Hakodate – among pine trees and old residences

November has long begun and the end of this dreadful year is finally within sight. I should have been through with the Hokkaido travel blog posts by the end of October but here we go, the traditional homes and iconic Japanese pine trees entry. I know I spammed you with pictures of buildings in my last entry about Hakodate but when it’s so pretty I just can’t help it. It’s amazing how much snow there was and I feel lucky to have seen this city with its remarkable architecture under a blanket of snow.

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The Motomachi ditsrict in Hakodate was popular among Japanese merchants but also merchants from overseas, so the architectural style of the residences that were build there vary from Japanese and Western style to also a combination of both. For this entry however I tried to focus mainly on the Japanese style homes. While some people may prefer castles I’d rather live in a traditional Japanese house but I guess we always want what we don’t have.

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Soaking up the few sun beams

One of the buildings is the former residence of Soma Teppei who helped rebuilding the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward through his donations. While usually open to the public and for events it was closed like many other places because of the holiday season. That didn’t keep us from enjoying the quite neighborhood and feeling like living in an other place and time.

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Have you spotted the Tanuki?

There’s something about the warm and cool tones of the wooden planks of the houses that make each one look a little different. As if every house had it’s personal ombr√© effect. If you’ve been to Japan during the winter months you may also have noticed that older or fragile trees and bushes get a straw coat to protect the branches from breaking under the heavy snow. I think it looks quite funny and cute.

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One of the many reasons why I keep coming back to Hokkaido is that compared to the main island Honshu there’s still only few tourists and you have vast landscapes almost to yourself. This is definitely about to change as more and more people consider visiting other parts of Japan than Tokyo, Nara and Kyoto as well and although this means that I’ll encounter more people in areas that were fairly remote and unknown ten years ago I’m also glad about it. For me it means that people start exploring Japan as a whole and are not just reducing it to Tokyo and the kawaii pop culture, which are obviously awesome as well but let’s face it, there’s much more to Japan than Hello Kitty & co. Rural Japan is awesome you guys!
Up next is Aomoriken with lots of snow and a magical hot spring resort.

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