Hakodate is a worthwhile destination for snow travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path winter adventure.
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Hakodate is a worthwhile destination for snow travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path winter adventure.

Hakodate is the Southernmost city in Hokkaido situated across the Tsuga straits from Japan’s main island. It’s the last stop for travelers taking the shinkansen from Honshu to Hokkaido, but is usually bypassed on the journey to the ski fields further North. This is a bit of a shame, as Hakodate does have good skiing and is one of Japan’s premier sightseeing destinations. The city is famous for its impressive vistas from Mt Hakodate, the bay area, it’s historical architecture and the famous Yunokawa Onsen. Hakodate is a great place to visit on rest days or if you are transiting through, especially if you like squid.

Skiing in Hakodate

The ski resorts in Hakodate are often overlooked as travelers make their way up to the more internationally known Niseko. The 3 resorts - Hakodate Nanae, Niyama Kogen & Greenpia are local resorts with little English spoken. The snow quality can be good during peak season, but the low elevations can mean a shorter season than the rest of Hokkaido. The cost of lift tickets, rental and lessons are cheaper, although it can hard getting an English speaking instructor. Still for those who like venturing off the beaten track, there are opportunities here for scoring runs by yourself with no one around.

Hakodate Nanae Snow Park

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Niyama Kogen

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Greenpia Onuma Ski Resort

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Compare Hakodate ski resorts

Hakodate Food

Located between the Tsuruga straight and the Funka Bay, the many fisheries in Hakodate guarantee the freshest seafood. This area is known especially for its “Asa Ika” - Pacific flying squid caught in the straights and unloaded fresh from port each morning. It is served in various ways from sashimi to fried cutlets and dons. Squid ink is also a popular ingredient here and you can find it flavouring soup curries, dumplings and even ice cream. Hakodate is also famous for it’s shio ramen, which is said to be the original ramen dating back to the Meiji era. The clear salty broth made from pork and chicken bones with dried seafood and kelp gives it a surprising rich flavour.


Katsu Ika Odori-don
Known as “Dancing squid bowl”, this dish is not for faint hearted. The tentacles still attached to the severed squid head flail around as you eat this seafood bowl.
Ika Sugatayaki
Whole bbq squid is a popular dish at izakayas in Hakodate.
Ika Somen
Squid sashimi Hakodate style. Fresh thinly sliced squid is eaten like noodles with soy sauce and ginger.
Shio (Salt) Ramen
Despite its clear soup, shio ramen is incredibly tasty. The broth is made by boiling pork and chicken bones and often flavoured with dried squid and sardines.

Hakodate Restaurants

The Daimon Yokocho is a laneway of small eating and drinking stalls located near the Hakodate station. You can find ramen, sushi, seafood and izakayas here. For seafood, head to the Donburi Yokocho in the Hakodate Asaichi morning markets, where you will find stalls selling the freshest sashimi and kaisendons. There are also lots of options in the bay area including well known Hakodate restaurants.

Hakodate Asaichi Ikatsuri Taiken
At this seafood stall you can try fishing for live squid yourself. The staff will prepare your catch for you to eat while it is still fresh.
Ikkatei Tabiji
This shop located in the Hakodate Morning Market is one of the best places for squid sashimi and seafood. You can try dancing squid bowls here.
Ikuratei sells fresh seafood kaisendon and steaming bowls of seafood congee which is jus the thing for cold Hakodate winter mornings. Their specially seasoned salmon roe is a must try.
Hakodate’s most famous ramen shop has a couple of locations in the city. Their no 1 selling shio ramen is a favourite amongst locals and tourists.
Lucky Pierrot
Not for those with Coulrophobia. “La-pi” is a chain of themed fast food joints which is found only in Hakodate. Each branch is uniquely and bizarrely themed.


vinceFebruary 6 24
When you are in Hakodate, you just have to try Shi…

When you are in Hakodate, you just have to try Shio ramen the city is known for. Shinano is a small brightly lit shop conveniently located just across the station which specialises in the the salt based stock made with chicken and pork bones. Went for the recommended bowl and a serve of gyoza with Sapporo classic. The soup was flavourful and because it was so clear you could see a fair amount of oil on top. Make sure you let it cool because it retains a lot of heat.

Hakodate Shio Ramen Shinano
vinceFebruary 8 24
Chthulhu rising!! Ika odori don may be too much if…

Chthulhu rising!! Ika odori don may be too much if you are squeamish. But this was the freshest squid I've ever tasted and it wasn't slimy at all. Each bite was crunchy and full of flavour. If you are going to try one thing in Hakodate this is it.


Where to Stay in Hakodate

Hakodate city has the most accommodation options ranging from hotels to pensions. Staying near the Shin Hokuto station makes it convenient to access the trains. Furukawa onsen is another option if you want to relax in more traditional ryokans. You can also stay in Onuma if you are planning on skiing Hakodate Nanae or Greenpia.

View all hotels in Hakodate

Hakodate Ski Shops & Rentals 

Your options are limited to the 2 big sports complexes in the city - Xebio and Alpen. If you need to hire equipment, you can do so at the ski resorts.

View all ski & snowboard shops in Hakodate

Things to do in Hakodate

Hakodate is a popular sightseeing destination for locals and tourists alike. Whether it’s taking in the scenery at the top of Mt Hakodate, exploring the old buildings or rejuvenating at the hot springs, there is lots to keep day trippers busy.


Mt Hakodate Observatory
Take the ropeway up to the observatory for incredible views of the bay. At sunset the illuminated city below makes this one of the best night time views in Japan.
Hakodate Asaichi morning market
One of the biggest morning markets in Japan Check out the variety of seafood before tucking into breakfast at one of the stalls in the Donburi Yokocho.
Yunokawa Onsen
This hot spring resort located close to Hakodate city is one of Hokkaido’s most famous onsen towns and the water is said to have exceptional healing powers.
Kanamori Red Brick Warehouses
The row of restored red brick warehouse buildings in the bay area is now a shopping and eating district. Pick up souvenirs, relax at a cafe or down a few at the Hakodate beer hall.

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Usujiri Ski Area

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