Our first impression of Hakodate was a little lacklustre. It was likely the walk from the train station to our hotel, which by the time we arrived, was later in the day. It brought us through a rather industrial looking area, past several buildings which appeared to be abandoned. We were wondering what we had seen during our planning which lured us to this city.
Episode 9.1: https://youtu.be/RynikRwsgGQ
It didn’t take long for us to realize that Hakodate had a lot to offer!
We started the day with an amazing Japanese breakfast buffet at our hotel. The star of the show was the make your own chirashi bowl station with tons of fresh raw fish. A chirashi bowl is basically a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of raw fish and other cold toppings, such as cooked egg, seaweed, cucumber, etc. The rest of the buffet was also excellent and it started our day off on the right foot.
Unfortunately, I was more right footed after breakfast than Nicole. She was not feeling too hot the night before, and continued to feel a little under the weather. She decided to rest for awhile in bed leaving me to my own devices. I was going to sit in the lobby and do some work and research, but then decided to venture out on my own. There was a small island in the bay very close to our hotel and so I decided to go check it out.
It was still relatively early on a Sunday morning, and rather quiet in the area around our hotel. This was a bit surprising as the hotel is situated right beside a cute shopping area popular with tourists. The shops had not yet opened though, and thus the throngs of tourists had yet to arrive.
I explored the shoreline, stumbling across several informational signs explaining some of Hakodate’s history. I eventually reached the bridge over to Midori-no-Shima Island.
The island is quite small, and it didn’t take too long to walk it’s entire circumference. I met a local fisherman on my walk fishing off the island. He showed me his catch and told me what it was in Japanese. It appeared to be some sort of flat fish.
Once done with the walk on the island I started to wonder about how Nicole was doing. I had expected to hear from her by that point and decided to head back to the hotel to check up on her.
Luckily she was feeling better and came out with me for the rest of the day. It was still early enough that we could catch the Hakodate morning market which was to close at noon. Incidentally, the abandoned buildings we walked past the day before on our way to the hotel from the train station turned out to be the morning market. The market area was unrecognizable from the day before. All the buildings were opened up, and stalls were setup out front all the shops full of various seafood. There was also an abundance of tanks full of live crabs. All sorts of different species of crab, it was astounding. There are some indoor areas to the market as well, with a lot of produce vendors, as well as more seafood vendors. Inside there seemed to be more preserved seafood, such as dried scallops, dried squid and the like.
After the morning market we headed back to the hotel to regroup and decide what was next on the itinerary.
The day thus far really changed our impression of Hakodate, and the afternoon would reinforce that we made the right choice to visit the city. To be honest, we felt a little ashamed of ourselves for giving Hakodate a bad rap. But as you will see in the next episode, Hakodate is a beautiful city with a lot to offer.
Some may find my map epiphany interesting. I finally cracked the code of the Japanese map and shared my discovery in this video. North is not North, how does that make sense? Watch to find out! 🙂
There were several locations featured in this episode
- La Vista Hakodate Bay – Our home for 2 nights, and a tiny home it was. Our room was extremely small, but comfortable and clean. The breakfast was absolutely amazing!
- Polar Bear Monument – Monument with informational sign about early history of Hakodate.
- Midori-no-Shima (Island) – Island I explored while Nicole was resting. Highly recommend a relaxing stroll around the small island if time permits.
- Kanamori Soko Warehouses – Walked past these a few times, but yet to go inside (coming up in the next episode). Recounted the folklore of The Santa Clause Clan. 😉
- Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market) – If you are looking for crab, this is the place to go. I have never seen so many crabs all in one place, and all the various species was something to see.
Thanks for watching/reading!