Southern Hokkaido

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Historically speaking, Southern Hokkaido was the commercial and also for a limited time, political center of Hokkaido and offers a look into the past of this region. During the cold winter months this area also offers slightly more mild weather than the rest of the prefecture. Besides history, there is also still plenty of natural beauty and one of the oldest hot spring areas in Hokkaido.

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SOUTHERN HOKKAIDO CITIES
- Hakodate
TOP SPOTS
  • 御珍宝神社
    Ochinpo Shrine
    This may not be high on the must see things in Hakodate but it is certainly up there in terms of uniqueness. This appropriately named shrine can be found near the base of Mt. Hakodate. The Japanese word 'Chinpo' translates to 'penis' in English. Alternatively, the word Chinpō  also translates into 'rare treasure'.
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  • 石川啄木一族の墓
    Grave of Ishikawa Takuboku
    The cemetery of Hakodate Shiei Sumiyoshimachi Kyodo can be found on the headland in Hakodate. It is a very captivating place as it has views overlooking southern Hakodate and being on the edge of the bluff, it has great views overlooking the ocean.
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  • 碧血碑
    Hekketsu-hi Monument
    The Hekketsu Monument is the centre piece for the burial and tribute for the 800 samurai and their leaders who died fighting against government forces in the Boshin War. This war included, specifically, the Battle of Hakodate. This battle in 1869 was the samurai's last stand.
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  • イカ広場
    Ika Square & Seaport Park
    Hakodate is a coastal city. There are many piers and waterside promenades to casually stroll along and enjoy the views. On the western harbor you can find a nice small park appropriately named Seaport Park, plus Ika Square.
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SIGHTSEEING GENERAL
  • Gagyusanmyoshin Temple
    臥牛山妙心寺
    Gagyusanmyoshin Temple is a Buddhist temple tucked up in the hills of Mt. Hakodate. It is a large temple and being up on the slopes of Mt. Hakodate, has views overlooking the residential area of Hakodate. It is also on the way to the Hekketsu-hi Monument, which is a short walk away.
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  • Hekketsu-hi Monument
    碧血碑
    The Hekketsu Monument is the centre piece for the burial and tribute for the 800 samurai and their leaders who died fighting against government forces in the Boshin War. This war included, specifically, the Battle of Hakodate. This battle in 1869 was the samurai's last stand.
    Read more...
  • Cape Tachimachi
    立待岬
    Cape Tachimachi is on the south east side of the Hakodate headland. Rising thirty meters above sea level, Cape Tachimachi has beautiful views over the Tsugaru Strait. The word 'Tachimachi' is derived from the Ainu word 'Yokoushi' which means, a place to wait and catch fish.
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  • Grave of Ishikawa Takuboku
    石川啄木一族の墓
    The cemetery of Hakodate Shiei Sumiyoshimachi Kyodo can be found on the headland in Hakodate. It is a very captivating place as it has views overlooking southern Hakodate and being on the edge of the bluff, it has great views overlooking the ocean.
    Read more...
  • Sumiyoshi Shrine
    住三吉神社
    Sumiyoshi Shrine is a shinto shrine in Hakodate. It is located on the cape near the base of Mt. Hakodate. It is not a far walk from the ocean, on the eastern side of the headland. The founding date of the shrine is unknown, however according to local stories passed down, the shrine was built during the Kamakura period, which was established in 1192 (bringing the start of the samurai).
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  • Ochinpo Shrine
    御珍宝神社
    This may not be high on the must see things in Hakodate but it is certainly up there in terms of uniqueness. This appropriately named shrine can be found near the base of Mt. Hakodate. The Japanese word 'Chinpo' translates to 'penis' in English. Alternatively, the word Chinpō  also translates into 'rare treasure'.
    Read more...
  • Takadaya Kahei & Historical Monument
    高田屋嘉兵衛銅像
    In Hakodate, at the base of the slope that leads up to Mt. Hakodate there is a narrow green space that runs for about five blocks. This green space is a really pleasant area to take a stroll along. On both sides the park is flanked by some nice old buildings. The green space is home to various statues and there is a historical site here as well.
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  • Sakamoto Ryoma Museum
    高知県立坂本龍馬記念館
    Sakamoto Ryoma was born on 3 January 1836, and grew up to be a master swordsman and lower class samurai who opposed the Tokugawa Shogunate. He was against the modernization and westernization of Japan, though he was a visionary who dreamt of an independent Japan without feudalism.
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  • Daimoriinari Shrine
    大森稲荷神社
    By the shores of Ōmori Beach there is a Shinto Shrine called Daimoriinari Shrine. The year of its founding is unknown due to the great fires in Hakodate. However, there is a map from the Kanbun Era dated back to the 1600's with the name of the temple on it so the temple is estimated to be around 350 years old.
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  • Ōmori Park
    大森公園
    Ōmori Park is a large green space in Hakodate. It is used for sporting events (namely baseball), and as a play area for children. At the northern end of the park, you can find an impressive memorial hall and burial site. The park is popular for those looking to keep fit, as it has outdoor exercise equipment, plus it being a good spot to jog around.
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Hakodate

Mount Hakodate

Lying at the southern end of the central Hokkaido peninsula Mount Hakodate (Hakodateyama) is 334 meters high and allows a spectacular view of both the city and the Tsugaru Strait. On clear days and especially at night, the view of Hakodate from the mountain is quite amazing and is said to be amongst the three most beautiful views in the world. The cable car connects to an observatory at the top of the mountain. Inside there are souvenir shops, a restaurant with incredible views, and an events hall where monitors play a show about the four seasons of Hakodate. The temperature at the top of the mountain, even in summer, is slightly cool and winds can cause even cooler temperatures. The cable car which holds up to 125 people will depart every ten minutes in peak times. It is possible to drive to the top of the mountain in the warm months after the cable car service has finished operation for the day. (After approximately 10 pm) Top

Admission¥640 one way / ¥1 160 return
Opening Hours10 am to 10 pm April 26 to October 31
10 am to 9 pm Nov 1 to Aril 25
ClosedFor a short time in early November for yearly service.
Contact138-23-3105
Getting There(Ropeway)
19-7 Motomachi Hakodate

Hakodate
Fort Goryokaku

Constructed from 1857 to 1864 as Japan’s first Western style fort Goryokaku, is now a park and home to some 1 600 cherry trees. Shaped like a star boats can be rented for use in the moat that completely surrounds this beautiful area. The fort is also famous as the area where the Edo Shogunate Samurai had there last stand against the newly formed Meiji Imperial Army. Inside the park there is a small museum that displays weapons, uniforms and other historical articles related to these events. The whole area can be viewed from the Goryokaku Tower. Approximately 50 meters high and standing near the park entrance it gives you a great view of the star shape and the general area. Top

AdmissionTower – Adults ¥520
Opening Hours8 am to 8 pm Daily
Closed-
Contact-
Getting ThereFrom JR Hakodate Station, take a tram to the “Goryokaku Koen Mae” stop (10 minutes). From there, the fortress is another 5-10 minutes on foot.

Hakodate

Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses

Originally built in 1909 by the Kanemori Beer and Shipping Company, these warehouses were remodeled in 1988 into a beer hall, shopping area and multi use hall. The harbor area and warehouse area a lovely place to spend a relaxing morning or a romantic stroll at night. Try the famous Hakodate beer which has been in production since 1898. Top

Admission-
Opening Hours-
Closed-
Contact138-23-0350
Getting ThereThe Warehouses are approximately a ten minute walk from JR Hakodate Station between the station and Mt Hakodateyama.

14-16 Suehiro-cho Hakodate

Hakodate

Trappistine Convent

This beautiful brick building with a green tinted roof was Japans first all female convent and was constructed in 1898 by eight nuns from France. Today, there are about 70 nuns still living and working in the convent. They are self sufficient and support themselves by managing fields and dairy farms. While visitors are not permitted to enter the convent itself you may enter the front yard and there are also some photographs displayed in the visitors reference room that show the history of the convent and its inhabitants. There is also a convent store where particularly delicious and well known home-made biscuits, sweets, butter and handicrafts are for sale. Top
* Please note that whether you are religious or not this is a fully working convent and some Nuns may have taken vows of silence. Please be respectful at all times.

Admission-
Opening Hours-
Closed-
Contact138-57-3331
Getting ThereApproximately ¥ 2,500 by taxi from JR Hakodate station or Five minutes from Hakodate Airport

346 Kamiyunokawa-cho Hakodate

Hakodate

Yunokawa Onsen

This hot spring area was discovered about 360 years ago and is the oldest hot spring area in Hokkaido. There are many hotels, inns and restaurants situated in this area overlooking the Straits of Tsugaru. It is also a popular swimming spot during the summer. The night scenery can be quite lovely with the lights of the fishing boats reflecting on the water. The spring water is salty but clear and is said to be of great value for your health. There are also some bathing areas for local monkeys where you may take some photos. Top
* If you are unsure of Japanese hot spring bathing etiquette, please click here for our help page.

Admission-
Opening Hours-
Closed-
Contact-
Getting ThereTake the streetcar from JR Hakodate Station to the Yunokawa Onsen Station Approximately 40 minutes.
Street Car Map