So after a couple weeks of traveling around Hokkaido, I was headed to Tokyo.
Instead of flying from Sapporo, I decided to take a train from Hokkaido to Tokyo.
And so, I made a stop at Hakodate… with an overnight stay at Small Town Hostel!
If you’re short on time, and coming from Sapporo or Niseko on your way to Tokyo, it’s not really necessary to have an overnight stay at Hakodate, but it can break up the journey a little bit.
And if you do decide to stay a night or 2 in Hakodate, you’ll find some things to do here too.
If you’re going from Sapporo to Tokyo by train, you will need to stop by Hakodate though, as this is the starting point of the shinkansen to Tokyo. (You just don’t need to spend the night.)
Basically, for now, Hakodate is the furthest north in Japan that you can get by taking the shinkansen bullet train.
To travel around the rest of Hokkaido, there are various types of express trains.
If you are arriving to Hakodate by shinkansen bullet train, it’s also important to note that the Hakodate shinkansen station is actually at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station.
This is different from Hakodate Station, which is in the main area of the city.
How much does budget accommodation in Hakodate cost?
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These are some of the best places to stay in Hakodate on a budget:
Most hostels have dorm beds and private rooms.
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Here’s a bit more about the Small Town Hostel in Hakodate
…since this is where I stayed!
How to get to Small Town Hostel
Overall, I’d say it was pretty easy to get to the hostel from the Hakodate train station.
If you don’t mind walking, then this hostel is a 30 minute walk from Hakodate station.
I didn’t want to walk, so it did require a tram ride to get to the hostel.
But taking the Hakodate tram is pretty easy to do, so I would say that it was still pretty convenient to get to the hostel.
About a 2 minute walk from the Hakodate Station is a tram stop. (aka Hakodate shiden streetcar – this will be the “Hakodate eki-mae” stop.)
Once you’re outside Hakodate Station, look for the Four Points Sheraton hotel…
Then basically walk alongside that street, and then you’ll come across the tram stop.
Then you’ll look for signs to make sure you’re standing on the side of the platform with the destination bound for Hakodate Dock. (“Hakodate Dock-mae” stop)
You’ll get off at the “Jujigai” stop. This will be about a 5 minute ride.
Once you get off at the tram stop, you can look around for the streetcar switch tower, and then you’ll start walking in that direction!
From there, it’s about a 5 minute walk.
Google Maps makes this easy, so you can refer to that once you get to Hakodate Station.
But basically, it’s pretty simple to get to this hostel!
Arriving at the hostel
Like many other hostels in Japan, it’s in a relatively nondescript building, so it’ll be helpful to know what you’re looking for!
You’ll turn onto the street the hostel is located, and…
This is actually one of the many slopes of Hakodate in the Motomachi neighborhood, and this is called the Daisan-zaka slope. It’s said to be named one of the “100 representative roads of Japan.”
So you’ll walk up this street just a little bit.
And then you’ll turn onto the little path that leads to the hostel entry.
It’s said that this hostel is in a 100-year-old building and registered as a “traditional building” with the city of Hakodate.
And then you’ll check in!
I stayed in the dorm area, which you can expect to share with others.
As is the norm for when you’re staying in a dorm room at hostels in Japan, you’ll make your own bed.
There isn’t a full kitchen available for use here.
You will see a kitchen area when you walk in, but that’s just for staff. You can order breakfast in the morning (for an added cost) so I’m guessing that’s where they’ll make your food!
While there’s no real kitchen, there is an area with a hot pot so you can make tea any time. (Tea bags are there for you.) This is free and you don’t have to pay extra.
There’s also a fridge and microwave you can use too.
Overall for me, this was a comfortable one-night stay and I’m happy with my choice of staying here!
You can get rooftop views too!
HAPPY SMALL TOWN HOSTEL STAY IN HAKODATE!
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How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan