After spending a little time down by the harbor I marched up to the Mt Hakodate ropeway station and rode the gondola up to the observation point on top of the mountain. The ride up the ropeway takes about four minutes and costs 1500 yen for a round trip or 1000 yen for a one-way trip. At the top of the ropeway I made my way through the station out to the outdoor observation deck and found a good spot up against the railing. First I started looking for landmarks down below me in the town. Not too far away were the churches of the Motomachi District and in the distance I could see Goryokaku Tower, which stands near the remains of Fort Goryokaku.
I then took in the big picture of the city and scanned the distant scenery. To my right was the eastern part of Hakodate, which I’ve not yet explored and hopefully will check out whenever I can next visit the city. I’ve read that during the summer you can actually see surfers at one of the beaches out there. To my left was more of the harbor and far off in the distance I could see Mt Komagatake. The next day I’d get a better view of Komagatake when I visited Onuma Park.
The sun was starting to set and there weren’t many cloud in the sky so I got a really great view of Hakodate that day. Sunset is a very popular time to be up on the mountain and busloads of tourists steadily churned through the observation deck as I stood by the railing and took photos. In order to keep my spot and get the photos I wanted I stood in the same place for two hours straight. When I wasn’t taking pictures I tried to just be in the moment as best I could and enjoy the view.
It got a bit chilly as the sun went down but it was worth it to stand around and keep my spot since it allowed me to photograph the exact same view of Hakodate but at night. Because Hakodate is built on a peninsula, at night the city almost looks like a river of lights flowing away from the mountain and then spreading out once it hits the main part of Hokkaido. The nighttime view from Mt Hakodate is considered one of the best in all of Japan and definitely worth it if you’re able to visit the city.
Once I had captured some shots of the city at night I stood around for a little longer before leaving my spot and spending a minute further back on the steps behind the railing. A stream of tourists was still moving through the observation area, but the number of visitors had gone down a little. A few minutes later I felt it was finally time to leave and I made my way back to the ropeway to go down the mountain. There would be more sightseeing tomorrow but for now it was time to wrap up the day.