Hakodate, in the Southern part of Hokkaido, is famous for its star-shaped Goryokaku fort, for its former European style buildings and for the night view. Famous as Japan’s most beautiful one, it attracts thousands of visitors daily in summer. But if the summit of Mount Hakodate is somehow busy, the beautiful and shiny is definitely worth it. After the night view over Kofu basin, Hakodate’s is the second and last one out of the Heisei 100 landscapes.
At the top of Mount Hakodate, the visitors seemed to be more numerous than the shining lights of the stunning Hakodate night view. Crowds are waiting for every available spot over the Northern city to try and do the best selfie or take the perfect photo of the view. And we have been through, just as we have been waiting one hour in line for the return bus! Such a difference with our last night view, Kofu’s one, where the exact location of the photo-spot was somehow difficult to find…
At the time we discovered the Hakodate night view, the ropeway wasn’t working. Meaning the only way up was to go either by bus or taxi (see “How to get there”, at the end)
But the night view is definitely not the only interesting sight of Hakodate. The city is filled with historical buildings, including European style ones. The reason for that is its early opening to international trade (since 1859, at the same time than Yokohama and Nagasaki).
Along the churches and former city hall, Hakodate’s History is to be discover downtown, along the former Kanemori brick storehouses or around the star-shaped Goryokaku fort (by Japanese architect Takeda Ayasaburo and after French engineer Vauban). A convenient observation tower allows to observe it from 107 meters high (900 yen).
How to get there?
Hakodate has now been connected with Tokyo by Shinkansen for more than a year. The whole trip is about 4,5 hours (including the train from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station to the city-center) and costs around 23000 yen. A faster way is to travel by plane; the rates begins around 5500 yen thanks to low-cost airline Vanilla Air.
Getting to the top of Mount Hakodate implies either taking a bus, a ropeway or a taxi. Buses are running from the vicinity of Hakodategokoku temple (400 yen one way) and the ropeway is departing from the same area (but wasn’t working at the time of our visit: its current status is to be found here; 1280 yen round trip). Taxis are convenient but really expensive, with fares reaching several thousands of yen (up to more than 10000 yen!) according to the season, time and affluence.
From 5pm et 10pm, private vehicles are not allowed to climb Mount Hakodate.