Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 Japan Vacation, Day 5: Hakodate

The next portion of our vacation would take us to Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido was recently named as Lonely Planet's #1 top Asia spot for 2016, though we had planned to go from months ago. I had never been to Hokkaido before, and we figured that it would be cooler than extreme heat and humidity we had experienced in Tokyo on our last visit two years ago (though so far this time it has been cooler).

We got up early Tuesday morning and took the subway to Tokyo station. The newest shinkanen (bullet train) line that connects Tokyo to Hokkaido was just completed earlier this year.

It was about a four hour trip, and Kai watched movies on his iPad the whole time.

We arrived at Hakodate, toward the southern tip of Hokkaido, at lunchtime, and had plans to go to a restaurant where you can catch live squid. The staff quickly slices the squid up and serves them up raw as sashimi. Even though cut up, the pieces of squid are still moving as you eat them. I wasn't sure that I would be able to eat moving squid, but my wife insisted that we should all try it as you can get it any fresher than that.

Alas, by the time we dropped off our bags at the hotel, the restaurant stopped serving. So I was only able to take pictures of the squid, but could not eat them.

We did find another restaurant that served seafood. We had to order squid, of course, though it mostly wasn't moving.

We all tried some. Kai likes all kinds of seafood (except fish, oddly enough), though I'm not sure that he particularly enjoyed the squid.

Though for my main dish, I ordered crab chirshi sushi which is another specialty of the area.

After lunch, we visited the main site in Hakodate, Goryokaku, the star-shaped fort from the 1860s Edo-period.

Inside the fort, we toured a recreation of the old magistrate's office.

And then we went over to a nearby tower where we could see the fort from above.

Here's the view from the opposite side where you can see Mount Hakodate in the background.

Hakodate is famous for having very tasty melons. Here is a box of four selling for 10,000 yen, which is about $100.

So of course we had to try some fresh-squeezed melon juice and a few pieces of melon.

I am normally not a big fan of melons, but this was by far the tastiest melons I have ever had.

For dinner, we went to a hamburger restaurant called Lucky Pierrot, a local place that supposedly serves burgers so tasty that it keeps McDonald's from opening there.

Kai, my wife, and I had the house specialty, a Chinese Chicken burger and I must say, it was quite good. The chicken tasted a bit like orange chicken.

We had plans to take the ropeway to the top of Mount Hakodate after dinner as the night view is said to be spectacular. But the clouds rolled in so we figured that it wouldn't be worthwhile to make the trip.

But all in all, it was another good day in Japan.

More to come.


  1. I've also always wanted to see Hokkaido. $25.00 a melon...I wouldn't be a fan of them either :)

    I love the many flavors of Japanese fruit drinks. I also read a Japanese blog (in English) from a woman who lives in Hokodate.

    I must say...I would rather eat something a little less fresh than anything moving.

    What I love almost as much as the views from the trains...the food on the carts which go up and down the isles.

    It looks like another great day in Japan. I am looking forward to seeing more.

    1. Japanese fruit drinks are the best as you can get so many different flavors than you can back home.

      Haha, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wouldn't look forward to eating food that is moving. My wife was making fun of me for it. :)


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