. But in Hakodate, a bunch of warehouses have been renovated into malls and restaurants. There's a Starbucks, there's souvenir shops. and two Lucky Pierrot stores. It's a real famous spot.
I wouldn't call it downtown, but it's a good tourist area. The La Vista Hotel here is one of the most famous hotels in Hakodate. Hakodate also has a cool hot spring town in its territory It's not as far as much as Noboribetsu It's in the east of Hakodate, in the city center In front of the airport, and it's called Yunokawa. There are ryokans, not super big, but good sized with marvelous ocean view But the day spas are much as ryokans so it's hard to go there for the onsen unless you're staying overnight. There's a tropical botanical garden around here, and there are monkeys Many of them take bath in hot spring in the winter. If you're in the Yunokawa area, you should definitely check this place out.
And the last area, Motomachi and Mount Hakodate. When Hakodate was opened, port facilities and commercial areas were built on the bay. And at the foot of the mountain overlooking them, buildings were built for people in high class. This is a feature shared by other opening ports such as Nagasaki and Kobe. Nagasaki has the Oura Catholic Church and Western mansions on the hills.
Kobe has Kitano Ijinkan on the hill. If you've been to those places, it's interesting to compare the feeling in Hakodate. These neighborhoods are collectively called Motomachi district. Let's start with Motomachi Park. The former Hakodate Public Hall is a landmark in its own right. You can enter to the inside.
It's a building used by dignitaries when they visited Hakodate. There's a banquet hall inside and a nice balcony. You can see the city of Hakodate beautifully. And Hachiman-zaka on the way here. It's very popular because it has a great view of the downhill and the Bay Area. And finally, the church district with its cathedrals and churches.
There's not a lot of them, only three. But again, it's on a hill, so the views are beautiful. It's interesting to see the mix of Japanese and Western architecture in this area. You can try to figure out which parts are Japanese and which ones are Western Now we're finally ready to head up the Mount Hakodate and its observatory.
You can take the ropeway near the church. It's a bit pricey at 1,800 yen round trip. But the view is worth the price. From the top, you can see not only the city, but also the sea to the west. There are also a few restaurants and cafes along the way. In many ways, it's a highlight of a trip to Hakodate And the other side of the city, Yachigashira, there are a few small attractions.
First up is Hakodate Park, one of the oldest parks in Japan. There's also a quiet shrine called Hachiman-gung Shrine. And then there's Yachigashira Onsen, which is a completely local bathhouse. The only downside is that you have to bring your own towel and shower supplies. At the end of it is Tachimachi Cape ㅈhere Korean women suicide during the Japanese occupation of Korea Overall, the spots south of the ropeway are not essential stops on a short trip.
But if you're staying for more than two nights and have time to spare I'd recommend visit this area Isn't it the number one reason people come to Hakodate? This is the highlight of the trip Hakodate's night view is traditionally known as one of the 3 best in Japan, along with Kobe and Nagasaki. The big three is just a typical title that Japanese people like to use. You shouldn't think that this place is actually more great than Tokyo or Osaka.
You may just understand, "Oh, the night view is amazing.” Here's why I think Hakodate's night view is awesome. The sea is good. The city is also good. So when you see the sea and the city together, it's doubly good. Hakodate is a sandwich of a sea city and a sea.
A man-made harbor on the left and a natural beach on the right with the city in the middle. This is indeed the best thing about Hakodate. The food is as delicious as the night view.
Especially Lucky Pierrot I mentioned in Goryokaku and Bay Area. This local chain has several stores in Hakodate. The store design is so colorful , you'll notice it everywhere you go. It's even crazier than Don Quixote.
But the food is more than that, it's yummy. The essence it their Chinese chicken burger The combination of fried chicken and spicy sauce, mayo and lettuce. and the savory bun, my mouth is still watering. I don't think you can leave Hakodate without trying this. There are many other menu items, such as the curry and egg burger They are basically delicious.
but they can't match the flavor and impact of a Chinese chicken burger. If you go to Pierrot for the first time, you should definitely get the Chinese chicken burger. Another specialty is the Shio ramen. Shio means salt in Japan So it's a simple salted ramen The broth is a chicken broth that can be balanced with just salt. You may know Tonkotsu ramen of Fukuoka with white pork bone broth and Tokyo-style Shoyu ramen and Sapporo miso ramen. If you just had only savory or salty ramen like that Then you try to eat a light Shio ramen, it would be a culture shock for you “Oh my goodness. Is this a ramen too?”
And then there's a shop that I would personally recommend. Kantaro Sushi on Omori Beach It's a conveyor belt sushi restaurant overlooking the beach. I'm not sure what makes this place so special. It's just really, really good.
It costs about 3,000 yen per person, but considering the price. it was one of the best sushi I've had in my entire trip around Japan. It's a little hard to get there for a day or one night trip but if you have more than 2 nights, you should definitely try this. Also, there is Tennen Onsen at Global View Hotel. It's heavenly to eat sushi and take a bath.
As a port city born in the modern era, Hakodate has a lot to offer. It's similar to Otaru, which has a similar history, but it's a little more diverse. First of all, there are observation decks at Mount Hakodate and Goryokaku. There are a lot of shrines and temples, and a lot of modern buildings. Bay Area’s Akarenga warehouses are also very interesting and different.
Yunokawa Onsen is also quite unique in Hokkaido, which has a lot of inland hot springs. Yunokawa is a seaside hot spring town. So when you leave Hakodate and look back on your memories.
you'll be happy that you did so many different things. This is probably the biggest barrier to Hakodate. It's a too long way from Sapporo And that distance combines with Japan's expensive transportation The cost of trip is so expensive in terms of time and money both Train: 9,000 yen one way, bus: 4,500 yen one way It's not exactly a trip to the outskirts of Sapporo. You should make a big decision before visit Hakodate Considering that similar Otaru is an hour from Sapporo and costs 700 yen one way. you realize how high the barrier to entry is in Hakodate.
It's almost like traveling between two different regions Hakodate faces Tsugaru Strait The terrain is generally windy. That made a lot of fire damages to Hakodate Fire starts every city but Hakodate people couldn’t control it. And there are also quite a few clouds, especially in winter. It's more noticeable compared to Tokyo, which has dry winters and lots of sunny days.
These two things combine to make travel disappointing. You go to Hakodate for the night view, but you can't see the cityscape. There are two cases.
The wind is blowing so hard that the cable car is not running. Or it's cloudy and the cable car is running, but you can't see the city. I think the second is more disappointing because you pay the money to go up, and then you get your hope up, and then it is dashed. If it's windy, you just give up quickly It doesn't just end at Mt. Hakodate. A big part of traveling in Hakodate is enjoying the scenery.
Former Motomachi Public Hall overlooks the Bay Area. Goryokaku Tower overlooks the fortress and the city. You can’t enjoy that with huge clouds I don't care about other seasons, but if you go to Hakodate in December or January.
I would say that don’t expect too much. Hakodate is a medium-sized city with an airport. I don't think many people fly to Hakodate from Sapporo. A round-trip flight costs over 18,000 yen, so why would you go crazy? so if you plan to visit Hakodate from Sapporo. Buy the Hokkaido Railway Pass.
Take the limited express Hokuto from Sapporo to Hakodate and spend a day or two days in here. Then return to Sapporo and go to Biei or Furano this is definitely a pass that covers all Hokkaido, you should go there too The bus from Sapporo to Hakodate costs less than 5,000 yen, which is cheaper than the train. The bus ride takes 6 hours, so it's a bit long for a short trip. As for airplanes, even if you fly in and out at Hakodate, it's tricky.
There is only few international routes from here to overseas. However, if you're coming from Tokyo or Osaka, you may try a domestic flight. In this case, the Tokyo-Hakodate Shinkansen costs about 23,000 yen and takes 4.5 hours. so the airplane has the edge in terms of price and time.
Also, Hakodate Airport is very close to the city center. So in a foreigner's trip so Hakodate, the way which is competing with flight is East Japan and South Hokkaido Railway pass Starting from Tokyo, you can ride JR throughout the Tohoku region and up to Sapporo. 35,000 yen for six days, it's short and expensive. But you can stop in anywhere in Sendai, Aomori, Akita And it's neat to get out of Sapporo at the end.
Transportation in the city is by tram and bus. The tram routes are very simple as you can see. You just tap your IC card and hop on. And from Hakodate Station, there are tourist circulator buses that doesn't show up well on Google Maps. There are quite a few different routes.
Some go around the Bay Area, others go to the cable car station. If you want more information, you can visit their website. There are also two types of passes: bus-only and bus-tram.
If you think you're going to take more than four or five rides in a day, you can buy one. But I actually don't think you need that. For example, you go from the station to Goryokaku. and then you go to the Bay Area, then the Mt. Hakodate observatory.
So that's two or three rides. The pass can be inefficient. You don't want to walk even a small distance, then buy it And another tip: tram is cool but slow. Even if you're moving on the same road as a bus, it's much slower. Top speed and acceleration are both slow If you have a lot of time to spare, I don't care what you take. but if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, take the bus for the same distance. So that's my introduction to Hakodate! Let's summarize what you learned today.
Yes this is it. Now you learned about Hakodate itself Actually to travel Hakodate is not easy It is very far from Sapporo, also very far from Tokyo But I just hope you make a good memory in here This place where I finish this video is the stage of 1m dollar scenery, Mt. Hakodate Thank you for watching this lone video and Thank you again