The Wintry Heart of Hakodate – Day 3

It’s been a long while since my last update, due to my bad habit of procrastination and just simply lazing and enjoying my time in spring. I took photos of so many flowers that my camera is turning into a flower album. Next post will definitely be on flowers. Perhaps a much delayed cherry blossom post, for I have so many beautiful photos to share. But this post is dedicated to the last day of Hakodate, the beautiful little seaport town of Hokkaido.

The last morning, we returned to Hakodate Morning Market for another round of seafood breakfast, and settled for a famous joint, Kikuyo Shokudo Honten. It is located right along the streets, with a bright yellow that is hard to miss.

Being a huge lover of shrimps and totally partial to ikura (red caviar), I couldn’t resist ordering an amaebi (sweet shrimp) and ikura kaisendon(seafood rice bowl) set, which was absolutely photogenic in their brilliant red. The amaebi was sweet and fresh, and ikura always goes perfect with Japanese rice, the burst of sea-salt juices blending with the sweet sticky rice and creating a whole new level of umami. But I was pretty disappointed with the amount, for while the shrimps may look big, once you remove their enormous heads which essentially takes up almost half the bowl, you are left with a tiny body about the size of my pinky finger. And my pinky is pretty small, for I do have rather small hands. In terms of serving size, it was worlds apart from Asaichi-no-Ajidokoro Chamu.

After breakfast, we took a tram down to Goryōkaku, a star-shaped fort constructed in 1864 as a regional office for the central government. Though many of the trams were just usual normal-looking trams, there was one tram we took which was incredibly adorable, so I had to immortalize it with a snap.

At ¥900 for adults, the entrance fee is steep, and honestly only worth it if you go during the cherry blossom season, for the park is planted almost entirely with cherry trees that create a pink fairytale-like view from up top and all around you, or during mid-winter, when the the fort is transformed into a sparkling white star. Unfortunately, as we went during late winter, it was probably the worst possible timing, for there were no snow left to cap the fort, and the grass had barely grown, so we could only see a sad mass of dull brown. To top it off, the fort was under construction when we went, and was partially covered by blue sheets.

However, the 360 degree view from the tower did provide us with a rather stunning sight of Mt. Hakodate, and the observatory also had a history section whereby the 150 years of history were all illustrated via little figurines encased within stands that provided an interesting perspective rather than just plain old pictures. And while I had no idea what the anime figures were about, perhaps ambassadors for Goryōkaku, I do seriously enjoy the fact that only in Japan can one find anime poster boys/girls in all sorts of unexpected places.

The yubari melon soft-serve was fantastic, even though I have tried yubari soft-serve at an antenna shop in Tokyo before, the taste was somehow even better in Hakodate. Perhaps the scenery before me helped elevate the taste. Finally, I have to give special mention to the Shiroi Koibito chocolate drink. Many tourists might know about the Shiroi Koibito souvenir, a famous Hokkaido chocolate sandwich cookie, but it appears few know about its fabulous drink, which I discovered by chance. It was the stuff of candy and chocolate dreams. Thick, sweet and creamy, it was almost like downing a liquified chocolate bar.

And thus I ended my third and last day in Hakodate on a sweet note. Goodbye Hakodate, it was wonderful to see you in winter.

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My life now. Living in Japan. Traveling in Japan. Check out my video travels on my Youtube channel!

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