A (former) foreigner’s district is not the only thing that Hakodate and Yokohama have in common. Both Japanese cities also have red brick warehouses which are used for various shops nowadays. There are restaurants, cafes, clothing and gift stores and – in Hakodate at least – a super market. The space around and between the warehouses is used for special events such as the Hakodate Christmas Fantasy.
Hakodate Christmas Fantasy is an annual event and each day they light a big christmas tree. I rushed to make it in time from the Goryokoku Fort to Hakodate’s bay area. Turned out I didn’t have to rush at all because there was a lengthy christmas story about a woman from Hakodate and her husband from Halifax, Canada. Halifax and Hakodate are sister towns since 1982.
The lighting of the tree was accompanied with some fireworks. December is not the time for firework festivals here in Japan, unless you go to an amusement park.The warehouses were decorated as well and outside they had tiny houses. Most people didn’t bother to look inside them, but there was actually a different christmas decoration in each of them:
Of course, Hello Kitty is never far away, even if she puts on a clever disguise and hides in a christmas tree.
The Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse is not the cheapest place to shop, but among the nicest in Hakodate. Souvenirs like Hakodate chocolate don’t have to be bought there, as there are souvenir shops at the train station too.
How to get there: Take a tram from Hakodate Station to Jujigai Station and walk.