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Hokkaido | Mountain

Mt. Hakodate (函館山)

 Hokkaido Hokkaido City

A mountain famous for its view of the lights of Hakodate at night. There are many ways to get to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view, including a ropeway, bus, and by car (note that the mountain is closed to cars from mid-November to early April); from the top, you can getting a sweeping view of the city below—in addition to the nightscape, visitors are also recommended to take in the daytime view as well as sunset. There's a restaurant at the top from which diners can take in a meal and the view, as well as a shop selling popular Hokkaido sweets and original merchandise.


Old Climbing Trail: This old climbing course offers the best of Mt. Hakodate. The road from the Old Climbing Trail entrance to Tsutsujiyama parking area is a wide, gentle path perfect for afternoon walks and beginners. Once you get on the trail and walk a few minutes, you'll find the entrances to the Mt. Shiomi Course and Ezodate Course on the left. After you climb the wide, gentle forest trail to the first and second stations, and you pass the wild bird watching huts at the third station, the Yakushisan Course branches off. At the Tsutsujiyama parking area just past the seventh stage, at 279 meters, the path splits into the trail to Senjojiki and the Kannon course. The view of the sunset from the observatory at the peak is one of Japan's best.
Kannon Course: This route is essentially a walking course on the north side, from the entrance to Tsutsujiyama parking area. The trailhead is hard to find, but there are no dangerous spots, and there are guide maps set up if you need them. The trailhead is behind Shomyoji Temple, and from there the course is a pleasant forest stroll. This course follows the Hakodate 33 Kannon pilgrimage, which was begun when soil from the Kinki region 33 temple pilgrimage was enshrined along with statues of Kannon to allow and easier way to join the pilgrimage. The 33rd Kannon is in the graveyard at Shomyoji Temple, so many people don't find it.
Irieyama Course: This route heads toward Irieyama and starts from the course between Tsutsujiyama Parking Area and Senjojiki. It's short, but the trail is narrow with heavy overgrowth. Watch out for venomous Mamushi snakes. Along the way are military installations at Tsugaru Fort (Old Hakodate Fort), offering a palpable sense of the strain on Mt. Hakodate during wartime. The ruins of an observation post on the summit still over a 360 degree view of the fort, and in good weather you can see out to Hakodate port and the city stretching toward Kamiiso, all the way to far off Kikonai.
Senjojiki Course: This trail leads from Tsutsujiyama parking area toward the Mt. Hakodate Fort observation post ruins and Senjojiki rest station. Below, the Tsugaru Strait spreads out before you and gentle streets spread out, but on clear days the sun hammers down on the unshaded surroundings. The outlook from Senjojiki offers a view of Komagatake, the Shimokita Peninsula, and the Tsugaru Strait, and gives a straight look up to the summit observatory at the ropeway station.
Mt. Jizo Course: This route leads from the Senjojiki rest station to the Mt. Jizo outlook point. The Mt. Jizo outlook offers a refreshing view over the Tsugaru Strait. Looking down reveals the back of Cape Tachimachi, but the edge is a sheer cliff so be careful of your footing. The trail slopes gently upward from the entrance. The observatory has an open shelter, offering a view of the Hakodate cityscape.
Nanamagari (Seven Turn) Course: This course connects the Mt. Jizo outlook point to the Nanamagari Course entrance. The entrance is about five minutes' walk along the mountain ridge road from the Cape Tachimachi parking lot. The trailhead is equipped with stairs so the first section is an easy climb, but as you continue on toward the Mt. Jizo outlook the trail is overgrown and the slopes get steep. As the name implies, the route meanders, and there are 27 bends in the trail. Climbers often hope for a leisurely, fun hike, enjoying the scenery between the trees, but it's actually quite hard.
Mt. Shiomi Course: This course leads from the city side toward Mt. Gotenyama, and on from the trail convergence toward Mt. Mizumoto. The trailhead is past the first Kannon following the Mt. Hakodate Maintenance Office road. The path climbs the meandering ridge, with steep slopes and narrow points, so it's a trail meant for strong hikers. The trail follows nearly perpendicular mountain faces, so some points have ropes stretched to help. Once you've reached the top, you can walk the flat ridge top. The tree-lined trail gets almost no direct sunlight, and you can comfortably observe all the various plants.
Mt. Yakushi: This trail leads from the Old Climbing Trail convergence point across Mt. Yakushi to Mt. Hakodate. It offers a lovely view outside of Hakodate City. The Mt. Yakushi course branches off once you pass the wild bird watching hut at the Old Climbing Trail's third station. Mt. Yakushi offers a view of Hakodate city on the right as you climb the gentle, narrow trail to the ruined fort. Just before the summit you can look down on the Hakodate Orthodox Church. If the weather is good, you can see all the way to distant Mt. Esan, with the ropeway running right in front of you. Chipmunks gather near the entrance, and if you're lucky you might catch a glimpse!
Mt. Ezodate: This trail leads from the climbing trail convergence point to the convergence with the Miyanomori Course. It climbs about 90 steps and heads toward Mt. Ezodate. The slope is steep, and the trail narrow. The first section is a game trail, so it's a good idea to wear waterproof gear. Once you clear the final steep climb, you'll arrive at the summit of Mt. Ezodate. The trail has the feeling of one less taken, with its overgrown weeds. This is one of Hakodate's quieter hidden sightseeing spots, perfect for immersing yourself in the forest.
Miyanomori Course: This trail leads from the climbing trail convergence point across the Mt. Ezodate course to the Hekketsuhi square. The trail is narrow, and the scenery is mostly blocked by trees, but the there are some good climbs and descents, so it's perfect for a workout. The bunches of monkshood around offer a lovely sight when they bloom in late summer. After walking the forest trails, you'll reach the square hosting the Hekketsuhi monument, built to commemorate the spirits those who fell in the Boshin War, including Toshizo Hijikata, who died in the Battle of Hakodate.

Information Sources:  NAVITIME JAPAN

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