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Hakodate, Japan (Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com)
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Gayle Keck
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Hakodate

Hakodate is a city of about 280,000, located on the southern tip of Japan's northernmost major island, Hokkaido. The city was Japan's first modern international trading port, opening in 1859. Today, it is known for its morning market, with more than 250 shops, including many selling local seafood. Hakodate is particularly famous as a squid-fishing port, and you can even find squid-ink ice cream cones here.

In addition, you can see interesting evidence of outside influence around town, including houses that combine Japanese and Western elements, foreign churches, brick warehouses, a Trapistine convent, a star fort -- and even yoshoku, the Japanese take on Western food, including items like deep-fried hamburgers or omu rice, an omelet stuffed with ketchup-seasoned rice.

Outside of the city are mountains and parks, including Shikotsu-Toya National Park, which has a lake, hot spring and smoking volcano.

Shore Excursions

About Hakodate


Pro

Interesting history of early Japanese interaction with international traders

Con

Beside the bustling morning market, there are not a lot of sights in the city

Bottom Line

Best visited when the cherry blossoms are in bloom at Fort Goryokaku


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Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Currency in Hakodate is the Japanese yen. For up-to-date currency conversion figures, visit www.xe.com. The best way to get cash is to use an ATM at a convenience store. Look for a 7-Eleven, Lawson's or Family Mart. You'll find plenty of them in the city center, about 15 minutes from the port.

Language

Japanese is Hakodate's official language. Some younger people and those at tourist attractions will likely know some English, but there are fewer English speakers here than in other major Japanese cities.