Like Sakata on Honshu, Hakodate is a seaport, but while Sakata appears to be a sleepy city, Hakodate is quite a bustling place. It is famous for its ika or squid and early in the morning many touristy restaurants near the waterfront serve a variety of fresh (of course raw) seafood. We arrived in this city midday of July 30, 2012, but did manage to find one place that still had some food left at four in the afternoon.
In the evening we walked to Hakodate Ropeway and took it to the top of Hakodate Mountain. Here the city lights situated on a narrow peninsula with the Pacific Ocean on both sides could be seen. We also noticed some very bright lights further out on the water. Later we were told that these were probably the extremely bright lights used by squid fishermen to attract and then net them.
In the morning we took a streetcar to an observation tower from which the city could be seen as well as the remains of the huge pentagonal star shaped Fort Goryokaku. This city is the site of the last stand of the pro-Tokugawa forces against the Meiji Restoration that took place in 1868. Interesting that not long after the war the winter ice forming in the fort's moat was harvested and sold in Honshu as Goryokaku Ice.
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