Travel Thru’ The Lens: Princess Cruises – Hakodate / Hokkaido with Nikon D7200

After travelling on the boat for a full day and night and stuffing ourselves silly with food, it is good to get out of the boat and exercise our legs. Today we arrived at Hakodate (函館, used to be 箱館)Hokkaido’s third largest city.  Located at the island’s southern tip. Hakodate is best known for the spectacular views to be enjoyed from Mount Hakodate and its delicious, fresh seafood.

As one of the first Japanese harbor cities to be opened to international trade after the country’s era of isolation, Hakodate has experienced notable influence from overseas, and the foreign population’s former residential district and a Western style fort are among its main tourist attractions. (taken from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5350.html)

A nice welcome from the locals.
Docked at the Hakodate Port
The kindergarten kids putting up a traditional dance as the crew prepares for the disembarkation.
Under the hot sun while they rattle the clappers joyously.
Welcome!! The more you bites it, the better it tastes. Wonder what surume is? It is called the dried shredded squid or dried shredded cuttlefish.

Upon arrival we took the shuttle bus from the ship to the city centre and Japan Railway’s main terminal for the city. To get around the city, one could buy the bus and tram season pass. I personally would say the tram pass is more than sufficient to get one around the city without much problems. Just get to the tourist information centre just at the entrance of the train station and you can buy the bus and tram passes. Walking in Hakodate is not difficult too with a map in hand.

Our first stop is the morning fish market with the fresh sea food on sale which is just next to the place we alighted from the bus. As we arrived at Hakodate close to mid-day, it is the perfect place to get our Ramen lunch.

At the entrance of one of the complexes at Hakodate’s morning market
Interacting with the local stall holders.
Flaming the oysters.
Local coffee, Local char siew ramen and the Salmon & Roe Rice bowl (don).

Fort Goryokaku (五稜郭) is one of a few star shaped fort that exists around the world to protect the city from invading western powers. It is also the site of a civil war between the army of the new Meiji government and the remnants of the shogunate army.

In the centre of the fort is the Magistrate office where Hokkaido is administered. Part of the building is reconstructed. To see the whole site, the only way is to go up to the observation Goryokaku Tower is located nearby.

Reminds me of the tram service of Melbourne and San Francisco. Just show the tourist tram pass when you alight. There are only two main tram lines for the whole city and both lines merges near the JR station so it is very convenient.
The observation tower.
That’s the shuriken shaped fort with the magistrate’s office right in the middle surrounding by cherry blossom/sakura trees. We are a bit too late for the viewing.
The magistrate’s house…
…and the Interior. Really very cosy and inviting.
Around the grounds, purple flowers covered the walkway.

We then make our way back to Motomachi, a suburb of Hakodate where foreign traders from China, Russia and Western countries used to live. That explains the myriad of churches and western styled architecture littering the area. As the area is on the slope it immediately reminds me of San Francisco too. There are the Russian Orthodox Church, Chinese Memorial Hall and the old Hakodate Publick Hall. Generally a very nice place to wander around just before making my way up to Mount Hakodate to take in the evening view of the city nightscape (the picture right at the start of this blog post).

There are cute animal statues around the City area.
One of the many slopes around Motomachi. The place reminds me of both San Francisco because of the slopes and also Hobart because it is really really quiet.
Superb place for a wedding shoot because of the architecture and the beautiful street devoid of people.
You can see the harbour from here.
One of the few churches in the area.
Old buildings …
… and small shops gives Motomachi a very nice vibe to the area.
On the way up using the ropeway (cable car).
The view of Hakodate with the Diamond Princess just docked at the left side of the bay. Magnificent sight at 334m high.

You can view the dusk scene time lapse sequence below

Next Stop: Akita with Canon 760D

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