Hakodate-yama (函館山: 334m) boasts one of the world’s most beautiful night views, as well as Hong Kong and Napoli, which looks like big wings crossing the ocean. The entire mountain was a military fort of Hakodate Yosai (函館要塞) from 1905 to 1945, you will find some old gun batteries around the ridge line, such as Goten-yama and Senjojiki.
01 CABLE CAR
函館山ロープウェイ / 10am-10pm, to 9pm 16 Oct-24 Apr / return ¥1500 / 334.co.jp
Climbing to the summit just in 3 minutes, Hakodate-yama Ropeway offers breaking views over the town and its bay. Sanroku-eki base station is about a 10-minute walk from Jujigai tram stop.
02 HISTORIC SITE & SCENIC VIEWPOINT
Motomachi Water Supply Pond
元町配水場 / Motomachi Haisui-jo / 1-4 Motomachi / 9am-6.30pm 4th Sat of Apr-Aug, to 5.30pm Sep, to 4.30pm Oct-23 Nov / FREE
Diagonally opposite the ropeway base station, this Japan’s second oldest water supply pond is still in use for around 10,000 citizens. From the square you can see over the town from the viewing platform on the hilltop. Cherry trees bloom in early May.
Getting There without the Ropeway
BUS: From late April to mid November, mountain buses (登山バス: tozan bus) run between JR Hakodate Station stop 4 and the top of Hakodate-yama (30min / ¥400), as well as Sanroku-eki (15min / ¥240). An one-day pass is available.
MOUNTAIN ROAD: The mountain road is closed to private cars, motorcycles and bikes between 5pm and 10pm (25 Apr-15 Oct), as well as in winter.
HIKING TRAILS: There are several hiking trails from the town such as Shomyo-ji and Tachimachi-misaki. You can hike up for around an hour. At the foot of the mountain, Hakodate-yama Fureai Center (函館山ふれあいセンター: 8.45am-5pm) has hiking maps, information of the old fort and nature.