The opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen continues to energize tourist destinations like Hakodate. Here are 5 selected popular locations in Hakodate.
1. Trappistine Convent
The Trappistine Convent, established by eight nuns from France in 1898 on a plateau in east Hakodate, is the first womens contemplative convent in Japan. The brick building has a dignified atmosphere and is a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. Statues of Saint Michael and the Virgin Mary gently welcome visitors.
You can visit the front garden, shops, and the material room. Here you can learn about the history of and the life within the convent. The popular French cake Magdalena (6 pieces, 850 JPY (incl. tax)) can also be purchased. Even now, there are about 60 nuns continuing their service, so we encourage visitors to be just as calm and gentle as the nuns.
Open Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (summer season), 8:00 am - 4:30 pm (winter season)
Admission Fee: Free
2. Hakodate Morning Market
The Hakodate Morning Market has approximately 250 stores that provide delicious seafood. There are Hokkaido crabs, ikameshi (salted and sweetened squid stuffed with glutinous rice), oboro kombu (thinly shredded kelp used as a soup stock), and a store that serves sashimi made with squid you can fish out from a tank. This place is a wonderland where every single flavor of Hakodate is gathered. The Hakodate Morning Market is open in the early morning from 5:00 am - 2:00 pm (*these times may differ depending on the store), and is reachable in just 1 min walk from the west exit of JR Hakodate station.
Above all, the kaisendon (rice topped with sashimi) of Hakodate Asaichi Donburi Yokocho Ichiba cannot be missed. You can savor the sashimi of the season, like sea urchins, scallops, salmon roe, and prawns, among many others. A good way to enjoy kaisendon is to add soy sauce or wasabi if you like, or even to mix them together. However, the salmon roe comes already seasoned, so we recommend trying this dish without additional sauces and seasonings. Each store provides different sashimi, so try and find your favorite.
3. Hakodate Race Course
The Hakodate Race Course, where you can easily enjoy a horse race, is approximately 25 min by bus or train from JR Hakodate Station. This place is well-known for having the shortest track of all ten Japan Racing Association race course fields, and for being the only course with an ocean view. It is great to enjoy the scenery from the observation deck and the Plaza of Lights between races. They also have the Kids Corner and Green Plaza for children to enjoy.
There are many types of betting tickets, like the Win with which you select one horse to win, and the Exacta with which you select two horses to finish first and second in the correct order. Dividends differ depending on the odds. Betting tickets are available from 100 JPY, so it can be fun to try without risking your budget.
Open Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (*the race is held on weekends during the summer season)
Admission Fee: 100 JPY (*When the horse race is held)
4. Daimon Yokocho Hakodate Hikari no Yatai
One food stall village on a busy street of the Daimon district, located within 5 min walking distance from JR Hakodate Station, is called the Daimon Yokocho Hakodate Hikari no Yatai. The 26 restaurants of this location provide not only Japanese cuisine like sushi, crab dishes, tempura, and yakitori, but also different styles of food like Korean cuisine and Genghis Khan. The opening hours vary between restaurants, but the crowd begins to grow as the traditional Japanese paper and bamboo lanterns are lit. These lanterns are symbols of casual drinking establishments.
One characteristic of this village of the food stalls is that most of the restaurants are small and only have counter seats.
However, one of the reasons for their popularity is the joy of being able to speak to strangers, an opportunity provided by the very close seating. Why not go out for delicious food and drinks and meet someone new?
5. Motomachi Roman Catholic Church
Motomachi Roman Catholic Church is one of the churches in the Motomachi area, along with the Hakodate Orthodox Church. Motomachi Roman Catholic Church was built in 1877 and was originally made out of wood. However, it was re-built in 1924 in its current appearance, and the 33m tall bell tower was added as the symbol of the church. The gorgeous high altar, the side altar, and 14 Stations of the Cross found in the cathedral were given to the church by Pope Benedict XV as a gift. The silver stars scattered all over the blue-colored high roof and lights through the stained glass bring forth pious feelings with their beauty. The church is open to anyone for sightseeing, except on Sunday morning during the service.
Like the Catholic churches of Yokohama and Nagasaki, this is one of the oldest churches in Japan.
Open Hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (except for Sunday morning during the service)
Admission Fee: Free
Hakodate is famous for its brilliant night view, but it's also a city with many other attractions like food, history, and culture. We guarantee that this place will impress you every time you visit.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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