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.