888km (549 miles) NE of Tokyo; 283km (177 miles) SW of Sapporo

Hakodate, the southern gateway to Hokkaido (and Hokkaido's third-largest city with a population of 285,000), is about as far as you may care to get in a day if you arrive in Hokkaido from Tokyo by train. Hakodate makes a good 1-night stopover because it has a famous nighttime attraction and one early morning attraction, which means you can easily see a little of the city before setting out for your next destination. For those who want to linger longer, it also boasts quaint historic districts of renovated warehouses (now housing restaurants and shops) and century-old Western-style homes, churches, and administrative buildings. Founded during the Feudal Era, Hakodate was one of Japan's first ports opened to international trade following the Meiji Restoration. With its clanking streetcars, sloping streets lined with historic buildings, and port, it retains the atmosphere of a provincial outpost even today.