If you find yourself in Hakodate, at the southern part of Hokkaido, know that there are many things you can do that lets you explore the city as a tourist, while also learning about its rich history. Here is a list of activities you can do whether you are a solo traveller or traveling with friends or family.
6. Hakodate Bay Cruise
Exploring the historical bay area of the city is a great way to do both sightseeing and exploration at the same time. From 10:30 in the morning, the Blue Moon Boat will take you on a 40 minutes mini cruise exploring the harbor area of the city. The mini-cruise costs ¥1600 and also includes beverages onboard. The boat leaves at 10:30, 11:30 and every hour from 13:00 until 17:00.Location: Look for the Blue Moon Boat behind the Kanemori red brick houses in the bay area.
5. Visit the Snow Monkeys at the Yunokawa Onsen Area
The Japanese snow monkeys, belonging to the botanical garden close by in the Yunokawa onsen area of the city, have become a symbol for Hakodate. Every year from December until May, the snow monkeys are able to enjoy their own hot spring and playground, at display for people walking by. The monkeys are wild and tend to stick to themselves, but visitors can photograph and enjoy watching the playful monkeys while they heat up in the hot springs.Location: Five minutes walk away from Yonokawa Onsen tram stop.
4. A Trip to the Botanical Garden
Staying in the Yunokawa onsen part of the city, you might also want to consider visiting the Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden, that displays hundreds of plant species not native to Hokkaido. Take a look around in this wonderful greenhouse that offers the beauty of tropical plant life, as well as offering lectures and events in the greenhouse once a month.
Location: Five minutes walk away from Yonokawa Onsen tram stop.
3. A Visit to the Historical Bay Area
Kanemori red brick warehouses in the bay area of Hakodate, are yet another symbol of the city, representing how the city was able to flourish and grow economically by trade and commerce in the 1860s. The old red brick warehouses have since become popular souvenir shops, with one of the brick houses also housing the city’s historical museum. A walk in the bay area is a great activity to combine sightseeing, with many shopping and dining possibilities in the area.
Location: 15 minutes walk from Hakodate Station, or Bay Area tram stop.
2. Take a Walk Around Motomachi Park
The Motomachi area of the city is a testament of the city’s history of international culture and influence. Not only providing Japanese and international culture, the park is filled with picturesque surroundings and views. Best enjoyed in the summer, the Motomachi Park is rich is tree life and classical foreign architecture. The park is also one of the most popular sightseeing locations in Hakodate, and a free activity to be experienced.Location: Five minute walk from Suehirocho tram stop. Or a 15 minute walk from Hakodate station
1. Visit Japan’s Biggest Tsutaya Bookstore
Hakodate is also known to have Japan’s biggest Tsutaya book shop that is also famed for its architecture and interior. While in the city we highly recommend traveling to see and experience the shop’s exterior and most of all its cosy interior that attracts popular culture and book lovers from all over Japan. The shop was made with book lovers tastes in mind, creating an architecture that would encourage reading, but also create communities and serving as the cities hub for culture.Location: 85-1 Ishikawacho, Hakodate 041-0802