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Central Hokkaido Guided Tours
The coastal city of Hakodate makes for a nice stopover if you’re travelling between Hokkaido and Honshu, either via the car ferry or by train. Historic Hakodate in Hokkaido used to be the capital of the short-lived Ezo Republic and as one of the first cities in Japan to be opened to trade, it also has some international architecture and influence.

Whilst catching the ropeway up Mt Hakodate to see the city views may not be that exciting to skiers and snowboarders who frequently go on cable cars, there are a few other tourist oriented activities in the city. Or just hanging out at one of the restaurants at the Red Brick Warehouses eating seafood is a cool enough experience in its itself. Squid is very popular in Hakodate, with the go-to dish being a ramen with squid stock instead of pork.

And naturally because this is Hokkaido where there are more than one hundred ski resorts, you can go snowboarding or skiing in Hakodate at one of three ski areas. You can enjoy a little fresh powder before heading up further north in Hokkaido or traipsing down south to Aomori.

Where is Hakodate?

Hakodate is situated in southern Hokkaido, 250km southwest of Sapporo. It’s a seaside city and just over the Tsugaru Straight is Aomori, the northernmost city of Honshu. There are car ferries between Hakodate and Aomori, or you can catch a train via the Seikan tunnel between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station, which is 20km northwest of the city of Hakodate. The shinkansen from Hakodate through to Otaru and Sapporo is due for completion by 2031.

Private Transfers to Hakodate

Private transfers between Niseko and Hakodate (or Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto train station) are available for 1 - 30 passengers. The trip takes about 3.5 to 4 hours.

Hakodate Ski Resorts

Hakodate Nanae is a small to medium sized Hakodate ski resort by Japanese standards and has a decent amount of vertical from 245 - 943 metres (698m). Hakodate Nanae Snowpark offers a small amount of off-piste skiing and some fun sidecountry, but the run-out from the slackcountry is very long and a bit tedious for snowboarders. The Hakodate Nanae Snow Park is located 37km north of Hakodate City (a drive that takes about 50 minutes) and 18km northeast of Shin Hakodate Hokuto Station, the terminal for the Hokkaido Shinkansen (bullet train).

Niyama Kogen is just a small ski resort and has 10 courses and 4 lifts. With a top elevation of just 630 metres and slopes that are mostly east facing to southeast facing, this is a ski resort you’d only want to visit if temperatures are low. Niyama Kogen Ski Resort is located in the tiny town of Nanae, 23km northwest of Hakodate. The ski area is only 4.5km northwest of the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto train station.

Greenpia Onuma is a little Hakodate ski resort that you could probably just skip. It has 2 lifts and 6 courses, and the snow quality is often not very good considering its top elevation of just 442 metres and southeast facing slopes. Greenpia Onuma is located in Mori town just across Lake Onuma from Hakodate Nanae, although the two Hakodate ski resorts are 16km away by road and Greenpia is 35km northeast of Hakodate City.


The City of Hakodate has plenty of hotels to choose from. Most of them are classic Japanese city western style hotels and there are also various ryokan and inns if you want a more traditional experience.

Hakodate Accommodation Listings

Or if you’re arriving and/or departing via the Shin Hakodate Hokuto train station, you could stay next door to the station at Hotel La’gent Plaza. This modern hotel has some English speaking staff, onsen baths, massage services, great meals and convenient access to facilities at the train station.
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