Kari Grohn's Home Page - Japan - Hakodate

















Hakodate, Hokkaido

I took a train through the submarine Seikan Tunnel to Hakodate, which is the southern gateway from Honsu to Hokkaido. With a port with easy access to the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan, Hakodate’s morning market (Asa-ichi) offers a rich variety of seafood. It is famous for hairy crabs. In addition to Asa-ichi a must for a visitor is riding the cable car to the peak of Mt Hakodate to enjoy the beautiful night panorama. The wonderful scenery over the town and two seas is due to the fact that the scene is viewed at the same angle below eyesight as an airplane pilot engaging in a stable landing giving a mixture of tension and relief. 
















Seikan Tunnel, Hokkaido Shinkansen

The Seikan Tunnel was built 1964 - 1988 after a typhoon in 1954 sank five ferry boats in the Tsuruka Strait and killed 1,430 people. The tunnel’s difficult construction demanded 34 additional casualties. In 1976, workers hit soft rock and water gushed into the tunnel. It took more than two months to control the flood. The length of 54 km makes the tunnel longest in the world. Though all railway transport between Honshu and Hokkaido utilises the tunnel, 90% of passenger transport uses air due to speed and cost. 
Construction of the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Aomori (Honsu) and Hakodate (Hokkaido) through the Seikan Tunnel started in 2005. The section is projected to open in 2015, and there are plans to extend the line to Sapporo. Since the Hokkaido Shinkansen will run at speeds of up to 360 km/h, the travel time from Tokyo to Hakodate will be less than 4 hours.