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Hakodate Highlights

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3-13 Motomachi, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaidō 040-0054, Japan
Hakodate’s Motomachi district is where the gaijin (foreigners) set up their own little area in 1854 after Hakodate became one of the first Japanese cities to open to foreign trade. Buildings remaining include an onion-domed Russian Orthodox chapel...
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The Hakodate City Museum of Northern Peoples has good displays on the Ainu, perhaps the least assimilated of Japan’s early inhabitants. Hands-on activities include paper-cutting in traditional Ainu patterns and musical-instrument-making. The one...
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44 Goryokakucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0001, Japan
Sporting a European-style citadel instead of a more traditional Japanese design, Goryōkaku Fort was built 150 years ago in the shape of a five-pointed star. And the new design worked—the fort was one of the last refuges of shogunate holdouts who...
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Mount Hakodate—locally, "Hakodate-san"—feels like the center of the world. The Japanese understand the power of mountains, maybe because so many of their mountains have the bad habit of blowing up. (That's happened here at Mount Hakodate, too.)...
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1023-1 Ōnumachō, 七飯町 Nanae-chō, Kameda-gun, Hokkaidō 041-1354, Japan
Onuma Quasi-National Park, about 20 minutes by train from Hakodate, serves as the region’s natural escape valve, with long views (a rarity in Japan) of forest and lakes. The park is so wild that there may still be serow—a kind of goat-antelope...
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22-1 Ōtemachi, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaidō 040-0064, Japan
As its name says, this is the place for uni—the gonads of sea urchins—one of the most popular items on a Japanese menu. Though available year round, the stuff is best when harvested in the winter.
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Japan, 〒040-0064 Hokkaidō, Hakodate-shi, Ōtemachi, 5, 大手町 5−22 明治館通り
Hakodate Beer is the town’s microbrewery of choice. Asahi and Sapporo are about the only brews to get famous outside Japan, but most locales have their own breweries. Sample a few beers while chowing down on grilled squid (much better than octopus...
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14-12 Suehirochō, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaidō 040-0053, Japan
The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse is a retail arcade set in an old warehouse. Think of it as a Japanese shopping street gone indoors. You’ll find everything from Starbucks and traditional Hokkaido sweets to an endless selection of omiyage (gifts).
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23-6 Nakajimachō, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaidō 040-0014, Japan
The Japanese have a tradition of buying omiyage, small presents from anywhere they go, to be given to essentially everybody they know back home. Nakajima Renbai is a great omiyage shop, but they also sell fresh fish and lots of packaged local...