It’s 4am in the morning but it sure looks like it’s 7am. It is the beginning of summer and though the sun is up the city is still peacefully sleeping. We wanted to have a shot of dawn but chasing sunrise in the land of the rising sun is a whole new challenge.
Hakodate is located to the south of Hokkaido and very much known as the gateway to Honshu by the Seikan Tunnel. Facing the Tsugaru Strait, what started as a small fishing village, Hakodate thrive as a port town growing to be one of the populous city in Hokkaido after Sapporo and Asahikawa. Incidently, Hakodate was the biggest city in Hokkaido until the Great Hokkaido Fire in 1934, destroying over 70% of the city.
Being one of the five ports that first opens to foreign trades in 1859, Hakodate celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2009 as an international port.
Looming over the city is Mount Hakodate. Standing at 334 meter high, Mount Hakodate offers an amazing view of Hakodate City. In fact it is one of the top 3 best views of Japan, along with Kobe’s Mt Rocco and Nagasaki’s Mt Inasa. Getting to the top of Mount Hakodate is easy as it is accessible via ropeway, bus or car.
As a port town, Hokadate is famous for its fresh seafood. Fresh ingredients such as squid, scallops, salmon eggs and many types of fish makes Hakodate Morning Market (located near the railway station) a famous tourist spot for shoppers to get fresh supply of seafood. Naturally, you have to wake up very very very early to get the best deals.
Being one of the earliest international port, Hakodate are exposed to the western food culture much earlier than other cities in Japan. As such, we could see the dishes in Hakodate are a mix of innovative cuisine from the two worlds.Moving around Hakodate is easy. There are streetcars (similar to trams) that could take you from one end of the city to the other end in 45 minutes.
Walking around the empty streets with the sun shining brightly makes us feel like Will Smith in ‘I am Legend’. Nonetheless, the town slowly began to come alive as the citizens of Hakodate began their daily routine.