The history of Hakodate is deeply intertwined with borders –
Such as the Tsugaru Strait, which divides Hokkaido from Honshu.
Or the transitions from tradition to modern innovation, and the overlap of Japanese and western cultures.
Throughout the ages, this strait-side city has always been a focal point
for the exchange of items, information, and culture,
opening doors to the future.
Welcomed by the anxiously-awaited Hokkaido Shinkansen, join us on a walk of Hakodate.
KAI rediscovers this marvelous city and examines its unique location
at the confluence of Japan's northern and mainland cultures.
Don't miss this thrilling opportunity to reach out and touch
Hakodate's remarkable origin and history.
Looking out on the Tsugaru Straits and facing Honshu, Hakodate is Hokkaido's southernmost city, and it is said to be the gateway to Hokkaido from the South. Blessed with the bounty of the ocean and the mountains, it is known as a town of high-quality culinary culture.
Until the 18th century, Hakodate was a small town of commercial fishing and trade, but since at the beginning of the 19th century, when the Edo shogunate established a branch office (the Hakodate administrator) in this town to guard against foreign influences, it has carved out its own unique history.
The Edo shogunate kept trade and exchange with foreign countries to a minimum, but this policy was ended in the mid 19th century and Hakodate became one of the first towns opened to the representatives of foreign countries. So various people, items and information from Europe and the United States collected there and the foundations were built for a distinctive town within Japan.
The Boshin War, a Japanese civil war that led to Japan becoming a modern country, ended in Hakodate in 1869. Thereafter, Hakodate developed as a city of fishing, trade and as a government base while further incorporating Western practices, including in religion, education and the culture of daily life. Today, having that particularly unique historical background even for Japan, it is one of the leading tourist locations in Japan.
Words by Masaharu Taniguchi