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Hakodate Jomon Culture Center

Jomon culture center
I've been to Hakodate Jomon Culture Center. It's the latest sightseeing spot in Hakodate and its highlight is the first and only national treasure in Hokkaido, Hollow Clay Figure. Jomon is Japan's prehistoric period which extends from 14,000 BC to 300 BC. If you are a history lover, this is the must-see place even if it is far from the city center. It takes about one hour by car from the JR Hakodate Station. If you want, please consult me. I'll plan a half day tour;-D

The admission is 300yen and it is worth paying and if you wish, you can join some activities to know Jomon period better. Personally, I'm really interested in miniature pottery making. Each activities takes about 60 minutes and you don't need to reserve beforehand.
土器づくり

How about driving to Minamikayabe and visit this newly opened(It was opened October 1st, 2011) museum in your holidays?

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Old British Consulate/旧イギリス領事館

Old British Consulate is located on the Motoi slope in Motomachi area. Now it functions as a museum that tells the time when Hakodate opened its port to foreign countries after a long time national seclusion polity for more than 200 years.

The first floor houses a tea room "Victorian Roses" where you can enjoy afternoon tea and a souvenir shop that sells goods imported from Britain.

The second floor is the museum. The entrance fee for the museum is 300yen. If you are going to visit other historical buildings like Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward, Museum of Northern peoples, or Museum of Literature, an excursion ticket for two or more facilities would be economical.

If you are not interested in the history so much, how about visiting its garden? It's open to public for free of charge. In July, you can enjoy beautiful roses there. There is a rose-covered arch and if you are lucky, you may able to see a wedding ceremony there.
coloful roses


rose arch


red roses

Mt. Hakodate/函館山

Visit to Mt. Hakodate is one of the highlights of the sightseeing. Especially, the night view seen from the top is said one of the best three night view in the world. Please see this page to know about the view at night. Most visitors to this town go to the mountain at night, but daytime visit is also attractive.

Mt. Hakodate is designated as wildlife sanctuary and very good place for bird-watchers. Including migratory birds, you can find about 150 kinds of birds through a year. About 30 kinds among them can be seen throughout year and 70 kinds in summer and 50 kinds in winter.

Besides the birds, you may find chipmunks in cracks of stonewall at the separation between a trail to Mt. Yakushi and the old mountain trail. They are so cute but to food them are prohibited because crows in the mountain are lured and give fear to chipmunks.

There are no bear in this mountain but are mamushi snakes. Mamushi snakes are poisonous and you'd better not step into bushy area without cell phone with you. As long as you are taking fixed mountain pathes, you won't meet them.

And you have to watch out wasps, called "suzumebachi" in Japanese. If you find some signs attached to the trees, they may be the cautions of wasps.

But you do not have to worry about them so much. Every weekends, many locals enjoy hiking there. It takes about one hour to get to the top from the mountain foot. Getting to the top, you can enjoy beautiful view of the city.

If you need a guide, please feel free to have a contact with me;-) sending me an e-mail to aquitito☆gmail.com. (Please change ☆ to @ when you mail me.)

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Jitsugyoji Temple/実行寺

Jitsugyoji Temple is located on the way from Motomachi Park to Foreign Cemetery. This temple belongs to Nichiren sect.

When American fleet came to Hakodate in 1854, this temple was used as an accommodation for its photographers. Four years later, the temple offered Russians a part of their building and Russians opened its consulate.

Now in its precincts, you can find a stone monument that shows a shake-hands. It is a momument of the Origine of Amity between Japan and France in Hakodate.

In 1855, French fleet urgently called in Hakodate port because of illness among sailors. At that time, Japan and France didn't have diplomatic relations. But a chief office in Hakodate felt sorry for sick sailors and allowed the fleet to anchore their three ships in the port and offered this temple so that sick sailors could get a rest.

Except six sailors who unfortunately passed away, most sailors could go back their home safely.

The monument was errected commemorating this historical episode.

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Tag : Temple, France

Churches in Motomachi/元町の教会群

Hakodate is one of the most famous domestic tourist sites. One of its attractions is a district called Western Area with churches. There are three different churches in an area of five minute-walk. They are Russian Orthodox Church, Anglican Church and Motomachi Catholic Church. How many tourists notice this rareness? There is no other part like here. Most tourists coming to Hakodate visit this area to feel exoticism of the city visiting those churches one after another and enjoy three different appearances. However, once you know the historical background, your visit will be more rewarding and fascinating.
churches in Motomachi

Here we want to review the history of Christianity. Christianity began with the birth of Jesus Christ. Christian Era, or Western calendar puts its starting point on the Jesus’ birth year. We are in 2006 now and it means 2006 years have passed since Jesus was born. Jesus taught love for friends and spread his idea that god saves all people. After his death, his thought was spread by the apostles such as John and Paul. The thought was called Catholic, which means universal. Catholic teachings are taught through churches. This is a notable character of Catholicism. Its leader is the Pope. Imagine the literacy rate of ordinary people from the birth of Jesus to the medieval era, or to the 15th or 16th centuries. The rate shouldn’t be so high. That is, churches were the sole media to know the teaching of Jesus. People had to rely on people who studied theology. It also means the concentration of power. Gaining power, Catholic churches gained money, too. Consequently, it ended in corruption. When the Pope’s power was at its peak, any kings couldn’t match him.

Churches’ corruption was followed by reform. Luther was one of the first reformers. He aroused controversy saying “All Jesus said was written in the Bible. But look at what churches are teaching and doing!” This was the beginning of the Reformation. Japanese schools teach students to call catholic as Old Religion and newly formed religions as New Religion after the Reformation. The New Religion means three religions; Lutheranism, Calvinism and Anglicanism.
Lutherans are people who follows the teachings of Luther, while Calvinists are people who follows the teachings of Calvin. Then, what is Anglicanism?

Anglicanism was established by an English king, Henry VIII and the establishment was related to his divorce with his wife. He was a catholic at first. In Catholicism, marriage is one of the important rituals. The king wanted to have a son as his successor. He might say, “Present wife doesn’t have a boy baby. I divorce myself from present wife and get married with another!” He asked the Pope for permission, but the Pope didn’t give permission. The king exploded in anger and broke off relations with the Roman Catholic Church. Then he declared all the Catholic churches in England, “The leader of you is no longer the Pope but me, the king of England.” This is the beginning of Anglicanism.

The Reformation divided Christianity into two big streams. One is Old Religion and the other is New Religion. However, there was another separation before the Reformation. It was a divergence between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Teachings of Jesus Christ was spread by his disciples. Remember the time when Christ was born. It was Roman period. At that time, Roman empire dominated the territory that covered the Mediterranean Sea and almost whole land of Europe. At first, the teaching of Jesus was unacceptable for Roman emperors and Christians were persecuted by the emperors such as Nero. However, the number of Christians increased more and more. Finally an emperor decided to make Christianity the state religion and used it to dominate the empire. Later the empire established five large churches as headquarters. Two of them were counterparts of the first big separation of Christianity. They are the one in Rome in the West and the other in Istanbul in the East.

The first separation related to the divsion of the Roman Empire. Too large territory is difficult to rule over. The emperor Theodosium, who decided Christianity the state religion, gave his two son the land divided into two. They were Western and Eastern Roman Empires. Rome was located in the land of Western empire and Istanbul was in Eastern one.

Soon after the division of the Roman Empire, the Western empire fell. Because of the Migration. Germans and other tribes moved into the Imperial territory. Churches in the territory of the Western Roman Empire lost patronage of the emperor, but they found another way. It was teaching of Christianity to Germans. Churches in the lost Western Roman territory used statues to teach Germans. Because the Germans originally worshiped those statues of gods, churches took advantage of using their habit.

By the way, do you know the movie whose title is “Ten Commandments”? It filmed the Exodus of Moses. He received ten commandments from God. One among them prohibits the worship of idols. Christianity as well as Islam prohibits to worship any idols of god.

Churches left in the lost Western Imperial territory ignored(?) the commandment and used statues of god in teaching Christianity to survive. It was Churches in the Eastern Roman Empire that were surprised at the movement. “Oh, no! What are you doing? No way!” Churches in the east criticized the ones in west. It caused the division of Christian church. Churches in the Eastern Roman Empire came to be called the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Roman Empire succeeded Greek culture and it came to be called the Byzantine Empire. It lasted until the mid 15th century with its capital in Istanbul. This empire was fallen by Osmanli Turks, an Islamic country. Later, the Eastern Orthodox was succeeded to a Russian Emperor who got married to a sister of the Byzantine emperor.

In Hakodate, there are Motomachi Catholic Church, Anglican church and Russian Orthodox Church. They are historically different from each other but in this city they are located in vicinity really. Why don’t you visit these churches thinking about mentioned history of Christianity?

By the way, the Russian Orthodox Church which is descended from the Eastern Orthodox Church has no statues of god inside. Instead, there are tableaus called ikon and they are used to teach the thought of Jesus. Look at those pictures carefully. You can find Chinese characters on the surface. One of them says “Image of Mary” but the letters are somewhat strange for the Japanese. Those ikons and Chinese characters seems to have been drawn by Russian artists. It was because to teach Christianity to Japanese. It may be a feature when you visit there.

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Tag : Church

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