Today started with an early flight out of Okadama airport. It’s the smallest airport so far on this trip – 1 gate, 1 plane, and not much more. We were airborne for only 40 minutes before landing in Hakodate, on the southern edge of Hokkaido, with Hakodate bay on the west and the Tsugaru Straits on the east. Before checking in I went down to the beach on the east end of the city. The water’s too strong to swim in (and probably not that clean), but it’s a nice view and the breeze brings the heat down on a warm day.
In the afternoon I went to the Museum of Northern Peoples, another site full of Ainu artifacts and history about the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido and the northern islands. Some of the rooms are a bit scarce on English translations, but for only $3 it was a nice stop and gave me a bit more information than the museum in Sapporo.
For dinner I went to a local restaurant not far from my hotel. Their specialty is Ika Sashimi – squid. Like most of the restaurants this close to the harbour, the walls are lined with tanks full of live catches – king crabs, scallops, shrimp, squid, and a ton of fish. This place’s squid comes as fresh as it gets, and the staff are kind enough to warn first-timers that the squid will still be moving when you get your plate. Squid hasn’t been my favourite meal here so far, but it’s something for the bucket list and I might go back to the restaurant to try out the rest of their menu.
To end the day I made my way down to Mount Hakodate, which sits just south of the city and gives a perfect view of the entire place. The hike itself only takes 45 minutes, but the best views are at the top, so unless you like hiking you can take the ropeway up the side for $12 round-trip. Once on top you should wait until the sky is dark – the views get better as the day goes on and it’s well worth the wait. On a Friday night the observation decks were very, very crowded, but the outdoor garden deck doesn’t get as much traffic and has almost exactly the same view as the top floor.