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Overlooked by the famous Mount Hakodate, the port city of Hakodate straddles a small peninsula on the southern tip of Hokkaido Island, looking out across the Tsugaru Straits to Aomori Prefecture in northern Honshu.

Hakodate harbourThis has long been an important fishing and trading center, and was one of the first ports opened to foreigners following the relaxing of the isolationist policy in the mid 19th century.

The legacy of the foreign settlements remains in the western Motomachi district, with the interesting mix of Western and Japanese architecture making it an enjoyable area for a stroll. The lingering foreign influence gives the town a cosmopolitan atmosphere, similar to that of its southern cousin Nagasaki with which it shares a common history as an open trading port during the early Meiji era.

The rest of town is a little strung-out, squeezed as it is by the mountains and the sea, but many of the hotels are close by the station in the central district giving easy access by tram to the various attractions in town.

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Audley Travel specialist Tamatha

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Map of Hakodate

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    Places near Hakodate

    Our expert guides to exploring Hakodate

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Hakodate, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Hakodate at its best.

    • Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island
      Driving in Hokkaido

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      Driving in Japan: Hokkaido Island

      Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is a volcanic, alpine-forested wilderness with bubbling hot springs and vivid-blue caldera lakes. Japan specialist Toby explains how you can make the most of your visit by self-driving across the island.

      9 min read

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