Hakodate is quite a well-known town in Hokkaido, but to foreigners like you and me, it is constantly outshone by Sapporo, and we may have our doubts about visiting Hakodate, which we don't usually hear much about. I too, had my doubts, especially since I was going to Hakodate for school, but now that I've been there and back, I'll say proudly that I have no regrets!
This article would be mentioning a few tourist spots in Hakodate which I visited on my 4th day in Japan (2nd day in Hakodate). For starters, I'll talk about Hakodate Bay Area, which is a very famous tourist spot in Hakodate!
Hakodate Bay area is divided mainly into three parts: shops at the Bay area, the sea part of the Bay area, and hills. Hakodate is filled with hills.
For now we'll start with walking from the station to the shops itself. There are many sculptures and monuments which remind you time and time again that Hakodate is a fishing town and that they are very involved with the ocean! This large wheel among others is a hint of that.
While walking to the Bay area, I also came across a white building labelled "Shirokuma" where you can see a sculpture of a polar bear from the window. I didn't enter the store nor did I go close to take a better picture of the interior of the store.
The Bay area shops itself is in red brick buildings and they are quite easily recognizable. If you have been there before, you'll definitely remember them!
Some items which they sell include purses, clothes, shoes and food. They have a lot of food -- Shiroi Koibito, other famous Hokkaido food, honey, and more food. Also, it seems like Hakodate has something for Snoopy, Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty, but mainly for Hello Kitty.
I came across Sugi Bee Garden in Hakodate as well! They have a branch in Singapore at Takashimaya so you can always easily check out their goods. From this store I purchased a Yuzu Honey bottle. The faint taste of the Yuzu is very refreshing, especially when Singapore gets unbearably hot.
Gudetama has its own fans, and of course they are rampant in Hakodate as well. Though I must add that it still can't rival Hello Kitty's.
I also came across a Bushi-shop, which specializes in selling merchandise related to Japan's history. If you like Tokugawa (Edo era, like I do) or other famous historical figures and events, this is the shop for you. I spent quite a bit of time in this shop, looking at all the different range of merchandise they have on display and for sale. Even their purses look exquisite to me!
After shopping a whole bunch at the shopping area, we decided to go on to other areas of the Bay. This time we started going towards the more scenic side of the Bay area where we can see the sea itself. The weather that day was really good and the skies were pretty, which makes the scenic areas good for both sight and pictures. I'll let the photos below do the talking on my behalf~
And if you don't know how it feels to be hot and cold at the same time outdoors, visit Hakodate in summer!
After this area, we went up the hills where we received a discount voucher for ice-cream, For 300 yen I got a milk ice-cream cone while my other friends got melon. The milk one was sweet and melts in the mouth to a creamy aftertaste. The melon one, on the other hand, was sweet and remained sweet while melting to leave a refreshing taste.
And when we speak of Hakodate, it's squid. And when we speak of squid, it's squid ink. Squid ink is the only edible black ink in the world and Hakodate have an urge to mix it into their products. It does set them apart from the other more commonplace products well.
By the way, she is Tako-Rin.
I didn't try any squid ink products, but I've heard from the locals that the squid ink ice-cream didn't taste any different from the usual milk one. So the ink probably just resulted in the black color. My friends tried squid ink pudding on a later date, but that is a story for another time.
Making my way higher up the hills, there are many various strange architecture. Perhaps strange isn't a good way to put it, but more of... unique? You can't really find them in Singapore/ The one which I remember the clearest would be...
Up and over the hills brought me and my friends to souvenir shops, which I were unsure if they were placed there strategically or just randomly there, since I didn't see many other tourists. I'll skip the shops since they weren't selling anything much different from the Bay area, other than them specializing in selling handbags and phone pouches with either owls or cats printed on them.
After exiting this store, the next direction was to go back downhill and back to the hotel to unload before proceeding to the next and final location -- Goryokaku tower. While descending, we came across a park (which was unexpected) and we made a detour to take pictures. Being tourist sure is fun!
|Hakodate, full of slopes.|
We were nearly at the bottom of the hill when I spotted someone selling framed drawings. From afar I recognised Sumikko Gurashi and I just had to take a look!
Almost right after I raised my head from staring at Sumikko Gurashi, we saw a long queue outside "Lucky Pierrot". And being Singaporeans, long queues meant good stuff, so we had to check it out!
Lucky Pierrot is actually a fast food chain in Hakodate, and it is more popular than McDonalds there. It's refreshing to finally have a fast food chain which is more successful than McDonalds, even if it's only in a single area. In fact, I heard from the locals that many people come to Hakodate just to have Lucky Pierrot because it's no common elsewhere (well, when you compare the availability to McDonalds...), and I couldn't actually believe this till I tried their food.
I mean, who would travel just for some greasy measly fast food? Oh, how wrong I was.
|Oh my, that photobomb... Lady, I don't actually know you, please, no photobomb?|
This is why it's much more popular than McDonalds. By the way, that squid cost only 300 yen and it definitely is a lot more chewy that Singapore's ones. Not to mention the rich sauce that adds just the perfect amount of saltiness to the dish, and the slightly burnt squid skin, which gives a nice grilled taste to the meal!
From Your Fellow Japan Fan,
Day 5 (Part I) | Day 5 (Part II)