International port

Hakodate Travel Blog

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Warehouse down at the harbor in Hakodate

Back in the south of Hokkaido Island is a fairly big city named Hakodate. It has played a fairly significant role during the history of Hokkaido and the Japanese presence on the island. Traditionally Japan did not care too much about the far north country of Hokkaido basically thinking it was more or less a wasteland. This all changed when the Russians starting expanding in the area and kept looking for place where they could increase their huge empire. When the Russian started to take a closer look around the Hokkaido area the Japanese leadership down at the main Honshu Island started to get worried about foreign expansion so close to their home territory. Hence a two of the warlords from northern Honshu were order to send up some of their samurais to take control of Ezo which were the present name of Hokkaido - and they both send 500 samurais north. One of them decided to use Hakodate as the base on Hokkaido Island. This was the first time Hakodate really made its mark on Hokkaido history.

 

When Perry arrived on his gunboats in Edo bay - present day Tokyo - in 1853 and 1854 he forced the Japanese to open ports to trade and provision for foreign ships. One of the ports which were open for foreigner was Hakodate. This is why the city is not really a typically Japanese city but it’s got a lot of old western influence from the days as an international port. Hence around the town are lots of old western style buildings. Back from the days when Hakodate was the main port in northern Japan the western countries established their consulates in the city hence walking around you’ll pass by the old English and Russian consulates.

 

On the top of one of the hills in the city you will find a huge selection of different churches and temples. The temples are sort of common in Japan but on this hill are a Lutheran, Catholic and Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Church is actually famous in all of Japan. The bell of the church was such a strange sound in Japan back when it was first used back in the late 19th century. Hence the locals took notice and today the current version of the bell has actually been noted down as one of the official 100 sounds of Japan. In addition to the churches is a small graveyard for foreigners who died in Japan there are a few different people buried there - both from the high end of the life like the Danish consul in Hakodate but there are also ordinary sailors buried in the cemetery.

 

The city is not solely dominated by western style buildings there are also a good number of shrines spread out across the city including several shrines in connection with different cemeteries.

 

Towering high above the city is a small mountain which can be reached by foot, car or a ropeway. I went for the easy way - and went on the ropeway. From the top of the mountain are some great view of Hakodate and you can see how the city is kind of isolated way out on a tiny island only connected with the mainland by a small strip of land. You can look down at the harbor and the many churches in the city but from the mountain most of the shrines are not visible.

 

The pace of the city seems really laid back place where everything comes to a halt after about 5.30 in the afternoon. Hence returning from the ropeway there really wasn’t a lot going on in the city.

Petra2111 says:
Beautiful pictures!!!
Posted on: Oct 12, 2009
sylviandavid says:
Really enjoying this featured blog... Congrats! Sylvia
Posted on: Jul 18, 2009
Koralifix says:
Congrats on yesterday's feature! Super job!
Posted on: Jul 12, 2009
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Warehouse down at the harbor in Ha…
Warehouse down at the harbor in H…
Warehouse down at the harbor in Ha…
Warehouse down at the harbor in H…
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The harbor in Hakodate
The luthern churhc
The luthern churhc
Houses on a steep road.
Houses on a steep road.
Entrance to Higashi Hongan shrine
Entrance to Higashi Hongan shrine
Entrance to Higashi Hongan shrine
Entrance to Higashi Hongan shrine
Tower at Higashi Hongan shrine
Tower at Higashi Hongan shrine
The man building at Higashi Hongan…
The man building at Higashi Honga…
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
Inside Higashi Hongan shrine
The priest inside Higashi Hongan s…
The priest inside Higashi Hongan …
Higashi Hongan shrine
Higashi Hongan shrine
The episcicol church
The episcicol church
Shirne entrance
Shirne entrance
Shrin
Shrin
The Russian church
The Russian church
The roses in front of the Russian …
The roses in front of the Russian…
The Russian church
The Russian church
The Russian Chruch
The Russian Chruch
Road leading down to the harbor
Road leading down to the harbor
Road leading down to the harbor
Road leading down to the harbor
Old houses in Hakodate
Old houses in Hakodate
Shrine entrance - the shrine was n…
Shrine entrance - the shrine was …
The old British Consulate
The old British Consulate
The old government building
The old government building
The tourist information
The tourist information
The old government building
The old government building
The old government building
The old government building
Memorial to naval shipmen lost in …
Memorial to naval shipmen lost in…
Russian consulate
Russian consulate
Graveyard
Graveyard
Graveyard
Graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
Shrine at the graveyard
The roof of a shrine
The roof of a shrine
Water for purification
Water for purification
Does nor really look like somethin…
Does nor really look like somethi…
Memorial for dead samurais
Memorial for dead samurais
Memorial for the dead prostitutes …
Memorial for the dead prostitutes…
Foreigner cemetery
Foreigner cemetery
Foreigner cemetery
Foreigner cemetery
Foreigner cemetery
Foreigner cemetery
Toori leading in to a shrine
Toori leading in to a shrine
Old building on the main street
Old building on the main street
The view from the top of the ropew…
The view from the top of the rope…
The view from the top of the ropew…
The view from the top of the rope…
The view from the top of the ropew…
The view from the top of the rope…
The view from the top of the ropew…
The view from the top of the rope…
Looking out from the top of the ro…
Looking out from the top of the r…
The thin land area of Hakodate
The thin land area of Hakodate
Looking out from the top of the ro…
Looking out from the top of the r…
Looking out from the top of the ro…
Looking out from the top of the r…
Looking out from the top of the ro…
Looking out from the top of the r…
Ships out at sea
Ships out at sea
The tower of Hakodate
The tower of Hakodate
The first temple I went to this da…
The first temple I went to this d…
Russian church
Russian church
Espicilan church
Espicilan church
The harbor
The harbor
The station - need to catch a trai…
The station - need to catch a tra…
Ships
Ships
The thin piece of land connecting …
The thin piece of land connecting…
Going down on the ropeway
Going down on the ropeway
The temple again
The temple again
Tori
Tori
From down below
From down below
The shrine behind the tori
The shrine behind the tori
Lamp
Lamp
Now looking down towards the city …
Now looking down towards the city…
neatly cut trees - they are everyw…
neatly cut trees - they are every…
Top of the tower
Top of the tower
All of the tower
All of the tower
The fortifications in the city
The fortifications in the city
The fortifications in the city
The fortifications in the city
The tower from the old fort
The tower from the old fort
Guns at the fort
Guns at the fort
Tree covered passage
Tree covered passage
Hakodate
photo by: tj1777