Hakodate City Region

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 10:36 -- atkins22

By: Emma Yasui 

During the Jomon Period, southwestern Hokkaido was home to a considerable number of communities living by the coasts, river valleys, and forested mountains. The Yagi site is located near what is now known as the town of Minamikayabe, which is part of the larger Hakodate City area.

Minamikayabe is a small coastal village where people farm on the terraces, fish for squid, and produce large quantities of an edible kelp called konbu.

Not far from the centre of town is the Hakodate Jomon Culture Centre, where highway travelers and museum visitors can learn about prehistory, see a national treasure (the chuukuu dogu), and pick up some Jomon themed souvenirs.  In the surrounding mountains you can find a number of hot spring hotels, as well as several active volcanoes that are open for hiking.

 Across the mountain from Minamikayabe is Hakodate, the third largest city in Hokkaido.  Hakodate has a long and interesting history, much of which now forms the foundations of tourism in the region.  While the Jomon Period is part of local history, the emphasis is largely on events surrounding the opening of Hakodate Port to international trade in 1859.  Since 1639, Japan had maintained a foreign policy of isolation known as sakoku, but with the arrival of Matthew C. Perry it became impossible to continue with this seclusion.  The Treaty of Kanagawa officially designated Yokohama, Shimoda, and Hakodate as open ports, which lead to some unrest across the country.  The Goryokaku fort has become a reminder of this turmoil, as the location of the Battle of Hakodate that ended a period of civil war in Japan.

The increased contact with European and Russian traders led to a Bay Area that blends foreign and Japanese styles, giving Hakodate a unique appearance, and many points of interest.  Several Christian churches are settled alongside Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.  Historic government buildings and houses occupy the same streets as soba shops and izakayas. 

You can find local specialties at the Motomachi warehouses by the old port, but the best place to find produce and seafood is the Asaichi, a daily morning market full of squid, crabs, konbu, and melons.  The night view from Mt. Hakodate is also considered must-see when visiting the city.

For more on traveling in Hakodate: http://www.hakodate.travel/en/

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