函館山 Mount Hakodate (Hakodate-yama)
The best night view in Hokkaido!
Hakodate is a city with a proud history. Among the many changes that occurred in history, one of the most dramatic ones is the civil war at the end of the Edo period --- （1603-1867 ）--- in other words, the end of the Samurai era and the final stage of the war took place in Hakodate.
Back then, not only the domestic threat but also the pressure of an invasion from Russia was a serious concern of the Edo government. For that reason, as well as the star-shaped citadel named Goryokaku, Mt. Hakodate faced several artificial changes. The most noteworthy construction was making its top flat so that the army could keep the 360º scenery toward the Inlet of Hakodate. On later days, as the days of conflict were over, the flat top gave the mountain a unique observation place.
Personally, as a Sapporo resident, I am very proud of the various sightseeing places in Sapporo, however, the breathtaking scenery from Mt. Hakodate, especially the night view, is the one I admit with a top quality in Hokkaido. The unique symmetry coastline of Hakodate city created the honorable screen of starry view, and Mt. Hakodate fortunately locates at the position which the visitors can see as if they were standing at the horizon!
Rope-way is the simplest way to go up the mountain, and street car access is easily available. Regular fee for adult ride of the rope-way is 1,200 JPY. Yet using the city bus tour including the mountain tour is supposedly the best choice, as Hakodate itself has a lot of places to visit, especially if you like to learn about history.
World-class night view!
Hakodate has a long history in Hokkaido as it is the first harbor that opened for the Western countries together with Yokohama and Nagasaki at the end of the Tokugawa era (1859). I personally like Hakodate for its an exotic atmosphere different from other places in Hokkaido.
I believe Mt. Hakodate is the most popular tourist site. It is said that the night view from Mt. Hakodate is one of the world Top Three night views, along with Hong Kong and Naples. Actually the second edition of Michelin Green Guide Japan introduced the view from Mt. Hakodate with three stars (the highest class). The night view of Hakodate is a narrow land protected by the sea on both sides, Hakodate Bay and Tsugaru Strait that connect the sea of Japan to the Pacific ocean. Buildings, houses and roads are concentrated in the narrow area which is why there are so many lights in only one small spot in the middle of the darkness.
You can use the rope way connecting Sanroku station to Summit station at 334 meters in 3 minutes, the maximum speed is 7m/s, and the capacity of the gondola is 125 people, the largest in Hokkaido. You can enjoy the view of Hakodate all four seasons, cherry blossoms in Spring, green leaves in the Summer, colored leaves in the Fall and covered with snow in the clear and cold air of the Winter.
Mt. Hakodate is the heart of Hakodate citizens and its top can be seen from anywhere in the city. It is nicknamed “Gagyu Mountain” because it looks like “a cow lying on its stomach”. Tachimachi gape is at the left side of the cow seen from the city which represents the nose of the cow.
There is a nice restaurant in Summit station where you can relax, restaurant Genova. It serves fresh local seafood and local beef for lunch or dinner, if you want the window side table for a nice view, you should book it in advance.
- * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
Other Sightseeing Spots of Hokkaido
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