View of the town of Hakodate with Mt. Hakodate in the background, in Hakodate, Japan
SAKE, SUSHI, STEAM REPEAT

Cruise to Hakodate, Japan

Hakodate overflows with historic architecture and steamy hot springs . Located along Hokkaido's southwestern tip, it's the perfect spot to begin exploring this island's unique history and culture during your vacation. Cruise to Hakodate and start your day at the morning Hakodate-Asaichi, or Morning Market, and tuck into a hearty kaisendon, a bowl of ultra-fresh sashimi fish over steamed rice. Then, relax with a soak in the Yunokawa hot springs on Hakodate's outskirts, or check out Goryokaku Fort — the nearby tower lets you take in a bird's-eye view of the star-shaped design surrounded by a moat. And don't leave without taking in the million-dollar views of the city from atop Mt. Hakodate.
National Language Japanese
Currency Accepted Japanese Yen (JPY)

Things To Do in Hakodate

Million Dollar View, the view from atop Mt. Hakodate in Hakodate, Japan

Million-Dollar View

Million Dollar View, the view from atop Mt. Hakodate in Hakodate, Japan

Million Dollar View, the view from atop Mt. Hakodate in Hakodate, Japan

Million-Dollar View

It may be only 334 meters high, but Mt. Hakodate has stunning views of the city of Hakodate and the surrounding waters. Known as the "million-dollar view," it's one of Japan's best-known spots for panoramic vistas. A gondola will get you to the observation deck in three minutes, and a hike takes around 45.

Aerial view of Goryokaku Park, a star shaped fort in Hakodate, Japan

Remains of a Lost Republic

Aerial view of Goryokaku Park, a star shaped fort in Hakodate, Japan

Aerial view of Goryokaku Park, a star shaped fort in Hakodate, Japan

Remains of a Lost Republic

The Goryokaku is a unique star-shaped fort built in the mid-19th century by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect Hakodate from Western powers. In 1869, former samurai established the Republic of Ezo here before imperial troops defeated them six months later. Today, the fort is a leafy oasis surrounded by more than 1,000 cherry trees that bloom in spring.

Kanemori red brick warehouse, bay-side godowns,  and ferry boat in Hakodate, Japan
Kanemori red brick warehouse, bay-side godowns, and ferry boat in Hakodate, Japan

The Lowdown on Godowns

The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse is a beautifully preserved group of bay-side godowns — a term for warehouses derived from an Indian dialect — dating to the early 20th century. Today, these buildings offer an eclectic mix of shopping and dining, but even their architecture makes them worth a stop.

Kaisendon, seafood bowl of crab, tobiko caviar, tuna, and more, in Hakodate, Japan
Kaisendon, seafood bowl of crab, tobiko caviar, tuna, and more, in Hakodate, Japan

Local Cuisine

Hakodate is a seafood lover's utopia. Cruise to Hakodate and drop anchor near the asaichi (morning market) south of Hakodate Station, and you'll find a myriad of eateries offering marine delicacies such as king crab, sushi and uni (sea urchin). If in doubt, try Maruyama Shoten's kaisendon (seafood bowl) of raw uni, squid, salmon and roe over rice.

Close up of makisu, sushi roller mats, in Hakodate, Japan
Close up of makisu, sushi roller mats, in Hakodate, Japan

Shopping

Celebrate Hokkaido's oceanic heritage with a cute squid-themed souvenir — favorites ranges from stuffed animals to keychains. Take home traditional Hokkaido handmade wooden items, such as spoons, bowls, placemats and other kitchenware, or pick up a bar of specialty soap made from Hokkaido-sourced materials: The local seaweed is thought to take exfoliation to the next level. Seek out these and other distinctive trinkets at the shops at Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse during your visit.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 There's no tipping in Japan, but you'll face an 8 percent sales tax everywhere except major retailers, which often have tax-fee shopping campaigns.
2 Attractions in Hakodate can be crowded with travelers and school tours, so arrive as early as possible to avoid congestion.
3 If you're planning to head atop Mount Hakodate, pack a jacket even in warmer weather — it can get windy at the summit.

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