Hakodate, Japan is becoming a popular destination for tourists now that the Shinkansen (bullet train) is servicing this northern route. Located near the train station in the Hakodate city center, Route Inn Grantia Hakodate is surprisingly nice for such a low priced hotel.
Upon entering the lobby you will see their restaurant on the right and reception to your left. Remember the restaurant as this is where you will be eating breakfast. The tile flooring makes wheeling your luggage easy and is an important flooring choice in this snowy northern climate. After checking in, look for the hi-tech coffee maker in the lobby if you are in need of a caffeine boost. This free coffee station is available 24 hours per day, an unusual amenity in Japanese hotels.
A room with a view
Take the elevator up to your room and check out the view. Most rooms have decent views of the city, or bay. The rooms are typical Japanese sized but offer enough space to park your bags and still comfortably walk in the room without tripping over them. The twin bed option gives you 194 sq ft/18 sq m, which is fairly generous. A single room is slightly smaller at 140 sq ft/13 sq m. The bathroom is a compact space, typical of Japanese hotels, but includes a larger tub/shower combination than most budget hotels.
Room amenities are generous. Most rooms provide hairdryer, toiletries, slippers, the usual kettle for tea, bathtub, refrigerator, private bathroom, and onsen access on the top floor. Breakfast is included with your room rate and is much better than other hotels in this rate class.
What to see nearby
Hakodate is famous for its fresh seafood and you will find seasonal specialties on offer at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. You might have the local sea scallops breaded in panko and fried crispy golden, salmon both hot and cold, miso soup, several breads, scrambled eggs, and they have a very good salad selection with three delicious dressings to choose from.
Route Inn Grantia Hakodate is perfectly situated to take in the best of the area. The famous fortress Goryokaku is a short taxi ride away. This fortress was built in the 1800s by the Tokugawa Shogunate in a Western Citadel style. The five pointed star-shaped fortress grounds are impressive in any season but especially in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
The Morning Market
Also a must see near the Route Inn Grantia Hakodate is the Morning Market. Here you will see, and hopefully taste some of the best seafood in Japan. Customers can buy fresh-cooked scallops, king crab, hairy crab, local uni (sea urchin), and more. There is seating available to enjoy this seafood feast and hot drinks, too. It is rare anywhere in the world to be able to pick a live king crab from a tank then sit down to eat it a short while later. If the price tag of 10,000–20,000 JPY/85–170 USD is too much crab for your budget, try a scallop hot of the grill for a mere 800 JPY/6.50 USD. Chances are it will be the best scallop you have ever eaten! There are other foods, both packaged or cooked and ready to eat in the market, making this a must-visit around breakfast or lunch time.
A fond farewell
The Route Inn Grantia Hakodate fits in perfectly for your visit. Whether you’re heading back to Tokyo or north to Sapporo, this stop will be one of the highlights of a Japan vacation. As your train leaves Hakodate you will have fond memories of this seaside city and its humble atmosphere. It’s a nice change from the gleaming towers of Tokyo and other ultra-modern cities in Japan.