What to Expect
Hakodate is the southern tip of Hokkaido and started developing earlier than any other city in Hokkaido, even earlier than Sapporo. You first head for Morning Market near the station to enjoy watching over 250 shops selling various kinds of things like fresh and dried seafoods, vegetables and fruits. There are also seafood restaurants there as well. Then you head for Mt. Hakodate. Cable cars are operated to take you to the mountaintop, where you can see the panoramic view of the city and the harbor. Then you stroll in Motomachi district, where you can see some old churches such as Russian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Hakodate Episcopal Church and United Church of Christ. You can also see some old historical buildings around there. After lunch you go to Bay area with Old Brick Warehouses (now renovated as shops and restaurants) before you head for Goryokaku Tower, where you can see the city from a different angle and the pentagonal-shaped fort below. You also visit the Old Magistrate's Office and learn about Hakodate War.
Description of each spot
①Hakodate Morning Market
This market started about 70 years ago, and there are about 250 shops in the market now. It's open from early in the morning till around two in the afternoon. They sell various kinds of things; not just fresh seafood but vegetables, fruit and dried seafood like squid and kelp. There are some seafood restaurants as well.
The mountain is 334 meters high or about 1,000 feet high. It's said that its height and circumference are almost the same as those of Ayers Rock in Australia. Mt. Hakodate was an island about 5,000 years ago. Later the island was connected to the main land with a sandbar or tombolo. You can enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the mountain top.
Hakodate was one of the first ports in Japan to open its doors to foreign trade, some 150 years ago. Motomachi was the first area really to flourish back then, with a Western-influenced streetscape which remains to this day. Here you can stroll down the street in the district, where you can see some old churches such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Hakodate Episcopal Church that stand on the scenic slopes from where you can see a beautiful view of the Hakodate Port.
④Kanemori Old Brick Warehouses
The warehouse was built about 100 years ago and then renovated for shops and restaurants. The retro brick building holds stores that sell sweets, groceries, accessories, knick-knacks, etc. An electrical appliance store, LAOX, and a samurai goods store are popular, especially among foreign tourists.
There are the remains of Japan's first western-style fort in Goryokaku Park. 'Goryokaku' literally means pentagonal-shaped fort. You can see this shape from the observatory of Goryokaku Tower. This fort was built in 1864, about 150 years ago, and it's designated as a special historical site by the Japanese government. The local government at that time built this fort to protect themselves and even local people in case they were invaded by other countries.