Hachiman Zaka slope leads all the way down the street to the sea Hakodate

Things to Do Hakodate: 43 Attractions You Can’t Miss

The number of things to do in Hakodate will take you by surprise. Maybe it’s because we’d just left the bubble of Niseko, maybe it’s because we felt like we were the only tourists in town. But we turned up expecting very little from Hakodate, and we were blown away by the fun, tourist-friendly, and super-cool seaside city.

It seemed like the more research we did, the more things there were to do in and around Hakodate! We spent five days in this happening town and we’re already looking forward to coming back.

Our list of 43 Hakodate attractions you can’t miss will take you to some of the usual tourist spots, including the famous Mt Hakodate and Goryokaku Fort. But we’ve also included some amazing things to do that you just won’t find in your Hakodate guide book.

And when you’re bored of our 43 recommended Hakodate attractions, we’ve even included some of the best day trips in and around Hakodate as well.

From specialty cafes to super-cool vintage stores, from open-air onsens to sushi trains, these are the best things to do in Hakodate.

How to Get to Hakodate

You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to getting to Hakodate. There’s a small local airport, but ferry connections and even a Shinkansen connection are handy as well. When you’re in Hokkaido, a rental car will always make things easier – so long as you can afford it.

AIR

Hakodate Airport is located 8km east of central Hakodate, right on the coast. Both ANA, Japan Airlines, and even Air Do fly to the biggest Japanese cities direct. Okushiri Island is the local flight, but you can fly to other Hokkaido destinations as well.

TRAIN

Now it gets interesting! You’re connected to just about all of Hokkaido with the local train line. Just take any train heading to Oshamambe, and you can split north to Otaru, or east to Chitose and Sapporo.

Incredible mountain views from the Hakodate train
Amazing views for the whole journey

Our slow train (5 hours) from Kutchan to Hakodate was ¥4,000, but the fast train (2.5 hours) was nearly double the price. It’s an absolutely gorgeous train journey with beautiful coastal scenery.

However, there’s also a very convenient Shinkansen line. Shin-Hakodate Hokuto station connects with Tokyo in as little as 4.5 hours. If you don’t have a Shinkansen rail pass, it’s eye-wateringly expensive.

BUS

There are bus connections between Hakodate, Niseko, and Sapporo. Fares to Sapporo (5.5 hours) are reasonable, starting at roughly ¥3,500. As with all things Niseko, the transfer there is expensive. Think of it as a private shuttle rather than a bus, starting at ¥7,000.

FERRY

If you don’t fancy the flight or the Shinkansen, there are also good ferry connections from Hakodate. 16 ferries per day make the 3.5 hour journey between Hakodate and Aomori, starting at roughly ¥1,800.

A white cruise ship sails between mountains on sea
Beautiful scenery on the Tsugaru Straits

There are two ferry companies: Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry and Seikan Ferry. We opted for Seikan Ferry, as they’re slightly cheaper.

When you’re leaving Hakodate, there’s a convenient shuttle bus from JR station that takes you right to the entrance of both ferry terminals (they’re right next to one another).

Timetable showing the ferry crossings from Hakodate to Aomori
The ferry shuttle bus is super helpful

But there are also connections to Cape Oma (1.5 hours) for those looking to really get off the grid.

About Hakodate and its Neighbourhoods

Hakodate is surprisingly tourist-friendly, and therefore extremely easy to visit. Clearly, there’s some money going through the place.

Each of the trams will play announcements in English, the signs and streets all have English text, and some places will even accept card payments (catch-up, Niseko). And did we mention that the place is spotlessly clean too?

It really is a delightful place, and these are the 5 areas you’ll want to focus on.

Motomachi Park

Motomachi Park is the closest thing you’ll get to an old town in Hokkaido. Old stones adorn the narrow streets, there’s a shrine on every corner, and a pretty slope spilling down from each of them.

Think hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, boutique jewelery stores, and a quiet, serene atmosphere.

Jitsugyo-Ji temple with trees surrounding the walkway up to it
Hidden gems around Motomachi
Hakodate Bay Area

The Bay area is a little more upmarket. It looks as if it’s still brand new, and again, they’ve clearly spent some money developing the area.

In all honesty, it wasn’t our favourite spot. It’s a very stylish setting, with red brick warehouses connected by seaside and moat, but the stores inside were a little forgettable for us. Think family days out and pictures on the pretty promenade.

The JR Station Area

It would be hard to categorise this area as a neighbourhood, but there’s so much going on that it deserves its own section. Between the JR Station Area and the coast, you’ll find all the bright lights, izakaya joints, and some of the most delicious ice cream in the country.

Goryokaku

Contrarily, Goryokaku is the city centre area. This is where you’ll find the best vintage stores, the majority of the accommodation, and swathes of bars, restaurants, and convenience stores. It’s the hustle-and-bustle of Hakodate.

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For shopping and dining (as well as a visit to the incredible Goryokaku Fortress), this is the place to be.

Yunokawa Onsen

Yunokawa Onsen is a little different to the rest of Hakodate. Hakodate is one of three famous onsen resorts in all of Hokkaido, along with Noboribetsu and Jozankei Onsen. There are roughly 30 onsens on this stretch of the coast alone, and visiting one of them is a must.

As well as the plethora of accommodation and onsens, there’s plenty of beach and some tourist attractions worth visiting as well. It’s a little quieter here with leafy parks and more space.

At the end of our blog, we’ve also included some day trips that would really top-off a visit to Hakodate. The weather wasn’t kind to us when we were in town, but when we return, these attractions are top of our list.

43 Things to Do in Hakodate

Ok, so now you know how to get there, you want to know about all the incredible things to do in Hakodate! You’re in the right place.

We’ve tried to group these temples, walks, cafes, and parks together in an order that will make itineraries easy. Think of the things to do in Hakodate separated into 5 areas: Motomachi Park; Hakodate Bay Area; The JR Station Area; Goryokaku; Yunokawa Onsen.

Things to Do Around Motomachi Park

Mount Hakodate Ropeway

Let’s get the most obvious Hakodate attraction out of the way first! You can’t come all the way to Hakodate and skip one of the most famous things to do in town.

The Japanese absolutely adore the night view from Mt Hakodate. It’s said to be the most impressive night views in Japan, and some even claim it’s ‘one of the best views in the world.’ It’s impressive, and we really enjoyed going, but maybe some perspective is required.

Sunset light peering through the clouds and over the sea
Don’t forget the sunset on the other side!

The easiest way to get to the top of the mountain is to take the ropeway. It costs ¥1,500 per adult round-trip, or ¥1,000 one-way (coming down). There are special rates for school groups and children.

Grab a can of beer and take the ropeway up for sunset. We visited during a particularly quiet time, but usually the scenic ropeway gets very crowded during peak times (that’ll be sunset).

A view of Hakodate city during the night, with lights illuminated against the night sky
One of the ‘best views in Japan’, we’re told

At the ropeway entrance, there’s a very useful screen that tells you what time you’ll be able to see the night view from. Adjust your plans around that. We watched sunset on the west side, then enjoyed the city view afterwards from the east. It will live long in the memory.

Be aware that even in the sunshine, there’s a stiff breeze at the top.

WEE TIP: you can also walk all the way to the peak of Mt Hakodate. It’s only 1.25km on the Kannon Trail, and should take you around 40 minutes. We would recommend getting the ropeway down, however, as the walk back would not be fun in the dark.

Motomachi Park

We could be describing the whole area here, but Motomachi Park is the centre of this beautiful neighbourhood. Here you’ll find a well-kept garden spread across many different stories.

There’s a statue commemorating Matthew C Perry – you can read more about his story here. It’s not the only time you’ll see his name pop up when you’re in town.

But aside from the gardens and the statues, take some time to wander around and visit each of the individual churches in the neighbourhood. The Russian Orthodox Church was our favourite, but St John’s Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and even Otani Honganji Buddhist Temple were worth the visit too.

Grab an ice cream from one of the many vendors, wander around, and take in the pretty views. If you’re tired, then check out Quarter Café. For just ¥250, this cute hole-in-the-wall coffee shop is a steal, and the owner is super friendly too. Choose from Colombia beans all the way to Dominica beans.

Hachiman-Zaka Slope

If you thought you’d seen enough of Matthew C Perry, wait until you hear about this one. We told you already that Mt Hakodate was the prized jewel of Hakodate – this slope gives it a good run for its money. It’s featured everywhere.

We know where you’re thinking: it’s just a slope, right? Well, yeah…it is. But it’s a very pretty one. Lots of Japanese films and TV shows have been filmed here, and it’s incredibly scenic, the busy street leading all the way down to the sea.

You won’t be the only one here – it’s an Instagram hotspot. If you want to take a break, then visit Peace Piece café – their local blends were very tasty. Avoid Motomachi Coffee – despite the range of different beans and the pretentious ‘no photos’ signs, the coffee is expensive garbage.

Old Hakodate Public Hall

Just look at the beautiful view we got of the Public Hall!

The Hakodate Public Hall - covered in construction. Normally one of the best things to do in Hakodate
Breathtaking

If you happen to visit once all the restoration work has been completed, it looks like this would be an absolute cracker. Not only is the ancient building incredibly pretty, but you can tour inside and get some sweeping views of Hakodate from the balcony. Not when we were there though, of course.

Grab a Drip Coffee

We’ve mentioned coffee a few times already, haven’t we? The amount of fresh, high-quality, specially roasted coffee was a huge surprise for us in Hakodate. But a very nice one at that.

Quarter Coffee was our favourite in the area, with Peace Piece not far behind. Check out Café d’Ici if you have a sweet tooth, found right next to the ropeway as well. Soi Café was the one that got away from us.

The best coffee in town comes from Tailored Coffee – but we’ll get to them later. Classic Café also pour a very tasty drip coffee and it’s a super-stylish room, but it’s a very strange vibe. Strictly no photos, don’t dare whisper too loud, and there’s a minimum order requirement as well. The coffee was delicious, but we wouldn’t rush back.

Funami Park Temples

We didn’t see Funami Park mentioned anywhere, and to be honest, we stumbled upon it by accident. But this is a sight not to miss.

Four temples (including Shomyoji, Jitsugyo-ji and Koryuji temples) are arranged together in a square complex. But as interesting as they are, the graveyard behind it will intrigue you more.

Wander around the hundreds of Japanese tombstones and check out the intricate detail in each of them. This may sound like a strange tourist attraction, but we found it very moving and unique. If you’ve been to the Necropolis in Glasgow, then you’ll get where we’re coming from.

Be respectful, give the resident Buddhists a friendly smile, and enjoy your time exploring. There are some lovely views out to sea as well.

WEE TIP: we mentioned the walk to Mt Hakodate earlier – it would start or end here. Just head uphill from the temples and eventually, you’ll find the trail behind Yamanouedai Shrine.

The Museum of Northern Peoples & The Foreigners’ Cemetery are around the corner if they sound like your bag. They didn’t for us.

Cape Tachimachi

Cape Tachimachi is exactly on the opposite side of Mount Hakodate from Funami Park! There are several different ways that you can walk between the two, and you’ll find all the trails in the picture below.

A trail map showing the different ways up to Mt Hakodate
There are several different ways to hike to Mt Hakodate and check out the fortress

If the weather conditions are right, then check out Tsugaru Fortress on your hike and let us know how it goes! Drop a comment, get in touch on Instagram, or leave us a note on Facebook.

Whichever way you walk, be sure to explore Cape Tachimachi. This coach-friendly stop is a small space but gives you some really cool views of the sea cliffs and local birds.

You’ll appreciate just how clean and blue the water really is, and you’ll get to see Hakodate’s coast from a totally different perspective.

There are also some famous tombstones as well. Look out for the Grave of Ishikawa Takuboku and Family, a poet who fell in love with Hakodate and had his ashes sent there.

Things to Do Around Hakodate Bay Area

Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse

This warehouse is the star attraction of the Bay area. The warehouses have a long history, and a supply of English bricks gave the buildings their distinct appearance.

Inside, you’ll find tourist-oriented stores and tax-free goods. There are some small clothing stalls including some South American brands and crafts as well. Pop your head to look inside, but as attractive as the buildings were, we didn’t really ‘get’ the store inside.

Hakodate Meijikan is more of the same, but with more of a focus on souvenirs. There’s a cool walkway connecting the two buildings across a moat.

Hakodate Factory has a pretty tame seafood market inside. You’ll find any version of squid imaginable, and some squid-themed toys as well.

Hakodate Bay

Truth be told, our favourite thing to do was walk around the harbour area. Some really photogenic boats were docked right up against the bay, and there were cool views in every direction. You could even see as far as Mt Komagatake near Onuma-Quasi National Park.

Grab an ice cream and enjoy the walk, once you’ve had a look inside the touristy stores.

Lucky Pierrot Burger Shop

We could mention this zany burger store for just about any neighbourhood in Hakodate, but since there are two right next to one another here, this will do just nicely.

You’ve never seen anything quite like this Hakodate burger joint chain. From the crazed clown to the carousel seats, from the branded soft drinks to the hurts-your-head interior.

Be sure to visit one of the many shops – you won’t find them anywhere else except Hakodate. The burgers do the job and they’re absolutely dirt cheap too. We hope you like mayo.

Hakodate Asaichi

Another one of the most famous things to do in Hakodate, Hakodate Asaichi was a bit of a letdown for us. This is supposed to be the bustling, happening, crowded, all-action morning seafood market. For us, it was a little sad.

Squid swim in a man-made fish tank
The poor squid facing the inevitable

Coronavirus meant there were no other tourists. There was no state of emergency, nor a lockdown. But the tourists were all at home.

Wander around and check out just how much you can do with squid. In fact, you can even fish for your own squid, and watch the workers serve it up for you right there and then.

There are plenty of seafood donburi bowls behind the market, perfect for breakfast. We headed upstairs to a super-cheap seafood joint, and really enjoyed the fresh squid sashimi and toi tuna rice bowls.

There are also a number of stalls surrounding the market outside where you can get everything from king crab to surf clam by the kilo.

Take the Tram

The Hakodate trams are tiny! They’re only one carriage, and each carriage is individually decorated. They’re very convenient for getting around town, and they’re a great way to explore even more of the city.

A tram pulls up to the stop in front of a building
The quirky, cute tram carriages

It’s simple as well. Just grab a ticket when you get on board, and check the screen next to the driver for your fare. When you get off, dump the ticket and the exact coins into the machine and there you go.

Struggling for the exact change? Then change up your note with the convenient machine at the front.

Try the Famous Squid (But Don’t Forget the Toi Tuna)

If you haven’t already noticed, Hakodate is squid city. You’ll see plenty of tanks in restaurants all over the city with squid just waiting for the inevitable.

You’ll see sewer drains with squid designs, as well as fences, cups, and even travel pillows. Squid really is the done thing here. And we can see why – it’s delicious.

Squid sashimi in a bowl with rice and ginger
It’s delicious – honest (iPhone)

Whether you enjoy squid as sashimi, as sushi, in a rice bowl, or even grilled, make sure you try some before leaving town: this is as good as it gets.

But as much as you can’t un-see some of the squid designs in town, the Tsugaru Strait is also famous for its Toi Tuna. Try some of the delicious fish here, before heading to Cape Oma and trying the famous Oma Tuna there as well.

Things to Do Around JR Station Area

Daimon Yokocho

This hip little collection of food stalls is a great place to visit after-office-hours. Working men and women that have just finished their shift mix with young students, artists, and just about anybody else looking for a bite to eat or a conversation over a beer.

Dark streets and bright lanterns in Daimon Yokocho
A walk down the Daimon Yokocho (iPhone)

There are more than a dozen stalls to choose from. There’s gyoza, sashimi, sushi, ramen, izakaya, yakinuku, and even Italian! It’s not the cheapest place to eat, but there’s a really chilled atmosphere and even if it’s only for a few skewers, it’s worth experiencing. It’s also a great spot for some pictures as well.

Sip Cool Cocktails in Friendly Bars

If it wasn’t for Coronavirus, we reckon Hakodate would have been a very fun night out. When we were in town, there was more tumbleweed on the streets than people.

When we return (and when the virus has finally been controlled), the first place we’re going to visit is October 28. A few people recommended it for being a super-friendly, super-fun place to grab a beer. For something a little wilder, we liked the look of highly-rated Mojito Bar.

Or, for something more sophisticated, Bar Suginoko conjure up some ornate cocktails, while Jey’s Bar is the place to find the perfect whisky for you.

Fuji Ice Cream & Sherbet

And if you’re looking for anything to fix your hangover, then we’ve got a treat for you.

Nakamura San and his family have been making their own ice cream and sherbet since 1947. They know what they’re doing – trust us. This is one of the hardest things to do in Hakodate because you’ll struggle to choose a flavour!

Several different flavours of ice cream in Fuji Ice Cream
Take your time, there are so many flavours to choose from (iPhone)

Both the pumpkin and daisso (sake flavour) ice cream were delicious, and they’re ice creams you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the world. There’s banana, white peach, almond praline, melon, red wine, and more.

All of the ingredients come from Hokkaido, including the delicious cream. Nakamura San speaks perfect English, and may even let you try one or two flavours as well. This is one of the things not to miss in town.

Explore the Beach

And once you’ve got your ice cream, head to the beach! It’s less than a 5-minute walk.

Sadly, it’s not the cleanest beach. Washed-up plastic sticks out even more against a volcanic black-sand beach. But come sunset, there are certainly worse places to be.

Waves lap up onto Hakodate Beach with Mt Hakodate in the background
The (2nd) best spot for sunset

Casanova, just a few doors down, is the designer vintage-store-cum-café that you’ve been dreaming of. As soon as you open the door you’ll understand the wow factor of the place.

Huge windows allow all the daylight you need to beam into this super-chic, unbelievably stylish store. Grab a coffee, sip a beer, eat some lunch, and get some work done on the wifi with an unparalleled office-window view.

And when you’re bored of that? Sift through the high-quality, specially selected vintage clothing across the room. We were blown away by Casanova. The funk playlist, the setting, just everything.

Kantaro Sushi

And could we recommend a visit to Hakodate without mentioning sushi? Sure, you’ve already tried the squid and tuna at the morning market, but in terms of choice, this is something else.

Apparently it’s very difficult to get a seat at Kantaro. We were one of only three groups in the restaurant (*cough* Coronavirus… *cough*).

The sushi is delicious and very reasonably priced. From king salmon to broiled flounder, from sea squirt all the way to sea snail, they’ve got you covered. Great service and delicious sushi.

Things to Do Around Goryokaku

Goryokaku Tower

After Mt Hakodate, Goryokaku Tower is one of the most famous things to do in Hakodate.

The visitor centre has a swift lift which transports you all the way to the top floor, with two levels of viewing platforms. On one side, you get a perfect view of Goryokaku Fortress down below. On the other side, you get a panorama view of Hakodate.

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The tower, which is also in a hexagonal shape, has a glass-cabinet display of the history of Goryokaku Fortress. Thankfully, the story is also in English, and it’s well worth checking out. Who know Hakodate had seen such blood and battle in its short history?

It’s a really cool place to visit, and again, something they’ve spent a bit of money on. We were a little too early, but viewing the Fortress during Sakura is supposed to be as good as it gets.

Entrance is ¥900 per adult.

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Goryokaku Fortress, on the other hand, is free. There was a lot of construction and landscaping taking place when we visited, but if you find yourself with nothing at all to do, then a walk through the fortress isn’t the worst way to spend the day.

Inside the famous hexagonal site, you’ll find an art museum and some temples too.

Tailored Coffee

A little closer to the tram stop you’ll find Tailored Coffee – the best coffee we had in Hakodate.

There’s a really impressive range of coffee beans behind the counter, and these specialty roasters will be happy to talk you through the flavours. Once you’ve been a good tourist, top-up your energy levels with some a tasty drip coffee.

Go Vintage Shopping!

And once you’ve got the energy kick, check out a few vintage stores in the area! As always in Japan, be careful with the ‘vintage’ label. Much of the clothing isn’t necessarily thrift-store style: it’s specially sourced, top-quality vintage clothing.

We really liked Lily’s Clothing, even if the prices were a little high. If you have time, check out MJM Hakodate, Cosmo Vintage, 2nd Street, and サンタクロース (Santa Claus – only on Sundays). And don’t forget about Casanova as well!

Things to Do Around Yunokawa Onsen

This is probably one of the strangest things to do in Hakodate, but we can’t ignore it. When you hop off the tram at Yunokawa-Onsen, you’ll be standing right next to a steamy footbath. Yup. It’s fully sheltered, and there’s plenty of space to take a seat.

If you’re bored while you’re waiting on a tram, then slip off those socks and shoes and soak your feet in the sulphur-water. There’s an information board explaining the history behind the footbath, but in all honesty, this one’s just for the novelty. You’re in onsen paradise, after all.

Yukura Shrine is also less than 100m away.

Yunohama Hotel Onsen

If you do one thing in Hakodate then visit an onsen at Yunokawa-Onsen. This was our favourite onsen in all of Japan – not something you can say lightly.

There are more than a dozen hotels to choose from, and Yunokawa Onsen has a great list of the onsen resorts you can visit on a day-trip. Many of the other hotels keep their onsens for guests only. No matter where you visit, you’ll be soaking in up-to 14 different nourishing thermal spring water.

Of those available, we chose Yunohama Hotel, and boy did we choose well. The outdoor bath is out of this world. It’s super-toasty, but come at sunset for glorious views of Mt Hakodate, the sound of waves lapping up onto the beach just below you, and the crisp ocean air.

An open-air onsen bath leads out to sea
The outdoor onsen bath of dreams

We were also the only ones there! One of the small positives of COVID-19, we guess. Entrance is ¥1,000 each but it’s absolutely worth it.

Yumoto Takubokutei is another attractive day-trip option. Instead of facing the sea, this onsen is found on the highest floors of the hotel. You’ll get a panorama view of Hakodate with the wide-angle windows.

Yukawa Black Pine Forest

Just outside of Yunohama Hotel you’ll find this rather out-of-place black pine forest. Kumashiro Watanabe was a wealthy local merchant who decided to pay for and plant these trees himself.

200,000 nursery trees were transferred from his home in Numazu and planted in 1889. Around 900 black pine trees stand tall today.

It’s pretty cool to wander through if you’re in the area, but don’t go out of your way to visit.

Trappistine Convent & Park

The Trappistine is more worthy of your attention – and it certainly will be for us when we return! Don’t waste the chance to check out this gorgeous Gothic building and its lovely gardens. Citizens’ Park is just across the road.

In 1898, 8 nuns were sent over from France to start Japan’s first convent. Practicing nuns still run the convent today.

And when you’ve ticked that one off, head to Miharashi Park. Kosetsuen Garden is said to be the nicest in all of Hakodate. In 2001, it became the first garden in Hokkaido to be labeled a ‘garden of scenic beauty’ by the Japanese Government.

Tropical Botanical Garden

We’ve included the Botanical Garden in our list of things to do in Hakodate to make it clear that this is something we don’t recommend.

If you love the idea of seeing skinny monkeys (and other animals too) freezing in a small, caged area, then this is for you. The monkeys take the occasional dip into the bath, and you can even feed them as well.

Not for us. But if that’s your bag, then whatever.

Day Trips from Hakodate

We can’t stress this enough: you’re going to need a car for these day trips. We didn’t have one, and it killed us. That and most of them still being covered in snow, we guess…

Onuma-Quasi National Park

That being said, Onuma-Quasi National Park is easily accessible from Hakodate centre. This is one of the top things to do when you’re in Hakodate, and we regretted not taking the chance on the weather.

Imperious Mt Komagatake looms over the lakes, with spectacular bridges and walkways in between many of the islands. Alternatively, rent a bike for the day and cycle the 10km all the way around the two biggest lakes.

There’s a campsite right next to Choshiguchi train station, and there’s a pitch with our name on it for next time we visit (hopefully when it’s a little less snowy).

Mount Essan

Another thing we can’t wait to try is the Mount Essan hike. This bubbling volcano is a straightforward hike, so long as you have your own transport. The bus takes 3 hours round trip and costs roughly ¥3,000 return. You then have to walk 30mins just to get to the trailhead.

If you have your own car, on the other hand. Then you’re at the trailhead in 30 minutes. Please drop a comment below to let us know how your walk goes! We feared the path would be covered in snow – even in April. Yes, yes, we know: our to-visit list for next time is already huge.

When you’ve done your walk, drive around the mountain to visit one of the more unique onsens in Japan: Mizunashi Onsen. This seaside onsen is mixed, but swimming suits are required. Check the tides online before you go – otherwise you’ll be sitting in the freezing sea instead!

Drive Route 278 Coastal Road

We spoke to a few locals during our time in Hakodate, and when we really wanted to see what the coast had to offer, everybody suggested this: the 278 Coastal Road.

Grab a rental car from Nippon or Toyota, and cruise around the shore for the day. If you drive the long way (counter-clockwise) from Hakodate to Onuma-Quasi National Park, you’ll discover the best of the area.

There are sea cliffs, bird nests, observation decks, secret onsens, dramatic bends, thunderous waves, and even ancient relics as well. To top it all off, there are some brilliant swimming beaches, including Todohokke (Choshi) Surf Beach, which has some of the best surf in Hokkaido.

Hokutto City

If you really do end up running out of things to do in Hakodate, then why not branch out and explore a little further along the coast?

There you’ll find beautiful Nozaki park. In early May, you’ll see it adorned with cherry blossoms. Check out the road to the Omote Gate, all 800m long. These Jinya ruins are a piece of history, and date all the way back to the Matsumae Clan.

Matsumae Castle

This ancient castle is a little further out of town, but certainly looks worth the effort. Almost at the southernmost point of Hokkaido, this relic of a building is dramatically perched right on the cliffside.

We didn’t even get close to visiting, but if you do end up heading out that way, let us know what it’s like!

So enjoy Hakodate! There are so many things to see and do in this awesome town, and personally we can’t wait to come back and pick up where we left off.

Send us your pictures on Facebook, give us a follow on Instagram, and drop a comment below to let us know how your trip goes!

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