10 Best Things to do in Hakodate

View of Fireworks from Mt. Hakodate Hokkaido

Nestled in the charming landscapes of Hokkaido, Hakodate is a city that is a wonderful addition to Japan’s ever-continuous theme of traditional elements coinciding with modern attributes. While Hakodate may not be neon filled and bustling like Tokyo, it is still an incredible city with so many memorable experiences packed into it. Their award-winning airport information center is bursting with information and helpful staff to ensure your Hakodate adventure is perfect. This bustling port city, surrounded by mountains and seas, offers an array of experiences that captivate the senses. From panoramic night views to delectable seafood markets, Hakodate invites you on an unforgettable journey. Here are the top most amazing things to do in this Japanese gem of a city, ensuring your visit is nothing short of extraordinary.

1. Night View from Mt. Hakodate

As the sun dips below the horizon, embark on a mesmerizing journey to the summit of Mt. Hakodate. The night view from here is legendary, often hailed as one of the most stunning in the world. The glittering lights of the city below, surrounded by the vast expanse of the sea, create a breathtaking panorama. Pro tip: get there before the sunset- you’ll be able to not only see an incredible sunset in the opposite direction of the city, you’ll also be able to witness just how incredible the view is as the sunlight dissipates and the city comes to peak illumination. 

2. Asa Ichi

For a taste of Hakodate’s culinary prowess, kickstart your day at Asa Ichi, the renowned morning market. Immerse yourself in a vibrant tapestry of stalls offering the freshest catches from the surrounding seas. If you know about and like Tsukiji market, then this place is perfect for you. Savor melt-in-your-mouth seafood delicacies like sea urchin and squid straight from the hands of local fishermen. Engage with the friendly vendors and let the aromas guide you to hidden gems. This lively market not only tantalizes your taste buds but also provides a glimpse into the heart of Hakodate’s maritime culture.

3. Goryokaku

History enthusiasts, rejoice! Goryokaku is the star of the city- this 5-pointed fort beckons you to step back in time. Maybe this should have been #5? Anyways… Explore the grounds that once witnessed pivotal moments in Japanese history. The fort, surrounded by a serene moat and lush cherry blossoms, offers a picturesque setting- in fact the star shape and the 5 petal flowers of the cherry blossoms go perfect together. Be sure to ascend the nearby tower to not only get a view of all 5 points but also views of the whole city, as well as a good history lesson.

4. Lucky Pierrot

Satisfy your culinary curiosity at Lucky Pierrot, a quirky local burger joint that has become a cult favorite. You can even see one from the Goryokaku Tower (it’s very colorful, clown decorations), just across the street from the tower entrance. This is no ordinary fast-food experience; Lucky Pierrot infuses Hakodate’s flavors into its menu with unique creations like the famous “Chinese Chicken Burger”. A spontaneous foodie’s dream, this spot lets you savor the unexpected, ensuring each bite is a delightful surprise. It’s also quite inexpensive, making it a great affordable way to ensure you’ve got your fill of Hakodate. Don’t forget to pair your meal with their signature Lucky Shake!

5. Daimon Yokocho

As the sun sets, dive into the heart of Hakodate’s nightlife at Daimon Yokocho. This labyrinthine alley, lined with traditional Izakayas and small bars, pulses with energy. Be spontaneous and choose an Izakaya (or a few) that pique your interest and revel in the local camaraderie and make sure to get some Classic Sapporo- a brew of Sapporo unique to Hokkaido. Share laughter with locals, and let the night unfold organically as you meander through this charming alleyway. Daimon Yokocho is where the spirit of Hakodate truly comes alive after dark. And, if you’re familiar with other Yokocho, perhaps Omoide Yokocho, you’ll notice that Daimon is very well organized, definitely a plus point.

6. Yunokawa Onsen

Indulge in the serene embrace of Yunokawa Onsen, where relaxation meets cultural immersion. If Daimon is having you feeling a bit hungover, this might be a good spot to seek a bit of rejuvenation. This hot spring district is a haven for those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle. Unwind in the therapeutic waters while surrounded by snow-capped landscapes, and for a touch of spontaneity, try an outdoor bath under the stars. Yunokawa Onsen isn’t just a destination; it’s a journey into the heart of Japanese hospitality and rejuvenation.

7. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse

Discover the cultural pulse of Hakodate at the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse. This historical complex, overlooking the bay, is a treasure trove of shops, galleries, and other great experiences. Be sure to get some Shiroi Koibito for anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to join your Hakodate adventure. For a spontaneous treat, you’ll be able to take a boat ride from the nearby docks to explore the bay and enjoy some fresh ocean air. The blend of history and modernity here is nothing short of captivating.

8. Hachimanzaka Slope

Hachimanzaka Slope is a visual feast that encapsulates the essence of Hakodate, and has been regarded as one of the most beautiful urban slopes in the world. Offering panoramic views of the city, is especially enchanting during cherry blossom season or even winter illumination. Take a leisurely stroll, soak in the stunning surroundings, and let spontaneity guide you to hidden spots along the way. Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply seeking a picturesque escape, Hachimanzaka Slope is a must-visit.

9. Trappist Monastery

Nestled amidst lush greenery, the Trappist Monastery is a serene retreat offering tranquility and reflection. Embrace the peaceful ambiance as you explore the beautiful grounds and interact with the resident monks. It might sound a bit odd, but this is a prime spot to get cookies and ice cream. Hokkaido overall is well known for dairy products, and they whip up some good stuff you can buy from the monastery!

10. Cafes

Hakodate is also surprisingly well known for the coffee scene in the port area. Perhaps they had so much milk that they needed some coffee for it? Either way, there are some great shops here for all kinds of coffee enjoyers. One to not forget, especially for you devout aficionados, is called Cocoro. This spot has a myriad of blends which are expertly roasted, brewed, and served by the extremely friendly and knowledgeable owner. The meticulous care and thought that goes into it was just as remarkable as the incredible taste. Caution: do not sleep on this cafe, coffee lovers! 

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if yu have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

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