Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan, is a very popular tourist destination especially during winter. With beautiful powdered snow on the ski & snowboarding slopes, Hokkaido is where many Japanese and foreign tourists enjoy winter activities. At the end of every year, almost all of Hokkaido is covered in snow and the various winter illuminations add a romantic atmosphere like that of fairytales.
Hakodate offers the most in terms of illuminations and night views. No trip to Hokkaido is complete without experiencing the million dollar view from Mt. Hakodate of the city. Said to be one of the three best night views in Japan, it is popular dating spot.
Apart from the night view of Hakodate city, Goryokaku is also a must during the winter season.
This Western-style, star-shaped citadel is lit up and the view is best enjoyed from the observation deck of the Goryokaku Tower closeby.
The image below is that of Goryokaku in spring during the day and as you can see, it is strikingly different to the one on a winter evening.
You will also see illuminations around the area during Christmas and New Years.
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses
Like Yokohama, Hakodate City is a port city and the architectural style of the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses is very similar to those of the red brick warehouses in Yokohama.
As Christmas approaches, the warehouse is also lit up creating a lovely, warm, romantic ambiance.
This huge Christmas tree in the bay area can apparently even be seen from Mount Hakodate.
The colors of the Christmas tree lights change with the music, adding a warm touch to the harbor on a chilly night.
After Hakodate opened as a port for international trade, several churches were built in the city. Most of the structures are heavily influenced by European architecture.
As the year end approaches, several of these churches are illuminated.
Hakodate is quite hilly and one of the slopes that you must check out is Hachiman-zaka. This road extends all the way to the sea and in winter, it is illuminated on both sides. If you come during the day, you can see the bustling harbor and hear the sound of ships sailing. But at night, it is extremely serene and peaceful.
Please note that the road is open to traffic even during illumination. Please be careful while taking photos.
Motomachi Catholic Church
Speaking of slopes, you must have heard about Motomachi Catholic Church, which is built at the end of a long slope called Daisan-zaka. The road leading to the church is also known as one of the three most popular ascents/descends in Japan. The slopes covered with snow seem to be straight out of a fairy tale.
Walk all the way to the end of the slope, to find a romantic Catholic church towering over you.
Since the snow is piled quite high in winter, it is best to visit this spot during the day.
If you want to visit Japan during winter, make sure to add Hakodate in your itinerary. The romantic night views of Hakodate will surely be a memorable experience you won’t forget.
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