Today was a great start to the day because it was snowing lightly as I left the house to walk to the subway station. I had planned a day trip to Hakodate which is a 4h train ride away from Sapporo. It is located in the western part of Hokkaido region and by the end of the year, there will be a new shinkansen ( bullet train ) from Tokyo to Hakodate, making it more accessible.
Built on a narrow strip of land between Hakodate Harbour to the west and the Tsugaru Strait to the east, hourglass-shaped Hakodate is the southern gateway to the island of Hokkaidō. Under the Kanagawa Treaty of 1854, the city was one of the first ports to open up to international trade, and as such hosted a small foreign community. Much of that influence can still be seen in the Motomachi district, a steep hillside that is sprinkled with wooden buildings and brick churches. You can also get a sense of history by riding nostalgic trams through the orderly streets, or by watching the squid boats, with their traditional lantern lights, bob gently in the bay.
We did not ride the tram because it was quite easy to navigate the city on foot. There were times when the cold wind was blowing so strongly and we had to hide in some buildings to warm up. I had a sense of how important Hakodate was as a port city with historic ties to America and Europe in the past. There are lots of fresh seafood and tourists can enjoy the seafood cooked on the spot at the seafood market.
We had a seafood rice bowl (500¥) with 5 types of ingredients, super worth it! I wanted to try the Hokkaidō crab but it is live and too expensive. Then we walked around the port area to admire the brick buildings and also the Russian orthodox church. Basically we covered the main sights of Hakodate within the whole afternoon before taking the second last train back to Sapporo. It was a fun day trip! The cable ropeway to the summit of Mt Hakodate offers spectacular views of the city, but it is too expensive (12000¥ round trip). I heard that the night view of the city is the best, but we had seen it in many pictures and didn’t find it that worth it to go up.
|lots of fresh seafood|
|beautiful roads lead towards the port of Hakodate|
|Russian orthodox church|