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A Hokkaido port village with seafood pickles and a theme park based on samurai life

Travel back in time to the days of warring samurai clans in Matsumae. Located on the southern tip of Oshima Peninsula, Matsumae has played an important role in the history of Hokkaido, which stretches back to the 17th century. The town has been a center of politics with Matsumae Castle, and economics as a busy port village.

Quick Facts

Matsumae is famous for its Matsumaezuke pickles

Explore Matsumae Castle and grounds

Matsumae Clan Mansion offers a peek into samurai culture

How to Get There

You can get to Matsumae by bus from Hakodate Station or Kikonai Station. Once there, you can explore the area by foot.

A bus from Kikonai Station takes 95 minutes, and there are approximately 8-10 buses per day. You can get to Kikonai on the JR Hokkaido Shinkansen or the South Hokkaido Railway. There are also a few direct buses per day between Hakodate Station and Matsumae.

Go back in time at Matsumae Clan Mansion

You can embrace your inner samurai and experience life in 1850s Japan at the Matsumae Clan Mansion.

The theme park features a replica village with traditional samurai and merchant houses. You can try on samurai armor or a beautiful kimono and wander the historic buildings. In summer, the town hosts the Matsumae Joka Jidai Matsuri, a festival where an army of "warriors" in samurai armor ride through the town on motorbikes.

Matsumae Clan Mansion gives you the chance to be a samurai

Learn more about local history

Visiting Matsumae Castle is a must to learn more about the storied past of Matsumae. A reference library inside the beautifully restored three-story tower of the castle provides lots of information.

Try the local seafood pickles

Matsumae's signature dish reflects its seaside location. Matsumaezuke pickles are made of squid, herring roe, and kelp combined and pickled. All the ingredients that go into these pickles are harvested from local waters. Families in the town have been making these aromatic pickles for over a hundred years. The pickles are known for their distinctive scent and texture.

Mastumae-zuke pickles are a must-try while in Matsumae

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.


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