Old buildings in Hakodate

The Hakodate City Tram takes you to interesting places around the city. Our family took the tram for Hakodate Dock-mae.

Jujigai Station

After arriving at the terminal, we walked toward a fishing port.

Fishing port and Mt. Hakodate

This seawall was built in 1896. It has been used for more than 120 years.

We explored the surrounding area. We saw historic buildings.

This is a public bath called Taisho-Yu. This building was built in 1928.

We went up the Saiwaizaka slope. You can see the shipyard, Hakodate Dock on the left.

This building was used as the consulate of the Russian Empire and then of the Soviet Union between 1908 and 1944.

Down the hill, we found other beautiful buildings in Benten-cho. This blue building was built in the Taisho period.

The white building is the Tachikawa Family’s House, which was built in 1901. It survived the massive fire of 1907. The adjacent building was built in 1915.

It is interesting to find old buildings using a map. I like Hakodate for many reasons, but one of them is its beautiful architecture.

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Lake Toya―Swan boat ride

There are many ways to enjoy Lake Toya. One of them is a swan boat ride. It is really fun!

Our family chose a pedal boat and embarked on an adventure.

Leaving the shore
Turning to the island

The water was blue and shiny.

Blue water
Glittering water

It was windy and the waves were a little rough. Sometimes, the boat went in the direction we were not expecting. At other times, it didn’t proceed at all but just swayed from side to side. The ride was thrilling. I can’t wait for the next ride!

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Lake Kuttara

Lake Kuttara is a caldera lake in Shiraoi Town. It is the roundest lake in Japan. It is about 2.5km in diameter and its circumference is about 8km.

Because the lake has no rivers flowing in or out, the water is crystal clear. It has a transparency of 19m.

It is believed that kappa (water imps) live in Lake Kuttara. So there is a Yield sign on the road so that kappa can cross it safely.

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Noboribetsu — Oyunuma Pond

Near Jigokudani, there is a large pond called Oyunuma. This pond was formed by the eruptions of Mt. Hiyoriyama. The mountain is an active volcano. Smoke is still being released from its slopes and its top.

The water of Oyunuma Pond is 130°C at the bottom. The color is gray-black. It has a sulfurous smell.

There is another pond near Oyunuma. It is much smaller, though. It is called Oku no Yu Pond. The surface temperature of the pond is about 80°C. It is too hot for a bath, but it is relaxing just to watch steam rising from the pond.

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Noboribetsu Jigokudani (Hell Valley)

My family loves visiting Jigokudani or Hell Valley. It is full of energy. Because of its dynamic nature, it is believed that Oni (demons) live there.

Jigokudani is the largest source of Noboribetsu Hot Spring. The valley was formed by phreatic eruptions of Mt. Hiyoriyama.

While walking along the deck, you can see steam rising from fumaroles here and there. The air is filled with the smell of sulfur.

On the surface, you can see a variety of colors created by chemical reactions.

Gray-black water is running through the valley like a brook.

At the end of the deck lies a geyser. It is interesting to see the water boil vigorously in a sporadic manner.

The valley at night looks totally different. It is a mysterious experience.

On summer nights, you can enjoy Oni hanabi or Demons’ fireworks show. Six Oni launch their fierce hand-held fireworks by turns, while the other Oni rather calmly play the traditional Japanese drums. Their collaborative performance creates a surrealistic atmosphere.

Tiffany liked Oni. He was very kind.

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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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