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Matsumae town

MatsumaeMatsumae town is located farthest south of Hokkaido island and 65 km southwest of Hakodate.
The population is less than 10 thousand, but this town is the oldest and most historical town in Hokkaido.

Matsumae Clan moved from Honshu Island to this area around the 15th century.
And they dominated this region for the first time in Hokkaido in the 16th century.
It assumed the domination of Hokkaido island, and prospered through trade with Ainu (native people in Hokkaido).

In this town, we can see a few historical spots.

Most popular spot is Matsumae Castle.
It is in the center of this town, and was completed in 1606.
The original castle was burnt down in 1949, then current one was rebuilt in 1961.
There is the museum for the castle internally.
Around the castle, there are 250 kinds of 10 thousand cherry trees, so it is one of best cherry blossom-viewing spots in Japan, from the end of April to mid-May.

In the north of castle, there is "Matsumae-han Yashiki" which is a town reproducing the houses in the 17th to 19th centuries.
We can see the historical magistrate's office, samurai's residences, merchant's houses and so on.

How to get to here

By express bus

From Hakodate, about 3 hours.

By railroad and route bus

  1. From Hakodate to Kikonai station on JR Esashi Line, about 40 minutes by limited express.
  2. From Kikonai station, about 1 hour and 40 minutes by route bus.

By car

From central Hakodate, about 90 km along Route 228, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Original Honmaru-gomon gate and restored castle tower
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Matsumae Castle in spring
Entrance of Matsumae Castle Matumae-han Yashiki

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