The Port City is an 85-minute flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and a four-hour drive from Sapporo. It's a quality destination for those seeking something different.
The city once thrived as the gateway to Hokkaido and served as the premier ferry terminal for visitors from mainland Japan.
Its economy struggled since 1988 when the Japanese Government completed the Seikan Tunnel and bullet trains full of passengers started arriving from Japan’s main island of Honshu.
We want to share a few discoveries from our trip enjoyed over the last weekend of June.
The people of Hokkaido love soup curries and we found The Soup Curry Café Charlie’s Spice (2-11-15 Kamiyama,041-0832, Phone: 0138-51-0610) to be a notch above the competition.
The Wooden tables and chairs, novel knick-knacks, and great music made for a homey atmosphere and a relaxed lunch. The mutton, seafood, and chicken curry soups combined with fresh vegetables and seasoned based on ones preferences were delicious.
The prices were reasonable, and the menu offered a nice compliment of smoothies, soft drinks, and several kinds of beer.
The consensus restaurant favorite amongst local foodies and wine lovers who travel to Hakodate is an impressive Spanish restaurant called La Concha. https://www.vascu.com/laconcha/
The Tapas served are delicious, and a well-priced wine list combines for an exciting evening.
We especially enjoyed the fresh scallops, seafood carpaccio, tiny broiled squid, beef served in Ragu sauce and the seafood paella.
These paired well with wine served in decanters allowing for variety and affordable exploration.
It's all about starting the day with the best breakfast available in Hokkaido. For those who appreciate a sensational breakfast starting with an incredible selection of roasted salmon, fresh local vegetables and tables loaded with sashimi will have to stay at La Vista Hotel and Spa Resort (12-6 Toyokawacho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0065).
My Japanese wife and daughter love taking hot spring baths while looking over the Hakodate's Harbor, but what brings us back to La Vista is the breakfast.
The Japanese fill their trays with fresh rice covered in ikura, tuna tartar, and preferred condiments. Fresh pastries, local dairy products, salads, sausages, eggs, and a dessert bar inclusive of soft ice-cream also await the less intrepid.
We stayed in a room with a view of Mount Hakodate and the harbor and I enjoyed our time sipping wine and gazing at the quiet city as it fell asleep.
On a clear day, you can enjoy a trip up Mount Hakodate in a gondola and the view in the evening is lovely.
The mountain is 334 meters high, which is one meter taller than Tokyo Tower.
We walked through the Motomachi area on route to the "ropeway." and enjoyed meandering around the charming side streets and visited the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches.
Our final dinner with at the Ghengis Khan Mei Mei Tei ( 0138-24-8070) located next to the La Vista Hotel and we had a blast. We ordered the premium set with the option to eat and drink all we could in one and a half hours.
The Lamb was delicious, and the pork, beef, shrimp, and vegetables kept coming on demand. You ring a bell and second helpings are brought with speed as were the beverages.
Be sure to make a reservation and watch your time. The waiters cut you off the second your 90 minutes is complete.