Mt. Hakodate is a 334-meter-tall peak overlooking Hakodate that is famous for its spectacular views of the city and the bay. It offers one of Japan’s three best night views, along with Mt. Rokko in Kobe and Mt. Inasa in Nagasaki City. When the weather is clear, seeing the city lights of Hakodate with the ocean on either side can be an unforgettable experience.
It’s very straightforward to get to Mt. Hakodate from Hakodate Station. While it’s possible to walk or take a bus or taxi all the way to the top of the mountain, most visitors use the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway, a gondola that whisks passengers up to the Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck in 3 minutes.
Mt. Hakodate Ropeway departures run every 15 minutes, 10.00–21.50 April 25 to October 15 and 10.00–20.50 October 16 to April 24. Note that Ropeway services are sometimes suspended due to high winds, and that the summit of the mountain can be very windy and cold. The best night views are about 30 minutes after sunset, which varies through the year from about 16.00 in December to around 19.00 in July. The Observation Deck is most crowded after sunset.
How to get from Hakodate Station to Mt. Hakodate
Walking from Hakodate Station to the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway will take about 25 minutes. It’s an easy, 2-kilometer walk along the main street running between Hakodate Station Crossing to Jujigai Crossing followed by a short climb to the ropeway base station.
If you are fit and up for a moderate climb, it takes about 1 hour, 20 minutes to walk from Hakodate Station to the Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck along Route 675, which goes up the mountain. Note that Route 675 is closed to foot and vehicular traffic from early November to the middle of April.
It’s also possible to climb the mountain via the Tsutsujiyama hiking course. It takes about an hour from the Hakodate Information Center near the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway base station to the Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck. Proper footwear and a jacket to protect against cold weather or insects are recommended. Be sure to get detailed information about the hike from the Hakodate Tourist Information Center.
Hakodate City Tram
From Hakodate-Ekimae tram stop near Hakodate Station, get on either a Route 2 or Route 5 tram going toward Yachigashira or Hakodate-Dokkumae. After about 5 minutes, get off at Jujigai (D/Y 20) and walk uphill, about 7 minutes, to the Mt. Hakodate Ropeway terminal.
Leaving from No. 4 bus stop at Hakodate Station, the No. 1 bus goes to the Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck in about 30 minutes. The service operates mostly in the evenings, and runs from the middle of April to the end of October. Check the Hakodate Tourist Information Center for schedules.
There is a Mt. Hakodate Ropeway Shuttle linking Hakodate Station with the gondola base station. It operates daily from April 1 to October 31 beginning at 17.55.
Hakodate Bus and Hokuto Kotsu operate coach services from Yunokawa Onsen and Hakodate Station to the summit of Mt. Hakodate. Depending on the operator, the coaches run in late afternoons and evenings from April to September or October. Reservations are required. For details, consult the Hakodate Tourist Information Center.
If you have a group of three or four people, taxi can be relatively inexpensive. It takes about 20 minutes to get from Hakodate Station to the Mt. Hakodate Observation Deck by taxi. However, unless you arrange to have the taxi wait for you while you take in the view, you won’t be able to find another taxi at the top for your return trip. Return fares with a 30-minute wait at the top of the mountain vary from 8,000 yen to 16,000 yen. The road up the mountain is closed from early November to the middle of April.
Article by Tim Hornyak. Photos by pranodhm/pixta (1), Anesthesia/pixta (2), bee/pixta (3). All rights reserved.