Panorama of Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan, taken from the top of Mt. Hakodate — renowned for its view of the surrounding bay and city — that we climbed early in the morning on the one clear day of our visit
Sprawled across the southern tip of Hokkaido prefecture’s peninsula, Hakodate was one of the first ports to open up to foreign trade after the end of Japan’s era of isolation. Traders moved in and foreign influences are still visible in constructions such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Chinese Memorial Hall, and the Old British Consulate. Western-style homes from that era mark the Motomachi District, located at the foot of wooded Mount Hakodate. The top of the mountain entices with spectacular views of town, especially on clear days and in the evenings. Japan’s first Western-style fortress, star-shaped Fort Goryokakucho (now known as Goryokaku Park), is a popular spot during cherry blossom time. The morning market near the city’s main station is a great place to explore for fresh produce and a variety of seafood such as sea urchin, salmon eggs and crabs.
The trail up Mt. Hakodate (1,096 feet / 334 meters high) in early April was covered with snow on the third of the trail that was shaded, Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan
A view of the west bay from Mt. Hakodate with our ship docked (mid-left, above the large, red, right-hand crane in the foreground), Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan; note the snow on the mountains surrounding the city
Two red Torii gates in front of miniature Shinto shrines on the hillside below Mt. Hakodate, Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan
The Hakodate Orthodox Church was founded by the Russian Consulate in 1859 with the existing church, adorned with distinctive copper domes and spires, dating back to 1916; Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan
A panorama of the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward — a beautiful example of colonial-style architecture from 1910; the majestic main hall and rooms are reserved for special guests such as members of the imperial family and the emperor; Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan
The view from The Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward‘s main hall’s balcony, Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan
The colorful inside of one of Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan’s main retail seafood, fish and food stores
At the morning market, giant local crabs for sale were alive and trying to climb out of their outdoor tanks, Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan; later for lunch at Gaya Restaurant we had a cooked crab leg that was around 24 inches (61 cm) long and delicious
These sweet and quite tasty “hairy crabs” are very popular in Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan; a medium size crab sells for approximately US$40 and a larger crab can go for as much as US$70 to US$90!
A panorama of Goryokaku Fort taken from the top of the modern, concrete Goryokaku Tower; the pentagon-style citadel was Japan’s first Western-style fort and the site is now home to an urban park, Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan; in about a month the 1,600 cherry trees planted in the fort during the Taisho era will come into full bloom
Sunset on our last evening in Hakodate, Hokkaido Island, Japan, before sailing south to Honshu Island for our next port, Tokyo