Not being one to overly enjoy popular sightseeing locations, I’d never been to the tourist-bustling city of Hakodate before. But despite my reservations about its popularity with hoards of Asian tourists, it was an overwhelmingly worthwhile place to visit. The old star-shaped fortress and its painstakingly reconstructed magistrate’s building is moving. The night-view is actually quite stunning. And the red-brick port area is very tastefully developed. Highly recommended.
The day really couldn’t have started better. Sure, there was a definite chill on the air, but the morning sun was on point.
Like most mornings, we started the day with Haidee’s awesome toasted muesli, softened with a little boiling water. Of course there was mokapot coffee too.
The approach into Hakodate City was a good reminder that Hakodate is not just about tourism. It is a large, functioning city, with one of the largest cement factories I’ve ever seen. This massive behemoth of a factory dominates the view for most of the way into Hakodate from the southwest. This, coupled with a busy road and narrow shoulders, makes the approach into Hakodate from this direction not the most relaxing of routes on a bicycle.
We rewarded our efforts in getting into the city by having conveyor-belt sushi for lunch. This particular place had a touch-screen ordering system, which worked well to eliminate most interaction between staff and customer.
Post lunch, we carried on into the city and went into sightseeing mode. The sights, such as the 30-story viewing platform above the star-shaped fortress, and the reconstructed magistrate’s building, cost money. But they really are very much worth it.
In particular, the reconstructed magistrate’s building is spectacular. The craftsmanship is immaculate. It must have cost a small fortune to recreate this place.
Being a large public park, it is possible to cycle around the fortress, which is a great way to get a feel for the place.
That evening in Hakodate, we stayed at a hotel just down from the ropeway. The hotel was called Hotel Hakodate-Yama, and was the only one on the eastern slopes of this western-quarter of the city. Despite this prime location, and the masses of Asian tourists at the top of the ropeway, the hotel seemed mostly empty. It was perfect for us to wander to the ropeway and take in the views from the top.