Dec
7
2012

Hakodate City in Hokkaido

Hakodate City offers a diverse range of attractions besides the famous star-shaped fort Goryokaku, Mt. Hakodate and the famous Morning Market.
Today I want to introduce a few of those various spots of interest to you.

smilie Visited: May 6th 2012 smilie

JR Hakodate Station

This is in front of JR Hakodate Station. From there you can walk to most attractions you’ll see in this post today.

Hakodate City red brick warehouses

Exploring Hakodate City

Just like Kobe and Nagasaki, Hakodate was among the first ports in Japan that opened to international trade.
That’s also the reason why we can find a lot of European / Western-style buildings there today.

Hakodate City red brick warehouses

Right next to the ocean you’ll see several red brick warehouses. They were built in the Meiji era and were remodeled into these buildings.

Hakodate City red brick warehouses

Nowadays they’re used as shopping center with several restaurants.

Hakodate City red brick warehouses

In the background you see Mt. Hakodate and the upper ropeway station / observation platform.

Hakodate City Starbucks

The best thing was that there was a nicely designed Starbucks that blended in well with the red brick warehouses colorwise.

Hakodate City Starbucks

Perfect timing for a little break. As it was still cherry blossom season in Hokkaido, they sold cherry blossom related products like the one above. It was really delicious!

Hakodate city Motomachi Hakodate Motomachi

There are many cute things to discover everywhere.

I loved those tiny cat statues in front of the warehouses, but even the sign that tells you to keep the city clean was cute!

Hakodate City Motomachi Hakodate Motomachi

In Hakodate you’ll also find the first concrete electricity pole that was ever set up.

There are a lot of colorful restaurants and foreign cuisine.

Hakodate Motomachi

And then I ran into something I didn’t expect to find in Hokkaido: A Sakamoto Ryoma statue.

I guess I still have to learn a lot about Japanese history!

Hakodate Motomachi

California Baby? *LOL*
I liked the building next to it with the cute bear that is actually an art museum!

In the background you see Mt. Hakodate again!

Hakodate City Motomachi

A very scenic photo of Hakodate with the cherry blossoms and the tram in the background.

Hakodate City Motomachi

As expected of Hokkaido you could find Ainu related things here and there.

Hakodate City Motomachi Carl Raymon Hakodate Motomachi

In the Motomachi area where you’ll find a lot of Western-style buildings, I found the “Carl W. Raymon Memorial House” (カール・レイモン歴史展示館) which is in the second floor. In the first floor you can buy all sorts of delicious sausages!

Hakodate City Motomachi Carl Raymon

Carl W. Raymond (1894-1987) has been making ham and sausages completely free of preservatives and additives in Hakodate. He was born in a region that belonged to Germany at that time.

Hakodate City Motomachi Hakodate Motomachi

That’s why you can find a lot of typical German sausages there, like white sausage. It is a bit expensive, though. In addition to purchasing these delights, you can sample sausages and sandwiches at the store cafeteria.

Hakodate Motomachi curches

As many cities that opened their port for international trade early on such as Kobe or Nagasaki, Hakodate also has some churches.

Hakodate City Motomachi curches Hakodate City Motomachi curches

The “Chachanobori Slope” is full of churches.

Hakodate City Motomachi curches

This is the biggest and most beautiful church in my opinion: The Russian Orthodox Church (ハリストス正教会).

Hakodate City Motomachi Hakodate Motomachi curches

From the church it’s only a short walk to the ropeway that will bring you up to Mt. Hakodate.

On the right you see the “Motomachi Roman Catholic Church” (元町カトリック教会).

Hakodate City Motomachi curches

That’s how the scenery looks on a fine day. Doesn’t look Japanese at all. If you showed me that photo I’d say it’s a city somewhere in Europe!

Hakodate City Motomachi Hakodate Motomachi curches

Saint Nikolai and another small church with a nice design.

It’s the “St. Johnis Church” (函館ヨハネ教会). The roof is shaped like a cross when viewed from above.

 

There are more things to discover in Motomachi (元町) such as the Old British Consulate which is open to the public as a memorial hall conveying the history behind the opening of Hakodate’s Port.
Another popular attraction is the Old Public Hall (旧公会堂), a European-style building which housed Hakodate’s government in the early 1900’s. There’s also the Higashi Honganji Temple (東本願寺) and the Foreign Cemetery (外国人墓地).

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to visit those.

Hakodate City Motomachi

Here’s a shot taken from the entrance of the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway Station. In the background you can see the churches I visited earlier.

Hakodate City Gokoku Shrine

Just a few steps away from the ropeway station and the churches was this big shrine: Gokoku Shrine (護国神社).

You’ll find a graveyard there which houses the remains of the imperial dead following the Battle of Hakodate, as well as the remains of the Choshu rebels that died in the Satsuma Rebellion – although their memorials are not open to the public.

Hakodate City Gokoku Shrine ema

The shrine also had a small hall featuring a huge variety of ema.

Hakodate City Gokoku Shrine ema

Among them were some really old and interesting ones.

Hakodate City Gokoku Shrine ema

This was a very interesting one – apparently released in the year of the snake (2013 will be the year of the snake again!), offering good luck and protection for many things such as success in school and safe driving.

Hakodate City Gokoku Shrine ema

This looks kind of scary.

Hakodate City Park

Not too far from the shrine was “Hakodate Park” – a big park that was full of cherry blossom trees.

Hakodate City Park

In the park were also a few small Western-style buildings and the City Museum.

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi

You can either walk for a while or take the tram to get to Cape Tachimachi (立待岬).

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi

The fence along the cape (in order for visitors not to fall down into the ocean, I guess) was really cute with squid images!

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi

You can see the Tsugaru Strait and the area constantly faces strong winds. From the clifftop you can see the waves crashing against the rocks.

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi

The view from the cape made it an important lookout spot for foreign ships back then.

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi

Hokkaido is still very cold in May and with the strong winds it was pretty chilly up there.

Hakodate City Cape Tachimachi Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine

On the left you see the stone that marks Cape Tachimachi. Not too far away from the nearest tram station was a small Hachimangu Shrine (函館八幡宮) that I visited on my way back from the cape.

Hakodate City Hachimangu Shrine

It was about to get dark so there was nobody around at that time.

Hakodate City Hachimangu Shrine

Just one woman praying in the typical shaped main building of a Hachimangu Shrine.

By the time I was back at the tram station it was already dark. I was off to JR Hakodate Station to leave Hokkaido again.

My next stop was Morioka before I left for Hiraizumi, both in Iwate Prefecture – I visited both on the same day which was also my last vacation day.

Stay tuned for the last few posts of my Golden Week Spring Vacation in Tohoku (and Hokkaido)! smilie

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