One of Hokkaido’s oldest and largest onsen resorts on the city’s eastern coast, Yunokawa was used as a hydropathic for injured soldiers following the 1868-1869 Boshin civil war. Today there are about 20 onsen accommodation. From summer through winter, you will see fantastic views of isaribi (squid fishing boats’ light) from the coastline.
01 BOTANICAL GARDEN
Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden
函館市熱帯植物園 / 3-1-15 Yunokawa-cho / 9.30am-6pm Apr-Oct, to 4.30pm Nov-Mar / Adult ¥300, child ¥100 / Wi-Fi / www.hako-eco.com
This indoor tropical botanical garden by the sea introduces palm trees, bananas, lemons and exotic flowers brought up on hot spring heat. From December to early May, Japanese monkeys bathe in an open-air onsen.
湯倉神社 / 2-28-1 Yunokawa-cho / 24hrs / FREE / www.yukurajinja.or.jp
Just a short walk from Yunokawa tram stop, this shrine is said to the birthplace of Yunokawa Onsen.
Kosetsu-en (Miharashi Park)
香雪園 (見晴公園) / 54 Miharashi-cho / 24hrs / FREE
Hokkaido’s most authentic Japanese garden inside Miharashi Park, Kosetsu-en dates from 1898 by the wealthy marchant Iwafune family. It features some 150 kinds of trees, ponds and a Western-style greenhouse built in the Meiji period. The best time to visit here is in the autumn-foliage season (late October to early November, when it is lit up). Take bus 14 from Hakodate Station stop 2 to the Kosetsu-en (40min) via Yunokawa Onsen dentei-mae.
トラピスチヌ修道院 / 346 Kami-Yunokawa-cho / 8am-5pm, to 4.30pm Nov-20 Apr / Closed 30 Dec-2 Jan / FREE / www.ocso-tenshien.jp
Japan’s oldest women’s convent founded in 1898 by eight French nuns, the red brick buildings were reconstructed in 1927 and its front garden is open to the public. There is a small travelers’ church, souvenir shop and tiny gallery. The popular souvenirs here are the tasty madarena (madeleine) and cookies.
To get here, take the Trappistine shuttle bus from Hakodate Station stop 4 (37min) via Yunokawa Onsen dentei-mae.
JRA Hakodate Racecourse
函館競馬場 / Hakodate Keiba-jo / 12-2 Komaba-cho; 9am-5pm on race days, 10am-noon & 1-4pm on weekday / Closed Mon, Tue & holiday / ¥100 / Wi-Fi / japanracing.jp/en
There are 25 JRA racecourses in Japan, among them Hakodate is the oldest, which built in 1896. The new main stand has several eateries and an observation deck overlooking the ocean. JRA racing are held on Saturday and Sunday from mid June to mid July. Take a tram from Hakodate Station to the Keibajo-mae (競馬場前: 25min).
Getting There & Around
Trams run from Hakodate Ekimae to Yunokawa Onsen (30min) via Goryokaku-koen-mae (15min) continue to Yunokawa terminus. The last tram from Hakodate Ekimae to Yunokawa is 10.40pm.