Hakodate (函館), one of the largest cities in Hokkaido (北海道), also has its own attractions during the winter season that both locals and tourists look forward to every year. Aside from the breathtaking landscape, historical buildings, and delicious food, Hakodate also offers winter activities that are truly enjoyable and worth the time to visit. Check out below the 6 events this winter that should not be missed.
Celebrate Christmas in Hakodate from December 1 to 25 as a 20-meter fir tree is set up floating in the bay area in front of the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses. Given by Hakodate’s sister city Halifax in Canada, this imposing Christmas tree is decorated with 50,000 dazzling lights illuminating the water and its surrounding area.
The lighting ceremony of the Christmas Red Tree, which lasts for 15 minutes, happens every 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm. Other events are held such as fireworks display and performances from various artists.
Stalls selling a wide selection of soups are also available from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm. For only 600 yen, you can have a cup of piping hot soup perfect in this cold weather.
Illuminations for Christmas
Hakodate Hokkaido Japan
北海道 函館 pic.twitter.com/Lak6a87Uad
— mamimoe1 (@mamimoe1) November 12, 2014
Catch the streets of Hachimanzaka and Nijukkenzaka, as well as Motomachi Park, turn into a magical sight as the whole place is illuminated by more than 50,000 lights from December 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019. It is an ideal place to stroll around and watch as the trees lining up in this slope, as well as the churches, public hall, and bay area, are illuminated from 5 pm to 10 pm.
— まきぐま (@BearMakki) February 2, 2018
The star illumination of Goryokaku is considered as one of the popular light-up events in Japan during winter. From December 1, 2018 until February 28, 2019, this star-shaped, 1.8km perimeter citadel called Goryokaku Fort will be lit from 5 pm until 8 pm. Head over to Goryokaku Tower to get the bird’s eye view of this stunning illuminated fortress.
— クドマス (@jannguru1234) February 20, 2017
The Hakodate Tropical Botanical Garden is another popular destination during winter. From the 1st of December 2018 up to the 6th of May the following year, you’ll get to see around 100 monkeys bathing in a hot spring-like pool. You can take a picture of these cute monkeys having a good time while soaking to keep them warm.
Hot Tubbing Monkeys Website*Japanese Only
— TTE (@x68ksuper) February 14, 2017
The Hakodate Offshore Winter Fireworks will start from February 8th until the 10th of 2019. About 2,000 fireworks will set-off at Hakodate Port every 8 o’clock in the evening for about 20 minutes. You can enjoy marveling at the fireworks glittering at the clear night sky near Hakodate Station, the bay area, and Mt. Hakodate.
Hakodate Winter Fireworks Website*Japanese Only
— 函館市公式観光情報サイト (@hakobura) February 2, 2018
Hakodate also has its own snow festival. The Onuma Hakodate Snow and Ice Festival will be held for 2 days from February 9-10, 2019 at the Onuma-Quasi National Park. A 20-meter gigantic slide made of ice, which is cut out from the lake water, will be the main attraction in this festival. There will also be a display of different snow sculptures made by elementary and junior high school students. Aside from those, hot oden will also be available to keep the visitors warm in this freezing weather.
The Hakodate Snow and Ice Festival Website
Hakodate is one of the places that has so many winter nightscape activities to offer. So be sure to catch these 6 fun events this winter 2018.