Hakodate (函館市) is a port city and southern gateway to Hokkaido. It has a population of approximately 300,000. It was Japan's first city whose port was opened to foreign trade in 1854, as a result of Convention of Kanagawa, and used to be the most important port in northern Japan.
Asaichi is a morning market housed a couple of bayfront buildings with rows of vendors selling a variety of fresh seafood, vegetables and fruits. The main attraction is the huge selection of Hokkaidō's famous crabs. The market opens at 5 am every morning. Next to the market are a number of restaurants, most of which specialize in seafood-topped donburi (rice bowl). The area is served by JR lines at Hakodate Station.
Motomachi, at the foot of Mount Hakodate, is a historic district. In 1854, as Japan's era of isolation was coming to an end, the harbor of Hakodate was one of the first to open up to foreign trade. Traders and merchants from Russia, China and Western countries flocked into Hakodate and the Motomachi soon became a desirable area to live for foreign residents. As a result, Many foreign looking buildings remain in the area today, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Old British Consulate, the Chinese Memorial Hall, and the old Hakodate Public Hall.
The Kanemori (red brick warehouses) is a legacy from past trading days when Hakodate Port first opened to international trade towards the end of the Edo Period (1600-1867). Today, the warehouses have been redeveloped into a trendy shopping, dining and entertainment complex. It also features a restaurant, a beer hall, a chapel for weddings and sightseeing cruises of the bay.
This Catholic church was founded in 1877 and the current structure was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1924. The magnificent altar was gifted to Japan by Pope Benedicta XV, and it is the one and only in Japan.
Consecrated as a chapel in 1859, the Hakodateharisutosusei Church is a Russian Orthodox church. St. Nicholas of Japan brought Orthodox Christianity to Japan in the 19th century. As one of few points of Japanese contact with the outside world, Hakodate was host to several overseas consulates. The Russian consulate included a chapel from where Nicholas of Japan is credited with introducing Eastern Orthodox Christianity to Japan in 1861 (now the Japanese Orthodox Church). The exterior of the church was designed in the Russian Byzantine style and the church lights up at night, providing an elegant and dramatic view.
Built in 1927, Trappistine Monastery is a Catholic convent. It was established as the first convent in Japan by Bishop A. Berlioz. The building features a mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles, evident in the red brick exterior and the semicircular-arched windows. It contains a garden and a museum exhibiting photographs.
Goryokaku is a pentagon-shaped fort and was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo. Goryokaku was designed in 1855 and its shape allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress. Goryokaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War. After the fort had lost its military importance, it was eventually turned into a public park in the 1910s. Today, it is a Special Historical Site and is home to the Hakodate city museum. The grounds are a popular spot for cherry-blossom viewing in spring.
Steps away from the Goryokaku Fort, Goryokaku Tower stands at 107 metres. From the observatory, visitors get a panoramic view of downtown Hakodate, the Tsugaru Strait, and Mt. Yokotsu. There are also exhitibs showcasing the history of Goryokaku and a souvenir shop.
The Mashumaru was one of the Seikan railway ferries that operated between Hokkaido and Honshu until 1988. It played an important role in the building of railway and the Second World War. Now the retired ship has been turned into a floating memorial and museum at the port. It also include an exhibit on vintage cars.
Cape Tachimachi is a scenic sopt located at the base of Mt. Hakodate. The cape was once used as a lookout point for ships approaching Hakodate during the Edo Period. It is famous for its splendid views of the Omorihama coastline and rugged cliffs. On a clear day, the Honshu island, the Tsugaru Peninsula and Straight can be seen.