Snowy Beaches in Hakodate, Japan

After my New Years pit stop in Sendai, I continued north to Hakodate. My plan was to keep going north until I couldn’t go any further, or until it got too cold, since I was traveling in the middle of winter. I chose Hakodate because one of the friends I made while I was staying in Hai Phong, Vietnam over Christmas, Peter, told me about this city and said he studied abroad here and it was a great little town. I loved that it wasn’t a huge touristy city so that I could explore it myself instead of follow in so many other traveler’s footsteps.

It was such a cozy city that I ended up extending my stay here for a couple days to slow down, enjoy the snow, wander the city, the beaches and see the snow monkeys.

The bullet train took all day to get from Sendai to Hakodate, I remember leaving Sendai around 10am on New Years Day and when I finally arrived at the Hakodate train station it was already dark.

I made my way across the city through snowy streets right next to the ocean, it was pretty cool walking around and soaking in this brand new environment.

The hostel I was staying at used to be a bank but they converted the building into a hostel. It was the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in, super clean, nice kitchen, and the setup was conducive to meeting other travelers and making friends.

I felt pretty energetic after settling in so I decided to walk through the city and take a lift up the local mountain to get a view of the city. The skies were clear that night too and I wasn't sure how long that was going to last. If the clouds rolled in then I wouldn't be able to see the city from the mountaintop.

Here's the view I had from on top of Mount Hakodate of the surrounding area. It was better than I thought and I spent about 2 hours up here just admiring the city lights.

There was an American diner of all things right next door to my hostel, the best way I could describe it is if Denny's and McDonald's had a love child; it would be this place 'Lucky Pierrot'. I was hungry, it was cold, and I decided I needed some familiar comfort food. I also thought it was funny because here I was, a Chinese guy, in Japan, having burgers and fries in an American diner because it reminded me of home.

Walked around the city during the day. There are these red brick warehouses in the city that look nice against the white snow.

It snowed pretty much every day I was there, aside from that first night. I loved it, I have never seen it snow that hard.

Another day I explored a local fish market with some friends I met at the hostel I stayed at. Everything was super expensive.

I guess they don't have to worry about freezing the fish with it snowing so hard outside.

I liked just walking through the residential areas of the city and seeing the day to day lives of the people here.
There was a hot spring in the city with snow monkeys so I went to check that out. It was a lot of fun watching the monkeys, they had the most human looking expressions which was really cute but also slightly jarring.

Walked along a snowy beach. It blew my mind as a Southern California person that it could snow at the beach.

It looked really nice though.

Explore another area of the city with a new friend I met while cooking dinner one night at my hostel, we went to these snowy cliffs by the sea, walked around and soaked up the views.

Saw the cutest temporary railings on my way back from the snowy cliffs.

This was the view right next to my bed in the hostel. It was so cozy I ended up extending my stay here instead of going further north up to Sapporo. The cold and snow was novel the first few days but it started to get draining and I didn't want to go somewhere even colder and snowier.

I was in Hakodate between January 1st, 2019 - January 5th, 2019. Originally I was going to explore Hokkaido more and contiune north to Sapporo, but it was getting too cold and snowy. I instead looped back down to Tokyo to take a break from the travel and the cold. I stayed in Tokyo again between January 5th, 2019 - January 10th, 2019 and just lived normal days. I hung out with some friends that happened to be vacationing in the city, I bought some new glasses, worked on my blog, thought about my trip so far and thought about where it could go from here. It was the first time I started seriously thinking about how long I wanted to travel for, and when I was going to go home.