There are so many places to interact with the locals and connect with sightseeing spots in Hakodate City. For this, the "1-day unlimited bus and tram pass for Hakodate" is great value.
For getting around a larger area, the "Hakodate Area Passport" is great value.
Depart Hakodate JR Station at 8:18 am (only 1 train car!?). The train goes ahead with the beautiful Onuma and Koma-ga-take right before our eyes. We get off at Koma-ga-take JR Station. Someone from "Sonny's Stable" where we can experience the horse trekking course at the skirts of Koma-ga-take comes to meet us (reservation required).Sonny's Stable
Horse trekking is a sport. If you are considerate of the horse, as well as your posture, center of gravity, and use of the reins, the horse will move properly. We learn, and as soon as we get on, we're off headed to the mountain! We were a little unsure at first, but we were doing great in no time. We went on an intense course with ups and downs for about 70 minutes.
The trotting made us stiffen up
How about that? Starting to look good. It become enjoyable.
We continued along the path with steep ups and downs, but it became uncanny as space opened up for us to take in the scenery. The view from atop a horse is so much more expansive than usual. On top of that the view is of the sea and the wide base of Koma-ga-take. It's beautiful. They apparently also run in winter. Horse trekking through a snowy field sounds nice, too.
The 90 minute course was over before we knew it. You don't even need to bring anything. They brought us back to Mori Station on the way back. Thank you very much. It seems you can come for horse riding year round.
We visited the factory of "the Abe store" which was the inventor of Mori's ikameshi, and asked about the secrets of how to make them and its birth.
It is made by stuffing mixed rice of sticky rice and the non-glutinuous rice which is washed into a small-sized squid, the appropriate amount matches the expansion of the rice against the shrinkage of the squid, it is then seasoned with an original sauce and stewed. It became popular for its moderate texture, flavor, and amount. Now it is chiefly sold at the national famous ekiben competition, product exhibits and the like more so than at Mori Station as a station lunch box (ekiben).
We took a wander around the relaxed mall of Mori, lead by a delicious smell, we stopped at Chiroru-no-Mori Bakery.
They are popular for their freshly baked bread, so we expected to see carefully baked bread lined up, but unfortunately we were a little late and there wasn't a lot left :-(
We ended up buying 6 types of bread the shopkeeper recommended. So fluffy and warm. Yuuuum! Why is Japanese bread so amazing?
Walking along the road to the shine, we spotted amazing pictures on the manhole covers of Mt. Koma-ga-take with cherry blossoms. This sort of thing is so cool.
After praying at the Morimachiinari Shrine we got go-shuin seal stamps. We asked the chief priest to show us the main hall. When we asked about the arrows stuck in the ceiling, we were told that there is a purification ceremony where you shoot arrows after a ritual. After that, we sharpened the point of a branch, made an arrow and actually shot it. Amazing spiritual service.
Mori faces the marine produce rich Uchiura Bay, and is famous for having delicious seasonal seafood cuisine available year round. This time, we made futomaki sushi (thick-rolled sushi), and tried the sushi prepared by the head chef and son at Michelin restaurant MAOKA SUSHI.
After the experience, we were entertained with the delicious hand-rolled sushi of the head sushi chef and our first matcha tea experience.
He was kind and happy when I uploaded pics of the restaurant on SNS. It was fun as the head chef and son were very kind and joyful. It was delicious.
After this, we went back to Hakodate by "limited express Hokuto".
You can get on the "limited express" if you add a limited express ticket with a non-reserved seat!
The Aomori Hakodate ferry "MASHU MARU" links Hokkaido to Honshu. They put baggage carried to the Hakodate Port by freight train from inside Hokkaido onto the vehicle deck of the ferry together with the freight train. After crossing Tsugaru Channel by ferry, all freight train carried baggage is returned to the track as a return freight train again in Aomori Port. This was really the entrance doorway to Hokkaido (for people and luggage alike).
The explanation from the former sailor sure has some persuasive power. It was interesting with a powerful sense of realism! The Morse code and rope work experiences were fun, too.
It became really dark when we got on the deck, but Mt. Hakodate, Hakodate port and the cityscape were beautiful. This is a marine observation deck. This view can only be found here.
Aomori-Hakodate Ferry Mashu Maru
Admission: 500 yen(8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. from April to October, 6:00a.m.-5:00p.m. from November to March. ) You can enter within one hour before closing
xix Information: 3015 Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship “Mashu-maru”
To Yachigashira riding on the city tram. We went and worshiped in the Hakodate Hachimangu shrine which protected Hakodate which was the first site of the Hokkaido reclamation, placed by the Hokkaido Development Commission. It is the shrine office for 2 shrines, meaning there are 2 Go-shuin seal stamps to collect. The chief priest gave us a very educational talk. And it was very fascinating.Shabusho
The popular shabu-shabu restaurant (all-you-can-eat) was delicious (Hokuto Kamiiso District).Long-established restaurant of Hakodate salt-flavor ramen
Long-established restaurant of Hakodate salt-flavor ramen
Today we had a tour of Jomon culture that is one of the treats of a trip to Hokkaido. Southern Hokkaido is the starting place of the Hokkaido reclamation (reclamation by Meiji), but also the location where ruins and remains of the time of the Jomon culture of ancient Japan have been found in large quantities. It is a precious place where many remains including the remains of large ships have been excavated and, it is thought that it is connected in the remains of Sannai-Maruyama Special Historical Site of Aomori, making it a proposed site for world cultural heritage. The only national treasure in Hokkaido, being the Hollow Dogu, is displayed here.
We searched for a route using UU-Hokkaido's smartphone service "xix" with Google MAP, in order to go by bus to the Hakodate Jomon Culture Center from Hakodate Station front.
It looks like you can transfer to Hakodate bus.
1) Hakodate station square bus terminal, It departs 7:25 am from the sixth platform. Get on route 99A
2) Get off at Minamikayabeshisho, transfer to the bus headed to Shikabe Station departing 8:40 am (the bus headed to Shikabe stops at the bus stop behind the bus you got off)
3) Get off in front of Usujiri Elementary School (Usujirishogakkomae), 10 minute walk
4) Arrive at Hakodate Jomon Culture Center around 9 am.
The unknown location with little bus service was quite an adventure for me. But still, this really is interesting!
When we got off at Usujiri Elementary School, I checked the time of the next bus to Shikabe. We had plenty of time!
With there being hot springs nearby, it is warm and has little snow for Hokkaido, making this location rich in fishery products due to the nutrients that flow from the river out to sea. So it seems that it was an easy place for people to live. A place with the benefits of nature where people live. The Hollow Dogu is displayed amongst many displays of geographical formations, earthenware, arrowheads, fishhooks, and shell mounds that were excavated near here.Unglazed pottery experience!
There are so many items on the experience menu, it'll make your head spin.
You can do it for 30 to 90 minutes (200 to 500 yen).
This time, we attempted to make the head of the Hollow Dogu (also called: Kakku)! The finished product is baked at home in the oven after it's completely dried. You take it home as is.
xix Information: 3018 Hakodate Jomon Culture Center
Shikabe is a town of Hokkaido's most prominent hot spring with high temperature water of 100 degrees and fisheries facing Uchiura Bay. Kanketsusen Park is near Shikabe's roadside station where you can experience steamed dishes using the high temperature hot spring.
Unbelievable! The Hama-no-Kasan Shikabe premium cod roe gozen meal has so much cod roe it sticks out of the bowl. Apparently the seasonal fish changes everyday. Today it's boiled seasoned rockfish. So good!
The intermittent spring is about 15 meters in height, once every ten minutes it shoots up. It is a spot popular for families and couples.
In the park, there is foot bathing using the hot spring which gushed out. And of all times, we just happened to get interviewed by Hakodate Newspaper! Our debut in the Japanese newspaper!
The refrigerator of the roadside station has meat, vegetables, shellfish, eggs, steamed buns and such. Buy what you want to eat, and cook in the steaming kiln. We accidently opened the cover the wrong way (should open toward you). There are English instructions. The staff tells you how to do it. Everything was delicious.
Roadside station Shikabe Kanketsusen Park also has a lot of fresh fish and dried fish in addition to souvenirs.
The roadside station Shikabe Kanketsusen Park bus stop is the same spot for buses coming to and heading back. It's across the road from the roadside station. Please take care not to make a mistake with the destination.
xix Information: 3190 Shikabe Kanketsusen Park
We got a Go-shuin seal stamp at Shikabe Shrine! We got to see the main hall. I had a sealed letter issued by a shogun in Shikabe Shrine. Let me see a main hall. Paintings such as the Seven Deities of Good Luck, animals, and fish were painted all over the ceiling and it was interesting to look at the mysterious pictures one by one. We had a valuable experience.
We went back to Shikabe Station by bus and Hakodate Station by JR after this.
xix Information: 3191 Shikabe Inari Shrine
Go to "Jujigai" crossroad by city tram from in front of Hakodate Station, then on foot to the ropeway station at the foot of the mountain. It takes only 3 minutes to the mountaintop by Mt. Hakodate Ropeway.
(The ropeway is 20% off with the pass)
It was our first time seeing a full moon from Mt. Hakodate. The moonlight made a path in the sea. A moonwake. It left a great impression!
xix Information: 3033 Mt. Hakodate Ropeway
Returning to Hakodate Station, we ate the horsehair crab that we craved! We had them cook the big horsehair crab we chose from the outside water tanks. The horsehair crab is so exquisite with it so hot steam comes out of it. It's a very satisfying restaurant with grilled scallops on buttered potatoes, sashimi and more.
xix Information: 523 Hakodate Dining GAYA
We were taught by the Mori remains excavation office about the stone circles and squid shaped clay item remains of Washinoki. There was also the experience-based corner for touching Jomon pottery.The god of marriage
We prayed for good luck at the Yukura Shrine of Yunokawa Onsen. There were a lot of kinds of fortune slips, too, and squid shaped Ezo fortune slips, as well as English and Chinese notation, too.xix Information: 3016 Yukura Shrine
The first Japanese convent was very beautiful.xix Information: 3017 Trappistine Convent
Though it was cold, we went around the group of churches in Motomachi.
xix Information: 3048 Hakodate St. John’s Church
xix Information: 3109 Motomachi Roman Catholic Church
xix Information: 3007 Hachimanzaka slope
xix Information: 3051 Chacha Slope
xix Information: 3006 Hakodate Orthodox Church
Hakodate has a lot of places where you can interact with the locals and experience the sightseeing spots
For this, the "1-day unlimited bus and tram pass for Hakodate" is great value. For getting around a larger area, the "Hakodate Area Passport" is great value.
This Hokkaido trip was done with the Hakodate Area Passport, allowing us unlimited rides on buses, JR, city trams, and South Hokkaido Railway Company to the 2 cities and 3 towns of Southern Hokkaido, Hakodate, Hokuto, Mori, Nanae, and Shikabe.