Over the weekend I went on a two day trip to the charming city of Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan! This town has been on my travel list for a while because of its famous dancing squid dish and gorgeous views from the top of Mt. Hakodate. Why I chose to go this weekend is because Nakata Yasutaka played a show at Riviera (in Sapporo), so I figured it would be the perfect combination of sightseeing and listening to my favorite music.
The first place on my list was Yunokawa Onsen to see the hot-tubbing monkeys! This was very close to the airport and inexpensive to travel to by taxi. I was happy to skip town for this scenic view:
Seeing monkeys bathe was definitely an experience. Though you can’t bathe with them, there are a number of hotels that are part of Yunokawa where you can use onsen! Here is a comprehensive list, including those that are available to day trippers. I took a very relaxing bath at Hotel Banso which had an amazing aroma sauna, then took the tram to Mt. Hakodate to see this glistening view of the city:
A lot of people say that the city lights of Hakodate glisten like a jewelry box, and it’s very true! You can take a cable car to the top of the mountain from 10am to 10pm to witness this breathtaking view. The sensation that I got from being up here was truly amazing–I felt like I could finally clear my head after being in Tokyo for so long.
This town is very peaceful and is probably the closest place that I’ve been to in Japan that resembles the countryside where I grew up in America (minus the squid, monkeys, and mountains). It’s very quiet, the people are friendly, and there are a lot of parks and rivers. However, I think Hakodate is definitely more fun! A lot of towns in America are suburbs, but Hakodate has a lot of nature so it is better for sightseeing.
After my wonderful experience on the mountain, I went to Bar Jey’s in central Hakodate and was whipped up an impressive cocktail:
There is not a lot of nightlife in Hakodate, but there are a number of fantastic bars! Because I am a budget traveler, I stayed at Hakodate’s only net cafe called Eye Cafe. It is cheap and close to Fort Goryokaku and is very convenient. I will cover the rest of my adventures in my next post! Please look forward to it.