Hokkaido Shinkansen makes northern Japan even closer
Hokkaido is located in the Japanese archipelago. It is full of attractions including winter sports, outdoor leisure activities and driving in rich nature. Especially worth noting is the high-quality of powder snow, which is a favourite among skiers from both inside and outside of Japan. There is plenty of delicious seafood, farm produce and dairy products to sample. By creating more transportation options from Honshu to Hokkaido, the new Hokkaido Shinkansen will make it even easier for travelers to visit Hokkaido.
The exterior design of the new Hokkaido Shinkansen embodies a sense of speed. With a maximum speed of 260km (161 miles) per hour, it can reach Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station from Tokyo Station in as little as 4 hours. It will make use of the existing Tohoku Shinkansen line through the Seikan Tunnel under the ocean, enabling you to travel directly from Tokyo to Hokkaido without having to change trains. Upon emerging from the tunnel, you will be able to enjoy the vast natural scenery of Hokkaido as mountains and the ocean spread out before your eyes through the Shinkansen window. The Japan Rail Pass, a special pass provided by JR Group for overseas visitors, can be used on this line.
The interior of the Shinkansen is designed with the nature of Hokkaido and Tohoku regions in mind, incorporating elements of the ocean, floating ice, snow crystals and wood grain. The Gran Class, which is the “First Class of Shinkansen”, is characterized by a sophisticated interior design and spacious seats equipped with a variety of functions (when using a Japan Rail Pass, an additional ticket needs to be purchased for a Gran Class seat). Free snacks are provided on the direct train from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station. Every seat in the Green Car is equipped with a large tray table and a power outlet, so you can use your computer on the train. Seats in the Odinary Car also have lots of leg room and a power outlet, making it more user-friendly compared to other trains.
For travelling to Hakodate from Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, the final destination of the Hokkaido Shinkansen, the new “Hakodate Liner” will be a convenient option. When both lines are in operation, you will be able to change trains in just a short time after getting off the Shinkansen and reach the central part of Hakodate in about 20 minutes.
Take a stroll around Hakodate, a city filled with a romantic and historical atmosphere
Hakodate attracts many people with its romantic atmosphere, historical buildings and fresh seafood, which make it one of the most popular tourist spots in Hokkaido. Here we introduce some of the famous tourist spots of this frequently-visited city.
Hakodate is best seen on foot. The Motomachi area is the most representative of Hakodate with its western-style buildings, such as the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, and its unique, semi-foreign architecture style.
The Hakodate City Tram connects major tourist spots and is a great tool for sightseeing.
The Bay Area around Hakodate Port is symbolic of Hakodate’s history as a port town. The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, filled with a romantic atmosphere, is now a commercial complex where restaurants and souvenir shops stand side by side.
Goryokaku castle, which was completed in 1864, is the first Western-style castle in Japan. The view changes every season with about 1600 cherry trees in bloom during the spring and the moat lit up during the snowy winter. You can stroll through the surrounding park and view the unique star-shaped castle from the tower next to it.
The night view looking down on the city from the top of Mt. Hakodate is especially famous and the contrast between the sparkling city lights with the deep black ocean is simply splendid. The ropeway is a convenient way to get to the top of the mountain.
Yunokawa Hot Spring can be reached in about 30 minutes on the City Tram from JR Hakodate Station and has many authentic Japanese-style inns (ryokan) and hotels. Most of the hot spring inns have both a footbath and a full hot spring that you can bathe in without being an overnight guest, making it easy for you to stop in while sightseeing.
Hakodate is surrounded by the ocean and is naturally brimming with fresh seafood. The Hakodate morning market is located a one-minute walk away from JR Hakodate Station and is an excellent place to get fresh seafood and vegetables. Shops serve gorgeous seafood bowls and the place is bustling with people from early morning until around noon. “Ika-meshi” is made by filling the body of raw squid with rice and cooking it in a soy sauce based sauce. It is often sold in local specialty stores, where you can either eat it on the spot or buy a vacuum-packed version as a souvenir.
Aside from seafood, we also recommend Hakodate Shio Ramen. It is characterized by its clear soup and simple flavor. There are about 150 restaurants in the city which are always crowded with locals and tourists alike.
Stop by and visit Aomori
Before going to Hokkaido, we recommend stopping in Aomori in the Tohoku region. Aomori is best known for Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, one of the biggest summer festivals in all of Japan. It is also a large producer of apples and its leading brand, “Fuji”, is popular both inside and outside of Japan. We will introduce two places that you can visit during a short stay.
During Nebuta Matsuri, a Nebuta, which is a huge lantern made of Japanese paper and wire, is loaded on a float and moved around the town. At “the Nebuta House Wa Rasse”, 4 large Nebuta are always on display with explanations on the history of Aomori Nebuta Matsuri and the manufacturing process of Nebuta. You can feel the energy of Nebuta up close.
“A-FACTORY” introduces local specialties and culture and sells souvenirs that are produced only in Aomori including cider and sweets made from locally-grown apples.
Travel comfortably on the newest Shinkansen and enjoy local specialties and famous scenic spots in northern Japan.