Hakodate, Japan

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Main port photo for Hakodate, Japan

It took Commodore Perry and American gunboat diplomacy to open Japan to the outside world after two centuries of self-imposed isolation. In 1859, the port of Hakodate became the first Japanese city fully opened to Westerners under the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Foreigners soon flocked to Hakodate, and today visitors wandering the cobblestone streets of the city's Motomachi District can view their Western-style frame houses. Hakodate, once a fishing port famed for its high quality fish and shellfish, quickly became Hokkaido's largest city and one of Japan's most important ports. The Great Hakodate Fire of 1934 dealt the city a near fatal blow - a blow from which Hakodate was slow to recover. Today the city is Hokkaido's third largest - surpassed by Sapporo and Asahikawa - but retains its foremost position as the finest Japanese producer of sushi's raw product: the high quality seafood caught in Hokkaido's cold waters.

It may not compare to Tokyo's Tsukiji's Fish Market, but at Hakodate's four-block-long Morning Market, vendors offer a stunning array of fresh fish and shellfish prized for sushi including salmon roe, sea urchin, scallops and crab. Restaurants and food stands prepare a wide arrange of dishes including domburi topped with fresh seafood.

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  • Mt.Hakodate Mt.Hakodate

    Board the cable car for the panoramic ride to the summit of Mt. Hakodate. It's a sure-fire way to top off your day in town, adding panoramic views that dazzle the senses, especially at night.

  • Morning Market Morning Market

    This is the perfect place to people watch as you meet the vendors and sample the bounty of sea and farm. The 280-shop market spans four city blocks for an endless array of enticing flavors.

  • Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort

    The Goryokaku Pentagonal Fort is a stunning military monument and the serenity of its carp-filled moat, landscaped garden and world-famous cherry trees transport you far from the city bustle.

  • Onuma Quasi-National Park Onuma Quasi-National Park

    This fabled nature preserve is hailed as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Japan. Enticing trails trace lake and marshland, cross graceful bridges, and showcase the surrounding volcanic peaks.

  • Red Brick Warehouses Red Brick Warehouses

    This historic waterfront district marks the site where shipyards and foreign settlements were once located. Today, the warehouses are home to an atmospheric shopping center and the Hakodate Beer Hall.

  • Esashi Esashi

    Esashi has a rich history and is the source of legends dating back to the Edo period of 1603-1868. The town's heritage is wonderfully preserved, and a visit here takes you back in time.

  • Sumo Museum Sumo Museum

    The museum pays homage to two grand champions in Sumo wrestling, both Fukushima natives. With a population of less than 5,000, having two Sumo grand champions is quite a feat!


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