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Discover Hakodate, Japan (2)

Wendy Yeh

Star-shaped Goryokaku Fort in Hakodate was designed in the European style –even when its purpose was to defend Japan from foreign imperialism – and is now flanked by thousands of native cherry trees. Currently, Goryokaku Fort serves as a place where unique aspects of Japanese culture can be shared with visitors from all over the world.

Spring begins with the cherry blossoms at Goryokaku Fort. Approximately 1,600 cherry trees that were planted here during the Taisho era, including the yoshino cherry variety, come to full bloom. I felt a bliss of serenity while walking on the pathway of a Japanese garden full of gorgeous flowers. I cherished those moments that I could appreciate the fleeting beauty of its beautiful and delicate cherry blossoms.

The Hakodate Goryokaku Festival is held in early summer, when the Meiji-Restoration Parade proclaims the history of Goryokaku Fort that began with the arrival of Commodore Perry as its theme.

The Hakodate’s Historic Pageant aims to reproduce the history of Hakodate on a midsummer night. The moat and stone walls of Goryokaku Fort are the stage for this spectacle.

Whenever I had a chance to travel to a new place, I liked to try my best to live like a local. Therefore, when I visited the beautiful city of Hakodate in Japan for the first time, I made sure that I took some time to stroll through its local market and chat with some of its vendors.

I browsed at busy Hakodate Morning Market where 400 vendors offer hairy crabs, sea urchins, salmon eggs, vegetables, fruits, and other varieties of fresh seafood. To take a break, I ordered a traditional tuna sushi lunch. It was amazing to taste the freshly caught seafood gourmet.

Later, I joined a Hakodate City Tour. First, I shuttled into the city with my tour guide and boarded a local tram to start the tour. I enjoyed walking up the inclined streets of the Motomachi district crossing by the historic churches and the park such a the Gothic-style Motomachi Roman Catholic Church which is famous for the altar presented to it by Pope Benedict XV.

The area around Motomachi maintains a congenial blend of Japanese and Western cultures. The Russian Orthodox Church stands just blocks from the Chinese Memorial Hall, and nearby I found traditional Japanese markets selling the signature Hakodate shio ramen, a salty noodle dish that is the city’s specialty.

Next, I visited Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple before going down the hill on foot to the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse. This warehouse is recognized as the icon of Hakodate where I could find bars, restaurants, and gift shops. I enjoyed my free time here before returning to the Hakodate-mae Station by the local tram.

I thanked my tour guide one last time, and turned toward my hotel.


 this wall is dedicated to honor Hakodate’s fishing industry		width=
this wall is dedicated to honor Hakodate’s fishing industry

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