Hakodate Night View

I highly recommend seeing the night view of Hakodate. The cable car will take you to the top of Mt. Hakodate in three minutes.

As you go higher, the city lights start to twinkle.

The night view from the top of Mt. Hakodate is just spectacular. Some people compare it to a jewelry box. I’m sorry my photo doesn’t express it enough, but just imagine every single light is glittering.

I also liked how the moonlight was reflected on the sea.

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The Tsugaru Strait and Dolphins

My family was looking at the Tsugaru Strait from Cape Tachimachi. Then, wild dolphins appeared.

At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes because I didn’t know they were visible to the naked eye from the cape. However, a kind gentleman told us that they were dolphins, so we started dolphin-watching.

As time went on, we got better and better at finding dolphins. First, we learned to notice typical splashes made by dolphins, and then learned to recognize their fins. We took their photos.

Dolphins are always with their friends.
Black-tailed gulls are following the dolphins.
These dolphins are floating upright.
These dolphins are jumping.
Sometimes birds gather around dolphins. I guess dolphins show them where the food is.

I still cannot forget the beautiful sea where animals were living in harmony. The dolphins were playful, considerate, and cooperative. Just thinking about them makes me happy.

“Look at those!” We enjoyed dolphin-watching.
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Cape Tachimachi

Cape Tachimachi is the southeastern tip of Mt. Hakodate. It faces the Tsugaru Strait.

My family walked uphill, hearing bush warblers singing and feeling the sea breeze.

We got to Cape Tachimachi.

There is a tanka monument of Hiroshi and Akiko Yosano, who visited Hakodate in 1931. I remember my husband and I were delighted to find OUR names when we came here before.

Tanka monument built in 1956
A dandelion caught my eye.

The cape commands a magnificent view of Hakodate.

The other side is a steep cliff.

You can see Aomori Prefecture across the Tsugaru Strait.

On the rocks, there were many birds, including black-tailed gulls and cormorants.

Japanese cormorants

We enjoyed looking at the sea. It was quiet but full of life. We could never get tired of looking at it.

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Goryokaku Fort

Goryokaku is a star-shaped fort designated as a national special historic site. It was built in the last years of the Edo period and completed in 1866. It was Japan’s first western-style fort. Now it is open to the public as a park.

My family got off the train at JR Goryokaku Station. We enjoyed riding this old train car.

JR Hakodate Line
Goryokaku Station

On arriving at the park, I was stunned by the gorgeous azalea flowers alongside the moat.

We crossed the bridge with excitement.

Then, we walked through a beautiful wisteria tunnel.

In the center of the park sits the Former Magistrate’s Office. It was the shogunate’s administrative center in Hokkaido. The original building was demolished in 1871, but it was restored and opened to the public in 2010.

Former Magistrate’s Office
From another angle

We enjoyed strolling in the park. It was fun to walk along the bank of the moat. While walking, we were not sure we were really on the perimeter of a star shape. If you see the park from the observation deck of the Goryokaku Tower, you can see the entire star shape.

The Goryokaku Tower

Coming down from the bank, we took a nice rest in the shade of trees.

We found a pretty daisy field. Tiffany liked it. It was really peaceful.

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Lake Shikotsu

Lake Shikotsu has three unique characteristics. First, it is known for its crystal clear water. Second, it is the second deepest lake in Japan (after Lake Tazawa), with a maximum depth of 363m and an average depth of 265.4 m. Finally, it is unfrozen even in winter. In fact, it is the northernmost ice-free lake in Japan.

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Look at the clear water!

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This is the oldest railway bridge in Hokkaido, which was designed by a British engineer.

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It is nice to get up early and take a walk along the lakeside, looking at wild plants.

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Japanese chestnuts
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Hakodate: English garden

There are several famous buildings in the Motomachi area. The Old British Consulate of Hakodate is one of them. The building is used as a museum. It has a beautiful garden outside. I was enchanted by the lovely roses.

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In the Motomachi area, there is a gift shop called Usukeshi no Yakata, which sells delicious ice cream.

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My husband and I ate ice cream, as we had done at the same place on our honeymoon more than 10 years ago. Hakodate has been and will always be my dream place!

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Hakodate: Motomachi

Hakodate is definitely my favorite place. I love looking at buildings in the historical district Motomachi. Every time I visit there, I discover something new to me. I find beautiful designs here and there and gain artistic inspiration from them.

Motomachi water supply plant

This is Russian Orthodox Church, which is one of the symbolic buildings of Hakodate.

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Some buildings look traditional Japanese-style, while others look pseudo-Western style. They are combined to create a pleasant atmosphere.

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Even the lampposts and fire hydrants are stylish in Hakodate.

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Each slope commands a scenic view.

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The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward is my favorite building.

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Carl Raymon is a delicious German sausage shop. The building has a restaurant and a museum.

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I like this old white building. The interior is simple and beautiful.

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The street car is useful to get around the town.

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Tiffany loves to explore Hakodate, too!

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Hakodate: Morning market and brick warehouses

This is the Morning Market. It is lively and bustling.

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In the market, there is a restaurant with a dog-friendly room. The staff are very nice and the fish are fresh and tasteful. I chose shrimp, squid, salmon, salmon roe, and scallops for the toppings on my rice. (Tiffany had her own lunchbox.)

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After breakfast, we headed for the hill past the red brick warehouses.

Some bricks look very old. I like how people in Hakodate treasure their cultural heritage.

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Tiffany with her hair blowing in the sea breeze
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Dog-friendly trip to Hakodate

My family go on holiday to Hokkaido every year.  Tiffany is with us, too. We take the Shinkansen train from Shin-Osaka to Hokkaido. It takes about seven hours. To be honest, we get tired, but Tiffany is happy being with us. (Before the Hokkaido Shinkansen started its operation, we took a night train, which took 22 hours!)

After getting out of the long Seikan Tunnel, we are in Hokkaido!

 

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At Hakodate Hokuto Station, we change trains to the Super Hokuto to get to Hakodate.

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It is late afternoon. If we are not too tired from the long journey, it is nice to stroll around the red brick warehouses. The buildings are covered with ivy.

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There are many fir trees around the warehouses.

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In Hakodate, there are quite a few dog-friendly cafés and restaurants. We enjoyed a late lunch on the patio of a nice restaurant. I ate seafood pasta and waffles, which were very good.

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Fields near Lake Toya

You can see farms and fields along both sides of the road. I love this typical scenery of the countryside in Hokkaido, which is peaceful and relaxing. Every time I come here, I feel as if I were in a totally different world. Surrounded by vast fields, I forget the busy life I was normally leading back home. What matters here is the fact that I “live” now. In a sense, coming to Hokkaido means renewing my view of life.

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The Windsor Hotel looks like a historic fortress
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Vegetable field
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After harvest
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Stacks
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Toya: Lake Hill Farm

Up the hill from Lake Toya, there is a farm called Lake Hill Farm. I really like this farm. They keep animals such as rabbits and cows. All the animals look happy in the peaceful environment.

The last time I visited the farm, I saw a goat eating grass. She was so elegant and sweet that I was glued to every movement of hers. I loved the sound when she tore off and ate grass.

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There are some orchards and lovely gardens on the farm.

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Crab apples
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Pumpkins welcoming visitors
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Horse ranches in the Hidaka region

The Hidaka region is known for its thoroughbred horses. It is between the Hidaka mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Compared to other areas in Hokkaido, it is relatively warm here and there is relatively little snowfall in winter. The mild climate is suitable for raising horses.

Horse ranches spread out as far as you can see. You can find horses here and there.

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