Hakodate, Hokkaido

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April 28th 2008
Published: April 28th 2008
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Well, we left Sendai at 8:37 this morning. I got myself out of bed by 6:45 and had everything ready to go and meet my parents at the meeting place. I grabbed some food from 711 before walking down to the station. They had been up for a while in Starbucks and we just met, chatted, got a last drink and headed up to our shinkansen. My parents have the Japan Rail pass. This means that they prepaid for the pass and just pick up the tickets where ever they are going. There are numerous levels of passes, the highest being the Green Car passes. They have the Green Car passes.

I have never ridden in such luxury before. There was an beautiful lady who came over for a complimentary hand towel and took our orders for a drink. The seats were wide and spacious with lots of leg room and plenty of space to relax and sleep the ride away. It's like riding first class on an airplane. Amazingly comfortable but ridiculously expensive. I will not go into detail about how much money is being spent on my tickets. Let's just say that it's way more than it should be.

We arrived in Hachinohe, the last stop of the shinkansen, around 10:08 and made it onto our super express to Hakodate from there. The train ride was around 3 hours and rural Aomori just rolls past. We ran along the coast for a bit of the ride and got to seem some ocean starting to act up from the storm that was blowing in. On the way to Hakodate, you have to go through a tunnel. This tunnel connects all the trains between Hokkaido and Honshu. It took about 20-30 minutes to go through and then we were in Hokkaido and running along the coast until we arrived in Hakodate at 1:15. We ran and got our tickets for Sapporo while we were there and then went to our hotel, located right down the street from the station, checked in and then headed out to the Goryokaku Fort by bus.

When you get to Goryokaku there is a tower in front, the Goryokaku Tower, that you can go up and see Hakodate and the fort below you. The fort grounds, the old fort is long gone. Goryokaku was the first Western fort in Japan and was shaped like a 5 pointed star. Visitors can still walk around the grounds and they are lined with Cherry trees. Lucky for us, it is Cherry blossom season in Hakodate so, my Dad and I went walking around the grounds while Mom stayed in the tower gift areas and enjoyed some peace and quiet. The fort is stunning with all the sakura blossoms out. Some of the trees weren't in full bloom yet. The walk around the fort is free but to go up to the observation deck of the tower will cost you around 850 yen. I felt it was worth it, they also have English guides to some of the extras at the top.

After walking around the fort we were ready to head back to the hotel and actually get into our rooms and relax for a little while. Dinner was free, curry rice, and then Dad headed up to Hakadate Mountain. The night view from Hakodate Mountain is famous in Japan. I believe it is one of the three views of Japan. We got a bus from Hakodate station from stop 4 that took us straight up to the summit for only 360 yen. The bus ride was a little unsettling but the views from the top are absolutely gorgeous. It was a clear night so the view was so clear and all the lights of the city were lite up. We tried to get a picture that would do it justice but our cameras just don't cut it it seems. The pictures you could have taken were also too pricey for us. Hopefully some of my pictures came out well.

We got something to drink, coffee for Dad, and eat, soft served ice cream for me, and enjoyed the view from inside the observatory. It was also 40 degrees up there. Ridiculously cold in my opinion. We headed down the mountain by cable car and then walked to a tram station. We had some problems knowing exactly which direction we were suppose to go but I asked not 1 but 2 Japanese to find out if we were on the right side of the tracks; which we weren't. The street car ride was quick and easy. We had to walk a couple of blocks to the hotel from there but all in all it was a very good first day to the Hokkaido tour. Tomorrow is another day in Hakodate!!

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28th April 2008

what lovely people
Kathryn, What lovely people you have traveling with you! I know that they very much enjoyed the wonderfully fresh shrimp and crab lunch you took them to, and the friendly taxi driver. May I also say that I never seen such small bathrooms before in my life! What a big opened beautiful city Hakodate is, and the cherry blossoms are absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to read the next blog! LebdaWhen

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