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.
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 Samurai Warrior Festival, or Joka Matsuri, which includes a decorative float parade.
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.