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Release | Takako Chiba

The perfect guide of “Hakodate Morning Market”

函館朝市

 
Hakodate Morning Market is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Hakodate. There are no TV programs, travel magazines, or tourism web magazines that do not introduce about Hakodate Morning Market.
However, Hokkaido Likers had not written about it since we established the website six years ago! Are you ready? Let’s explore the market with us! 

 

Table of Contents

- Where is Hakodate Morning Market? 
- The history of Hakodate Morning Market
- What to do in Hakodate Morning Market? Shop? Eat? See? Chat?
 -Donburi Yokocho Market
 -Ekini Market
 -Asaichi Hiroba
- Found a guy who looks like the famous person at Ekini Market! 
- What is Selected Morning Market of Hakodate Morning Market? 
 -The Golden Dried Squid
 -Jujiya Mild Blend

 
 

Where is Hakodate Morning Market? 

Hakodate Morning Market is located in Hakodate City in southern Hokkaido. 
 
The city won the first place in “attractive cities and towns ranking 2018” (the award by Brand Research Institute, Inc.). Hakodate won the first time in 2 years, and it was their 5th time to win the first place. Everyone admits that Hakodate is one of the most significant tourist destinations in Hokkaido. 
 
Hakodate Morning Market is located close to the West exit of JR Hakodate Station. It’s approximately 20 mins by the shuttle bus to JR Hakodate Station from Hakodate Airport. 

 
函館朝市の場所説明▲As it’s located next to Hakodate Station, you won’t get in trouble finding the market.  
 

As it is called “morning market,” the market is open from the morning but actually “Hakodate Morning Market” is a short term for Hakodate Morning Market Association. The market consists of a total of 250 shops: 150 shops registered to the association and 100 stores that are not. 

 

The history of Hakodate Morning Market

Hakodate Morning Market started from farmers in the neighborhood selling vegetables at a corner of Hakodate Station Square right after World War II in 1945. 
 
 
函館朝市のはじまり


昔の函館朝市1▲The face-to-face selling style in the market has not changed from the past.
 

昔の函館朝市2


昔の函館朝市3▲This popularity lasts until now.  
 

After that, street vendors and peddlers called Gangan-Butai, etc., gathered to the market from cities and towns around Hakodate and market got bigger. In 1956, the market moved to the current place and continues until now. 
 
“Hakodate Morning Market Association” was established in 1987 and the name “Hakodate Morning Market” became a registered trademark in 2006. 
 
In 2009, they established “Hakodate Morning Market’s Five Rules” to become a delightful morning market always smiles and without complaints: 
 
1. Stores won’t tout for customers. 
2. Stores try to speak with customers kindly.
3. Stores will explain about products and prices. 
4. Stores will give you contact information such as business cards. 
5. Sellers of stores will always stay healthy and provide smiles. 
 
Hakodate Morning Market has become one of the standard tourist destinations that everyone admits. Not only locals but also tourists from Hokkaido and other parts of Japan and even people from overseas always stop by the market. 

 

What to do in Hakodate Morning Market? Shop? Eat? See? Chat?

The objectives of visiting Hakodate Morning Market depend on people. Some might look for seafood and souvenirs; some might enjoy having fresh seafood and sashimi rice bowls, some visit here to just look around. 
 
When you visit Hakodate Morning Market, walk around randomly first. It might take a while because the market is pretty big. There will be many interesting stores, so I am sure you will be busy looking around. 
 

函館朝市マップ▲The map of Hakodate Morning Market
* Copied from Hakodate Morning Market’s official website

 
Some are roadside shops; some are inside shops with roofs. There are not only seafood shops but also fruits and vegetables shops and restaurants. 
  
Let me introduce three big inner markets in this article.  
 

Donburi Yokocho Market
“Donburi Yokocho Market” is located on the side of JR Hakodate Station. When I entered the market from the West exit of the station, the sight of “Donburi Yokocho Market” caught my eyes over the parking and it made me walk into the market. 

 
函館朝市どんぶり横丁市場▲Donburi Yokocho Market. 

 
As you can tell by the name, many restaurants offer seafood rice bowls, etc. 
 
There were many people in this market when I visited. Most of them walked the same place over and over again; it seemed like they could not decide where and what to eat. 
 
“What should we have?” 
“What should we do?” 
 
It might be one of the attractions of Hakodate Morning Market to walk around the Yokocho to decide a restaurant to get in. 
 
 
函館朝市どんぶり横丁市場の看板▲Where should I go? There are too many restaurants, and it took a while to decide which one to get in!  
 

函館朝市どんぶり横丁市場内観▲Delicious-looking pictures of menus invited me. 

 
I found something interesting at Donburi Yokocho. 
 

函館朝市どんぶり横丁限定カプセルトイ▲Donburi Yokocho Market limited capsule toys. 
 

函館朝市どんぶり横丁限定カプセルトイのマグネット▲Yay! I got the crab, sea urchin, and ikura rice bowl magnet. This will be a souvenir, too. 
 

The sashimi rice bowl tasted very delicious as I considered carefully which one to get in. 
 
Donburi Yokocho Market (Hakodate Morning Market First Commercial Cooperative Association)
9-15 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone:  0138-22-6034
 
 
Ekini Market
Ekini Market is located in between “Donburi Yokocho Market” and “Hakodate Asaichi Hiroba.” 
The scenery with fresh seafood, dried foods, delicacies, souvenirs, and other goods tell us that we are in a market!  
 

函館朝市えきに市場外観▲Ekini Market
 

函館朝市えきに市場内観 


函館朝市えきに市場内観2
 

People came and talk to us as we walked around the market. I had a fun time by just looking and walking the market as I did what store people recommended: seeing crabs in tanks and sampling some foods. 
  
Ekini Market (Hakodate Morning Market Second Commercial Cooperative Association)
9-19 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-22-5330

 
Asaichi Hiroba
In Hakodate Asaichi Hiroba, there are stores selling crabs, dried foods, delicacies, fruits and vegetables, snacks, etc. I heard cheerful voices everywhere at Hakodate Asaichi Hiroba.  
 

函館朝市朝市ひろば外観▲Asaichi Hiroba
 

 函館朝市朝市ひろば内観1

 
Farmers sell vegetables at the farmers’ market connected to Asaichi Hiroba, and some seriously reasonable products make me want to buy a box. 

 
函館朝市朝市ひろばフードコート▲There is also a big food court so you might want to sit here if you are a large group. 

 
Hakodate Asaichi Hiroba (Hakodate Morning Market Town Planning Association)
9-22 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-21-1050
 
Farmers’ Market (Watarijima Vegetable Farmers Association)
9-22 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-23-5185

As you hear cheerful (loud?) voices of farmers, some of you might feel: 
 
“People in the market are very aggressive.”
“I feel like they might sell something I don’t want.” 
“It is hard for me to say no when they recommend something.”
 
Let’s put away those feelings. 
 
Because enjoying to chat with sellers is the biggest attraction of face-to-face selling. 
 
“Hey, what are you looking for?” 
“We have delicious Atka mackerels. Why don’t you stop by?” 
“Hey, try this a little bit!”
 
Sellers will talk to you like this, so you should enjoy chatting with them! They might tell you not only about the market but also hidden gems of Hakodate. 

 

Found a guy who looks like the famous person at Ekini Market! 

I stopped by “Yutani Foods,” located near the entrance of “Ekini Market” from Asaichi Nakadori because huge Idiot Fish and Atka mackerels caught my eyes. 

 
函館朝市「えきに市場」の「ゆたにフーズ」▲“Yutani Foods” in “Ekini Market.” 
 

函館朝市「えきに市場」の「ゆたにフーズ」の魚▲I found unbelievably huge Idiot Fish and Atka mackerels. 

 
Mr. Yutani from Yutani Foods answered my questions with gentle smiles. He was working for a seafood manufacturing company but quit there to start his store. He has been running this store for 15 years already. 
 
“I won’t sell anything bad.” He has strong confidence in what he sells. 

 
函館朝市海産物卸問屋(有)ゆたにフーズ代表取締役、油谷俊之さん▲Toshiyuki Yutani, the president of Yutani Foods. Doesn’t he look like Yasuo Tanaka, the former governor of Nagano Prefecture and a writer? 
 

Not only fish like Atka mackerels, Idiot Fish, and herrings but also their original delicacies such as “Oishii (delicious) Shiokara” and “Oishii Matsumae-zuke” are popular products since the establishment of the store. 
 
“I don’t use anything unnecessary such as preservative and additives for both products. Shiokara does not contain arms and fins, and Matsumae-zuke is made 100% with Gagome Kombu. Both of them are delicious!” Yutani told me. 

 
函館朝市ゆたにフーズオリジナルの「おいしい塩辛」と「おいしい松前漬」▲Yutani Foods’ original delicacies: “Oishii Shiokara” and “Oishii Matsumae-zuke.” 
 

They have many repeat customers who trust the quality of Yutani Foods. Some of them visit Yutani Foods every time they visit Hakodate and others who live far away use online shopping. 
 
“Building trusts are the most important thing in business, so I will keep providing delicious seafood,” Yutani told. 

Yutani Foods
9-19 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-24-8588
Hours: 6:30 AM - around 1:00 PM
* They close irregularly on Wednesdays except busy seasons 
 
 

What is Selected Morning Market of Hakodate Morning Market? 

Hakodate Morning Market designates “Selected Morning Market” to specific products and unique services that passed their standards to 150 stores which are registered to Hakodate Morning Market Association. 
 
I heard that designated products have posters and POP displays with designated signs, so I looked for it… oh, there! 

 
The Golden Dried Squid: Maruichi Aoyama Suisan (Ekini Market) 
Maruichi Aoyama Suisan is located right by the entrance of Ekini Market from Asaichi Dori. Their “Golden Dried Squid” is one of the designated Selected Morning Market products.  
 

えきに市場にあるマルイチ青山水産▲Maruichi Aoyama Suisan in Ekini Market.  
 

えきに市場にあるマルイチ青山水産の黄金のしいか▲“Golden” reads “Kogane”  
 

I asked Hideaki Aoyama, the president of Aoyama Suisan” about how he developed Golden Dried Squid. He told me that he invented it. 

 
函館朝市青山水産の代表取締役、青山秀昭さん▲Hideaki Aoyama, the president of Aoyama Suisan. 
 

The ingredients of “Golden Dried Squid” is parts of squids called “Daruma” which are without arms and fins. 
 

函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいか原材料の「だるま」▲This is “Daruma,” the ingredient of Golden Dried Squid. Daruma is without arms and fins. They use Japanese common squids. 
 

They put a lot of work to make “Daruma.” 
 
First, they process fresh, and large squids caught in October to November, dip into their original seasonings and rest for a day. 
Dry them on the next day, take two days to dry, and rest for three months in -20 degrees freezer. 

And extend it with the machine invented by Mr. Aoyama, commonly called “Roller.” 
 

函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいか製造機▲The rolling machine invented by Mr. Aoyama. 
 

函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいかを焼く▲It depends on how dry “Daruma” are and adjust carefully but they usually bake for about two minutes. 

 
函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいかをローラーに入れる▲When you put baked Daruma into the machine, 
 

函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいかが焼いて出てくる▲“Daruma” extended to about 50 centimeters size come out from the other side. They are sold at 1,080 yen per piece.  
 

When they bake squids, a delicious smell spread around which makes people stop by the store. 
 
“Hey, try the freshly made one!” He offered me samples of “Golden Dried Squid.” The smell was nice, the flavor of squid was strong, not too sweet yet not too salty, and flavors came out more and more as I chewed. It was very delicate. 
 
One piece looks really big, but it makes me want to have more and more! It’s great for souvenirs, but you can also have it as you explore the morning market.  
 
 
函館朝市青山水産の黄金のしいかの試食▲I could not chew the squid first when I tried to chew the squid. Aoyama taught me the right direction to chew it. 
 

Aoyama told me that he bakes about 100 pieces in busy seasons. 
 
“People from overseas seem to enjoy the flavor. Especially those from Taiwan have similar tastes, and many people buy a large amount.”  
 

函館朝市青山水産の青山さんと奥さんの嘉代さん▲Aoyama and his wife Kayo says, “the squid matches really well with beer!” 

 
I thought the flavor was nice, but also personalities of Aoyama couple might have been one of the reasons for the designation of “Selected Morning Market.” 
 
Maruichi Aoyama Suisan (Ekini Market) 
9-19 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-76-8655
Hours: 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Holidays: Every third Wednesday of a month (except July to September)

 
Jujiya Mild Blend: Hakodate Jujiya Coffee (Ekini Market) 
As I was chatting with Aoyama about Selected Morning Market, he told me that Jujiya, located across Maruichi Aoyama Suisan, is also a Selected Morning Market. 
 
“Hakodate Jujiya Coffee,” located across Aoyama Suisan, roasts and sells coffee at Hakodate from 1932. Some of you might be a fan of Hakodate Jujiya Coffee as they are a long-established store. 

 
函館朝市えきに市場の「函館十字屋珈琲」▲“Hakodate Jujiya Coffee” in Ekini Market. “Jujiya Mild Blend” (120 yen/cup) is a Selected Morning Market product. 

 
A coffee shop only with a counter at a corner of morning market which sells fresh seafood and delicacies made a certain relaxing atmosphere around the shop.  
 

函館朝市株式会社十字屋代表取締役、菅原雅仁さん▲Masahito Sugawara, the president of Jujiya. 
 
 
函館朝市えきに市場の「函館十字屋珈琲」のドリップコーヒー▲Take a break with hand dripped coffee. 
 

You can choose to enjoy your coffee slowly sitting on the counter or make it go to enjoy it while exploring the morning market. It is nice to be able to have delicious coffee at Hakodate Morning Market. 
 
Hakodate Jujiya Coffee (Ekini Market)
9-19 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Phone: 0138-22-1777
Hours: 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Holidays: Every third Wednesdays 

Hakodate Morning Market is open throughout the year. They open from 6:00 AM to around 2:00 PM from January to April and 5:00 AM to around 2:00 PM from May to December. (Depends on each store)
You can send what you bought at Hakodate Morning Market to everywhere in Japan. Consider that a way to enjoy shopping at Hakodate Morning Market. 
 
Well, let me head to a restaurant to have a sashimi rice bowl. 
 
 

Related Links

- Hakodate Morning Market
  • The perfect guide of “Hakodate Morning Market”

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Takako Chiba

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