Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Japan 2013 - Day 8: Hakodate

Hakodate is Japan's 3rd largest city located at the southern tip of Hokkaido. Famous for stunning views from Mt Hakodate (which we saw the day before), we were glad to be able to tick one important attraction off our list. Next in the list, Hakodate's fresh, delicious seafood. One advantage of staying at New Ohte hotel was that it's located just across Morning Market.

in front of New Ohte Hotel

across the road is the Morning market

Tel#: 0120-85-8313

we weren't really morning people. Our visit to the market started at 10am.
Late for breakfast and quite early for lunch. 

some of the fresh fruits sold at the market

fresh flowers, too!

giant asparagus

fish variety

dried squid

we also explored the fresh seafood section which was on the other side of the building

King crab and hair crabs

they even have a squid fishing tub!

with a very friendly and accommodating crab seller
She let us feel the hair in these crabs

and allowed Mark to hold one of the king crabs, too!

We wanted to taste the king crab, but they don't cook only parts of it. They do sell frozen parts. We were ready for lunch though, and it has to be at the Morning Market. The lady suggested we try the hairy crab as it was from Hakodate, as compared to the king crab which was from Russia (or somewhere around there). So we chose one that was not too big nor too small, after all there were only 3 of us eating (remember, Ira is quite a picky eater). The one we got was 2300 yen. We were then ushered to the second floor, where the crab will be cooked (for a fee) and we dined.

a view from the second floor

While waiting for our hairy crab, we checked out the menu and picked one of their featured food items:
kaseidon - a bowl of mixed seafood delight.
There's shrimp, 2 different types of fish eggs, crab meat, and other things I couldn't identify.

Hakodate hair crab is served

Photos before we started munching the crab.

he wasn't that happy that he was disturb when he has already started eating

hair, meat and all

burp! What's left from our hairy crab dining experience.

this was were we had our brunch

after which, we explored the other parts of the market

Georgia coffee break for us. The kids seemed to have gotten to be addicted to it now. Uh-oh!

the famous melons of Japan

we found this stall which sold sea urchins
Hubby was pretty sure he wanted to taste one. It wasn't that cheap though.
1000 yen. Kelvin was game enough to try it. But didn't really like it.

I hesitated a bit but went for it.
It was cold. Melts in the mouth. And I thought it had an after taste that's similar to lavender
(from when we ate the lavender ice cream at Farm Tomita).

With stomachs full, we headed to Goryukaku Park. It is Japan's first Western-style fort (star-shaped) built in the last eras of the Edo Period.  In the 1910s, it became a public park, being no longer of military importance, and over a thousand cherry trees were planted along its moats. It would have been the best places to see cherry blossoms in Hakodate. Unfortunately, we arrived a little too late.

Tel#: 0138-51-4785

at the main building next to the Goryukaku Tower

first glimpse of the park's flora

Goryokaku Tower
It would have been a great vantage point to see the star shape of the fort from the tower. But we didn't go up as there were bus loads (again) queuing to get to the top. We decided we would just walk around the park.

a quick group photo before the tourists pour in

a floral passageway towards the park.
Although there were no more sakuras in sight, these beauties were a welcoming sight.
And we were lucky not many people were walking through it when we were there.

a great view of Goryokaku Tower from one of the sides of the fort

one photo wasn't enough to capture the beauty of this place,
to think that we were just at the entrance

more flora along the way

interesting welcome just, next to the toilets.
The boys were a bit shy to pose for a photo here as there were tourists sitting nearby.

Hakodate Magistrate's Office

i love how we were able to capture the Goryokaku Tower framed in these tall trees

we walked out towards one of the fort's moats

there were turtles

and a duck with its ducklings

paddling along the moat

We stood there for a few minutes just looking at these animals. Ira was so engrossed looking at them, taking photo of them. Some visitors even brought bread to feed the ducks and turtles.

When the family of duck and her ducklings left, it was time for us to walk back inside the fort.

stopped by this open space, just behind the Magistrate's Office
The boys found some sort of acorns and played, kicking the acorns around, running after each other. Hubby and I joined in their game.

our eldest is now taller than us!

Kelvin was supposed to be in his dad's place. But it seemed he was a bit too big in that place. So hubby had to "step down" and be the little man in this photo.
goofing around with our boys

carpet of flowers

another photo at the exit before we left Goryokaku.

We made sure we didn't go past the parking time (2hrs for 400yen). Otherwise we need to pay extra, and go one more round to make use of the extra time!

After Goryokaku, we thought of going to the Red Brick Houses which was in our itinerary. We drove there looking for a good parking spot (hoping for a free or cheaper option). We weren't staying for long anyway. We probably went around the area thrice but didn't see any good (free) parking space. Then we saw a 7-11 shop. We stopped over to grab some snacks and realized we could actually park the car there and walk a few blocks to where the warehouses were. So that's what we did.

some sort of shrine near the entrance to the Brick Houses with a black bunny.
Ira couldn't resist touching the cute animal. You should have seen his face. 
I think this photo somehow shows a little bit of his cheeky smile.

first of many of these structures along the Kanemori Brick Warehouse street
14-12 Suehiro0cho, Hakodate City
tel#: 0138-27-5530

In 1859, Hakodate Port opened as one of the first international trading ports of Japan. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, the first commercial warehouse in Hakodate, became witness to the city's history as the the port flourished. It is regarded as one of the symbols of the Hakodate Bay Area. Thus, we were there to have a feel of its history.

ringing the bell (for good luck?)

on our way to explore the Red Brick Houses

the warehouses now have several modern shops inside 
mostly offering local products and souvenirs

would you believe this was a mouse???? A big, metal one.

crossed the road to get closer to the seaside

souvenir shop filled with lots and lots and lots of food items - chocolates, squid, biscuits, etc etc

overlooking one of the steep streets in Hakodate.
Yes, there are several of them lining Hakodate's streets.

on our walk back, passing by the Red Brick Houses again
Hubby tried to capture the famous shots taken from this street.

we also also these very old mail boxes (I would assume they were no longer in use)

7-11, we are on our way back to you. 
Of course, we had to go in and get something to eat/drink (again). With these boys, every stop was an opportunity to eat and drink!

We still had some energy left and decided to drive around the streets of Hakodate to see (drive through) some of the other attractions. But we were only able to take a photo of this one.

One of the historic buildings in Hakodate, this is the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward. It was designated as an important cultural property. In front of this building is a beautiful park overlooking Hakodate city.

drove down, to the end of the staircase, in front of the park

one of the sloping streets of Hakodate

Another day has been spent wisely. We didn't need to wake up too early nor go home very late at night, but we saw so many places and things Hakodate had to offer. And we loved them all. 

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