Because Hakodate is close to Aomori Prefecture it’s commonly considered the point that connects the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu. Despite being located in Hokkaido it is fairly warm, and during the summer months the temperature stays pleasantly cool.
The city of Hakodate opened its port in the year 1859, and the resulting intake of Western culture influenced the architecture of many buildings. Notable tourist areas include the Ekimae and Motomachi districts, as well as the Goryokaku district. The Ekimae and Motomachi districts include attractions such as the “Hakodate Orthodox Church” which is specified as an Important Cultural Asset by the country of Japan, the “Motomachi Roman Catholic Church” which was constructed in the early Meiji period, and the “Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse” which is a shopping center constructed out of former warehouses. When night falls you can visit the Mt. Hakodate Observatory to enjoy the night scenery of Hakodate, commonly considered to be one of the most beautiful night views in the world.
Hakodate has two symbolic locations: one is the port, and the other is the Goryokaku. The Goryokaku is a star-shaped fortress that is designated as a special historic ruins site by Japan. Commonly known as Goryokaku Park, it is an area beloved by the city’s people. During spring over 1,600 cherry trees bloom in the park, an event which gathers numerous visitors from outside the prefecture for hanami. If you visit Goryokaku Park be sure to take a visit to Goryokaku Tower, which is a 15 minute walk from the park. You can gaze down over the star-shaped park from the tower, and at night you can also enjoy seeing Goryokaku lit up.
For traveling around the area it’s convenient to use a car, but you can also utilize limited public transportation that runs within the immediate vicinity of Hakodate Station. The nearest Shinkansen station is Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station; from that station it’s about a 20 minute ride via local train to Hakodate Station. If you’re visiting by airplane the shortest journey is a 3-hour plane trip from Tokyo.
Tourism information: Hakodate