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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

HOKKAIDO Hakodate & Hokkaido South Retro Western influences, succulent seafood, outback pleasures and spectacular night views

Retro Western influences, succulent seafood, outback pleasures and spectacular night views

The picturesque city of Hakodate is renowned for its fresh seafood and spectacular views, while its location at the southern tip of Hokkaido makes it a convenient base for exploring the abundance of nature nearby.

Don't Miss

  • Shopping in the historic Motomachi district
  • Glittering night views of the city from Mt. Hakodate
  • A relaxing stroll around Onuma Park and Lake Onuma

How to Get There

Hakodate is accessible by air, rail, road, and sea.

You can fly directly to Hakodate from major airports across Japan and within Hokkaido from Chitose, Okadama, Asahikawa and Monbetsu airports.

The JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen links Tokyo with Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in four hours. Take a local train from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station for the final leg of the journey to Hakodate. Within Hokkaido, there are JR express and local trains from Sapporo to Hakodate. All are covered by the JR Rail Pass.

Alternatively, there is a Chuo Bus which operates from Sapporo Station. If you're looking for a scenic option, there are regular ferry services across the Tsugaru Strait between Hakodate and Aomori. The journey can take up to four hours.

Frontier spirit, preserved

Although Hakodate had been inhabited since the Jomon period and later by the Ainu, its modern face only emerged during the 19th century as Japan reopened to the world. The historic Motomachi district boasts many buildings dating back to this period.

Be sure to take a leisurely stroll through Hakodate's past and check out the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse complex, which is now one of the city's go-to destinations for shopping and dining.

The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse complex, one of the go-to destinations for shopping and dining

Browse the morning fish market

Hakodate is one of Hokkaido's major fishing ports. To see the freshest catch, head to the morning market by Hakodate Station, which sells seafood as well as other produce.

Look over all the fresh salmon roe, sea urchin, crab and other delicacies of the deep before sampling them at one of the many eateries around the market. A seafood donburi rice bowl is a local specialty.

More than just seafood

In addition to its seafood offerings, Hakodate has dishes to suit every taste, from ramen to tempura to hamburgers. Look out for the city's very own burger chain, Lucky Pierrot. It has more than a dozen stores, each artistically decorated in its own unique style.

The view from Goryokaku Tower, one of the best places to view the city from above, day or night

Dazzling nightscapes

Hakodate really shines at night. For the best views, you have two options: Mt. Hakodate or Goryokaku Tower. From either vantage point, you can see the city spread out below you in all its glittering glory.

The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward illuminated at night

Vibrantly colored alpine plant life at Mt. Esan

Another destination to consider is Mt. Esan, two hours east of Hakodate by bus. Mt. Esan is an active volcano renowned for its wealth of alpine plants. Look out for the azalea festival in early summer when there is an explosion of red at the foot of the mountain.

Soak in wine-red waters or right by the sea

Another reason to visit the Mt. Esan area is to relax in an unusual rejuvenating hot spring. The naturally burgundy-colored waters of Esan Onsen have drawn visitors since the 19th century.

On the coast, Mizunashi Kaihin Hot Spring lets you bathe right by the sea. You'll need to time your visit properly, though, since it's only possible to take a dip when the tide is low.

Take a trip from Hakodate and visit Lake Onuma

Venture further afield

Hakodate is a good starting point from which to explore southern Hokkaido. Head for the great outdoors in Onuma Park, with its lakes graced with islets. Consider a trip to Esashi, a quaint fishing port with many historic buildings, or visit the castle town of Matsumae.

If you have the time, board the ferry to beautiful Okushiri Island, covered with pastures and beech tree forests, for a taste of island life.

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