The City of Hakodate Guide

Hakodate City (Hakodate-shi) was founded in 1454, when Kono Kaganokami Masamichi, the head of a powerful family, built a palace built at the foot of Mt. Hakodate. The place was called Hakodate because the palace was shaped like a box (hako). The Sino-Japanese characters used to write it were changed to the present ones in 1869. Following the conclusion of the Japan-U.S. Peace Treaty in 1854 and the Japan-U.S. Trade Treaty in 1858, Japan ended its long period of isolation. The city opened its port as the third international trading port in Japan, following the ports of Yokohama and Nagasaki. Hakodate has been quick to welcome Western culture since then and has developed as a city with a unique cityscape where Japanese and Western cultures stand in harmony.

With a population of 300,000, Hakodate is the third-largest city in Hokkaido. It spreads from the foot of Mt. Hakodate in the southeast to the sandbar in the northeast of the Hakodate Peninsula. It is probably most famous for its beautiful night view from atop Mt. Hakodate. Hakodate was one of the first three ports in Japan to be opened to trade after the Meiji Restoration, and it retains traces of foreign influence today. It is still Hokkaido’s main port, and with its romantic and exotic atmosphere, has become a popular tourist center. The Seikan Tunnel has also made this city the railway gateway to Hokkaido. Not far from Hakodate Station, the Niceday Inn is a homey, inexpensive place to stay, (about Y3000), and a good place to get information. There are many great restaurants near the harbor to choose from. If you’re strolling by the bay, check out the three kinds of beer at Hakodate Beer on Uoichiba-dori.

The night view from Mt. Hakodate is very popular and famous. It rivals those of Hong Kong and Naples as the greatest night view in the world. The mountain (elev. 332 m) is also called Mt. Gagyu (reclining cow) because of its appearance. It was closed to the public until the end of World War II, as it was a military fortification. Today, many tourists visit the mountain to enjoy the panoramic view of the streets of Hakodate and the Tsugaru Straits. It takes only three minutes to the top of the mountain by the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway, which ascends at 7 m/sec. Bus service also is available, for those who would like to enjoy the scenery of Hakodate while going up the steep slope. Night in indigo blue is also superb. The dark horizon of Tsugaru Strait is scattered with fishing boats, blurred and shimmering like starts in the sea.

The cliffs of Cape Tachimachi, jutting out at the southern foot of Mt. Hakodate, have a flow structure that formed Mt. Hakodate a million years ago. They fall sharply to the sea. The place is known as a scenic spot overlooking Omori Beach, Yunokawa Hot Spring Resort and even the Shimokita Peninsula across the Tsugaru Strait. In the vicinity are the family tomb of Takuboku Ishikawa, and a monument in memory of Tekkan and Akiko Yosano, inscribed with poems that recall how they deepened their friendship.

From Mt. Hakodate and Cape Tachimachi, lights can be seen dotting the Tsugaru Strait at night. These are the lights of squid fishing boats, a famous feature of Hakodate. The boats are most numerous from early summer to autumn, forming a pageant of lights. They leave the port at dusk and return at dawn. The morning market near JR Hakodate Station, filled with the patter of shopkeepers in their Hakodate dialect, is crowded with people buying freshly caught squid. The market, which covers 30,000 m2, offers fish and shellfish caught in Hakodate, as well as other delicacies gathered from throughout Hokkaido. It is busy with locals and tourists from 5 a.m. until after midday.

Morning and Jiyu Markets
These markets attract many visitors by offering a wide range of fresh seafood and vegetables at reasonable prices. The morning market is two minutes walk from JR Hakodate Station and Jiyu Market is a ten-minute walk from walk from JR Hakodate Station.

Hakodate Tourist Information

  • Hakodate Western and Station Area Map
  • Hakodate Western and Station Area Map
  • Hakodate Goryokaku Area Map
  • Hakodate Yunokawa Area Map
    • Masumae and Esashi were the political and economic centers of Hokkaido in the Edo period. The area around Onuma is a Quasi-National Park, and Esan is an area of exceptional natural beauty. The traffic network is well developed, and the Seikan tunnel carries many passengers to and from Hokkaido.
      Access To Onuma: 45 min from JR Hakodate Station or JR Onuma Koen Station (5min walk to excursion boat dock)

      • This park is located thirty kilometers north of Hakodate. Within the park, Lake Onuma, Lake Konuma and Lake Junsainuma were created by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Komagatake. One hundred and twenty-six uninhabited islands dot the lakes. Lake Onuma’s winding shore and the many green islands in the lake, along with the reflection of Mt. Komagatake, create a magnificent view. A path encircles the lake and connects some of the islands. Boats and bicycles can be rented.Access: 2hrs 49min (8070 yen) to JR Onuma Koen Station from Sapporo Station.
      • Mt. Hokkaido Komagatake (Oshima Fuji)
      • Ezo deer wander free around the sister lake of Lake Onuma. In Lake Konuma there are three small islands, which are the winter homes to many swans. The nearby Mt. Higurashi, is well known as a fine observation spot. It can be reached from the Lake within an hour.
      • Mt. Esan is famous for its two peaks. Azaleas and other alpine plants grow freely here. There are many rustic hot springs and traditional fishing villages in the area around Esan.
      • Nabetsuru Iwa Rock (Pot Handle Rock), Okushiri Island

Hakodate, the tourist city with great nature and attractive culture!

The second edition of Michelin Green Guide Japan introduced the view from Mt. Hakodate as three stars. Michelin Green Guide Japan is a travel guide published by Michelin evaluates the attractiveness ot tourist spots around Japan based a system or one, two and three stars. The French language second edition was published in May 13. 2011.

An evaluation In Michelln Green Guide is based on nine unique criteria, and tourist spots are awarded zero to three stars based on suitability for tourists. The second edition or Michelin Green Guide Japan introduced the view from Mt. Hakodate as three stars, meaning it is “worth the trip.”

Figure: Hoshi no Yume, Hakodate – The 1.8 kilometer moat surrounding the stars haped fort is illuminated during Hakodate Goryokaku Festival.
Many other tourist spots of Hakodate are listed in Michelin Green Guide Japan. The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, the hills near Motomachi and GoryokaKu were all introduced as two stars. In addition, the entire city of Hakodate, the Takadaya Kahei Museum, the Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery. Koryuji Temple, the churches near Daisan-zaka slope and other attractions were also introduced as one star. Experience the tourist city Hakodate, which has lush nature and attractive culture. Michelin Website:

How to get to Hakodate

Essential Hakodate Tourism Contacts:

International and Intercity Affairs Section, Planning Department, City of Hakodate 4-13 Shinonome-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido, JAPAN 040-8666 Tel: 0138-21-3619 Fax: 0138-23-7604

E-mail: hkd-…


Tourist Board Information Centre (Inside JR Hakodate Station Building) Tourist Board Information Centre that deals with tourist from foreign countries. There are useful town map and leaflet for sightseeing in Hakodate and convenient sightseeing MD “HAKODATE walking MD guide” is lent. This Tourist office (Kanko Annaijo) is just to the north of the JR station, the tourist office is worth a visit for maps and other information about Hakodate Address: 12-13 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido [Hakodate-eki-mae tram stop] TEL: 0138-23-5440 Hours open to visitors: Open from 9 a.m. 7 p.m. from Apr. to Oct. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. to Mar. Languages: English Coverage Area: Within the city/prefecture

Brochures/Leaflets: Available in English

Hakodate International Tourism and Convention Association (Southern Hokkaido Tourist Association) 33-14, Motomachi, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0054, Japan TEL: +81-138-27-3535, +81-138-21-3453 FAX: +81-138-27-6775

Hakodate International Tourism Convention website: (Japanese, English, Korean, traditional Chinese only)

Brand Promotion Section, Tourism Convention Department, City of Hakodate 4-13 Shinonome-cho, Hakodate TEL: 0138-21-3323

Official Hakodate Tourism Information Site Hakobura/ “Hakobura” Tourist Information (Brand Promotion Sect., Tourism & Convention Dept., City of Hakodate): (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese)

Hokkaido Convention Promotion Committee (In the Sapporo Convention Bureau) MN Building, Kita 1 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0001 Japan Tel: 011-211-3675 Fax: 011-232-3833


Esashi Tourism Convention Association 193-1 Nakautacho, Esashi, Hiyama District, Hokkaido Prefecture 043-0034, Japan Tel: (0139)52-4815 Fax: (0139)52-0234


Esashi Town, Hakodate 193-1 Nakautacho, Esashi, Hiyama District, Hokkaido Prefecture 043-0034, Japan TEL: (0139)52-1020 FAX: (0139)52-0234


Hokkaido International Foundation (HIF) 14-1 Motomachi Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0054 Japan Tel: +81-138-22-0770 / Fax: +81-138-22-0660

E-mail: i…


Hakodate City Museum of Photographic History (Motomachi Tourist Information Center), Shashin Rekishikan

Just below the Old Public Hall, you will find what used to the old Hakodate Branch of the Hokkaido Government . In this two-storey clapboard building, you’ll find an interesting collection of old photographs taken in around the Hakodate area. There is also a Tourist information centre. Note that the main Tourist information centre is just to the north of the station. The Tourist Information Center provides resourceful service to Motomachi visitors. Various information leaflets on Motomachi sightseeing spots and verbal assistance are offered at this office. Address: 12-18 Motomachi Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0054, Japan [Suehiro-cho tram stop] Open 9:00-19:00, Admission: ¥200, Tel: 0138-27-3333


Hakodate Information Network (HINET) 7-21 Honcho Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan 040-0011 Tel: +81-0138-53-1700 Fax: +81-0138-53-2323


Hakodate Tourist Concierge Center 15-15 Shinonomecho, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0036, Japan Tel: 0138-26-0300 Fax: 0138-26-5208


Hakodate Treasure Island (Hakodate-Onuma natural eco-tour) 4-1-5 Hondori, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido Prefecture 041-0851, Japan Tel: 0138(86)7018


Hokkaido Hotels and BB 15-15 Shinonomecho, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0036, Japan Tel: 0138-22-2942 Fax: 0138-26-5208


Mt. Hakodate Ropeway 19-7 Motomachi, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0054, Japan Tel: 0138-23-3105


Hakodate Film Commission / Tourism and Convention Department of Hakodate City Hall Hakodate Film Commission is Office located in the Tourism and Convention Department of Hakodate City Hall 4-13 Shinonome-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-8666, JAPAN Tel: +81-138-21-3326 (Film Commission), 0138-21-3499 (Hakodate Tourism Promotion Division) Fax: +81-138-21-3324 (Film Commission), 0138-21-3324 (Hakodate Tourism Promotion Division


Southern Hokkaido Tourism Promotion Council 33-14, Motomachi, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0054, Japan Tel: 0138-86-7033 Fax: 0138-27-6775

Website: (Japanese)

Marugoto Onuma, Onuma Quasi-National Park (Sightseeing guide for Onuma quasi-national park) 85-15 Onumacho, Nanae, Kameda District, Hokkaido Prefecture 041-1354, Japan Tel: 0138(67)3020 Fax: 0138(67)2176 Onuma International Plaza (at Onumakoen Station): Tel. 0138-67-2170 Onuma Forest: Tel. 0138-67-3685 International Seminar House Onuma: Tel. 0138-67-3950 History Museum Nanae-cho: Tel. 0138-66-2181 Oshima, Hokkaido Branch Office: Tel. 0138-47-9439 Nanae Town Hall: Tel. 0138-65-2511 Shikabe town hall: Tel. 01372-7-2111 Mori hall: Tel. 01374-2-2181 Onuma Branch Nature Park Foundation (Foundation): Tel. 0138-67-3477 Hakodate-Onuma Sightseeing Bus Tours: Tel. 0138-57-7555 Onuma Outdoor Sports & Leisure: Tel. 0138-67-1111, 0138-67-1111, 0137-45-2221. Onuma Omsen (Hot Springs): Tel. 01374-5-2880, 0138-67-3345, 0138-67-2341

Onuma Convention & Visitors Association Website:

Sightseeing Pleasure Boat by Onuma Yusen Co. Ltd 1023-1 Onumacho, Nanae-cho, Kameda-gun, Hokkaido 041-1354, Japan Tel. 0138-67-2229, 0138-67-2220, Fax. 0138-67-3997,


Hakodate Transportation Bureau TEL. 0138-32-1730

Hakodate Airport TEL. 0138-57-8881

Donan Car Ferry
TEL. 0138-43-4545

Hakodate Bus Corporation TEL. 0138-51-3137

Hokkaido Bus Association An organization of bus companies in Hokkaido. Lists route information and tourism information.


Take a bus tour to enjoy sightseeing locations in Hakodate! “The Twinkle Bus Hakodate-go” travels several routes everyday visiting fascinating areas of Hakodate. For further information, please inquire at the JR travel center in Hakodate Stn. More: