Goryokaku Special Historic Site
Site of Historical Events such as Commodore Perry's Visit and the Battle of Hakodate
The opening of Japan due to Commodore Perry's visit triggered the construction of Goryokaku Fortress
In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry, leading the East Indian Squadron of the United States Navy, visited Japan. Perry's expedition resulted in the end of Japan's policy of national seclusion, which had lasted over 200 years, and the signing of the Convention of Kanagawa between the United States of America and Japan. Hakodate was Japan's first port to be opened as a result of Perry's visit. The opening of Japan brought new needs, such as negotiation with foreign nations and defense of Ezochi (now Hokkaido). To oversee these tasks, the Hakodate Magistrate was installed. At that time, the government office was located near the port, but it was moved inland due to defense concerns. This place is now the location of the Goryokaku historic site.
Modeled after European walled cities
Completed in 1864, Goryokaku was designed by Ayasaburo Takeda, a scholar of Dutch learning. At that time, he gained information and guidance from soldiers on a French warship which docked at Hakodate, and modeled the fortress after advanced European walled cities. The name 'Goryokaku' is derived from 'go', meaning 'five', and 'ryo', referring to the five defensive emplacements known as 'ryoho' which gave the fortress its characteristic star-shaped configuration. This shape offered the benefit of reducing the defenders' blind spots. Goryokaku was also the scene of the 1868 Battle of Hakodate, but after the war ended, it was never used as a government office.
An abundant selection of souvenirs
Since 1914, the site has been open to the public as Goryokaku Park, and is now a popular tourist attraction. Within the park, the 107-meter Goryokaku Tower offers panoramic views for every season: pink cherry blossoms in spring, vibrant green foliage in summer, crimson leaves in autumn, and the beautifully illuminated fortress in winter. On the first floor of the observation deck, the 'Observation Gift Shop' offers original Goryokaku Tower souvenir items. The second floor includes a Japanese-style restaurant and a curry restaurant, both of which are very popular with locals and visitors alike - an ideal place to enjoy local Hakodate cuisine.
Hakodate Lucky Pierrot Marina Suehiro Shop
Home to Hakodate's Beloved Local Burger
Famous for generously-sized chicken burgers
Hakodate Lucky Pierrot is a fast food restaurant which has expanded throughout the city of Hakodate and several nearby communities. Dishes such as omurice and curry rice are available, but by far the most popular menu item is the 'Chinese Chicken Burger'. Featuring juicy karaage-style fried chicken and plenty of crisp lettuce, this generously-sized handmade burger is a whopping 14 cm tall and 11 cm in diameter. You may want to use a fork and knife, but feel free to use your hands and dig right in!
Check out the charming, playful interiors
Each Lucky Pierrot shop is uniquely built, with its own interior theme. The 'Marina Suehiro Shop', located in the Bay Area, is designed to project out over the ocean. Its oceanside seats offer wonderful views of cruise ships traversing Hakodate Bay by day, and boats using fishing lamps by night -- almost as if you are enjoying a meal at sea. From the Marina Suehiro Shop, it's a three minute walk to the Bay Area Main Shop, which is modeled after dining in the forest. If you have the chance, please visit both to enjoy the different experiences!
Choose from plentiful souvenir options
Select from about 50 popular souvenir items, ranging from food products to promotional items, all cheerfully adorned in Lucky Pierrot's colorfully eye-catching packaging. The best selling souvenir is 'Hakodate Lucky Pierrot Favorite Potato Chips', an irresistibly delicious snack made from Hokkaido-produced potatoes and perfectly seasoned with Okhotsk salt. Other options include 'Lucky Guarana' local Hokkaido soft drink, 'Lucky Pierrot Ramen' available in miso, shoyu (soy sauce), and shio (salt) flavors, and gifts such as reusable shopping bags and handkerchiefs sporting the Lucky Pierrot logo.
Hakodate Asaichi Morning Market
This Bustling Market Boasts Hokkaido's Freshest and Finest Seafood
Look no further for the freshest seafood
Attracting two million tourists from throughout Japan and around the world every year, Hakodate Asaichi Morning Market is an iconic sightseeing and shopping venue. The market's long history reaches back to 1945, when farmers from surrounding communities began standing in front of Hakodate Station to sell fruits and vegetables. Later, they started to sell Hokkaido's renowned fresh marine products, such as crab and salmon. Perfect for early risers, the shops open from 5:00, with energetic sales banter echoing through the marketplace. Items may begin to sell out after noon, so it's best to visit as early as possible.
Also try your hand at squid fishing
The marketplace comprises nine areas, including 'Hakodate Asaichi Plaza', 'Ekini Market', 'Enkan Market', and 'Donburi Yokocho Market', with about 250 businesses standing side by side. Of these, 'Hakodate Asaichi Hiroba' marks the starting point of the morning market's development, and offers a glimpse into authentic Hakodate daily life, with producer-direct shops, greengrocers, florists, and more. Also worth mentioning is 'Ekini Market', where you can try your hand at fishing for live squid. To savor the ultimate fresh squid experience, you can have your catch prepared as sashimi right on the spot, and enjoy it immediately after slicing.
Tabiyaku, the market's own local interpretation service
So that people from around the globe can enjoy shopping at Hakodate Asaichi Morning Market with peace of mind, the market has implemented its own local interpretation service known as 'Tabiyaku'. This innovative system bridges the gap between businesses in need of foreign language assistance and locals keen to improve their language skills. The translation benefits local businesses, encourages local residents to use their skills, and aids visitors to shop with confidence in the quality and price of their purchases. This peace-of-mind system is just another reason to plan on shopping at this iconic Hakodate location.
Hokkaido's foremost night view offers some surprisingly profound experiences!
Take the Ropeway or the Climbing Bus to the peak
Lying to the west side of Hakodate's urban district, with a peak elevation of 334 meters, Mt. Hakodate is actually a general name encompassing thirteen mountains, namely Mt. Goten (the highest peak, and location of Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck), Mt. Yakushi, Mt. Tsutsuji, Mt. Shiomi, Mt. Hachiman, Mt. Mizumoto, Mt. Kurakake, Mt. Jizo, Mt. Irie, Mt. Ezodate, Mt. Kanon, Mt. Ushinose, and Mt. Senjojiki. In addition to the well-known Ropeway, the peak can also be conveniently accessed by the 'Mt. Hakodate Climbing Bus', which departs from locations such as Hakodate Station and Bay Area. The bus operates from mid April to early November. At 400 yen one way, this bus provides direct access, without the hassle of changing vehicles.
Hokkaido's preeminent night view changes with the seasons
When visiting Mt. Hakodate, we recommend to arrive at the observation deck shortly before sunset. This allows you to enjoy the best of both daytime scenery and night views in one visit. And, the best night view timing is thirty minutes after sunset. As the sky darkens to a deep blue, the city lights shine below, creating a scene so beautiful that you may lose track of time as you look on. Views also change with the seasons: in early summer, fog creates dreamlike night views, and in colder seasons, neon lights reflect from the snow creating romantic scenes.
Rewarding hikes explore historic fortification remains
If you have enough time and energy, hiking at Mt. Hakodate is highly recommended. The ten hiking trails on Mt. Hakodate offer abundant variation, ranging from strolling courses with few ups and downs, to hiking courses lasting about an hour one way. Of these, we recommend Mt. Irie Course and Mt. Yakushi Course, both of which provide opportunities to observe historic fortification remains. These fortifications were built during the Meiji era (1868-1912) to strengthen defense of the Tsugaru Strait. You might experience the mysterious sensation that your hike has taken you back in time.
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse
An Iconic Landmark of Hakodate Bay Area
Commercial warehouses founded by Kumashiro Watanabe
In 1887, Kumashiro Watanabe founded the first commercial warehouses in Hakodate, providing storage services for goods such as marine products, rice, and wheat. The original warehouses burned down in the 1907 Hakodate Fire, but were soon rebuilt, and in 1963, were designated as a tangible cultural property of Hokkaido. As the times changed, it became too difficult to continue the warehouse business due to economic depression, and in 1988, the site was opened as the 'Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse' commercial facility. It has since become a popular attraction and iconic landmark of the Hakodate Bay Area.
A collection of 42 shops, each with unique personality
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse consists of four facilities: 'Hakodate History Plaza', 'Kanemori Yobutsukan', 'Bay Hakodate', and 'Kanemori Hall'. Rows of shops await, each with their own unique personality. One such shop is 'Aoi Mori', which sells original Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse products. A number of shops convey the beauty of Japanese culture, specializing in items such as chopsticks and glasswares. 'Made in Japan' boots and leather goods are also particularly popular among tourists visiting from overseas. A favorite Hakodate souvenir is the Cheese Omelette from 'Hakodate Pastry Snaffle's', which you can try right at the store for just 200 yen, with a mini coffee included.
Frequent events are part of the fun
Throughout the year, Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse holds many events, including large-scale events such as 'Hakodate Christmas Fantasy' (held every December), as well as events oriented for local residents. Part of the fun of visiting is experiencing the lifestyles and sensibilities of Hakodate locals through children's art displays, art galleries, live concerts, and more. There is also a tourism promotion corner for nearby communities, including the Tohoku area, with a variety of helpful pamphlets available. You might just find inspiration for your next trip.
These are some of the destinations in Hokkaido served by AIRDO.
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