When I visit regional cities, I often see the areas around train stations completely deserted, and the area around Hakodate Station was no exception. Although there are still hotels and a morning market that has become a tourist attraction, the area is a bit modest to be called Hakodate's most prosperous downtown area. A department store called "BONI MORIYA" in front of the station has also closed, leaving the large building behind. Including the days of its predecessor as a western goods store, the long-established department store, which had been in business since 1869, seems to have been unable to resist the current of the times.
The center of Hakodate, which originally developed as a port town, has changed over time. After the port was opened, the area that was most busy was the Jujigai area near where the shipyards and foreign settlements were located at the end of the Edo period. The BONI MORIYA, which has remnants in front of the station, also used to operate in the Jujigai area until it was relocated in the 1930s. The retro townscape is now a tourist attraction, and the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward and Kanamori Red Brick Warehouse are located in this area. Over time, this area has moved to the vicinity of Hakodate Station, and then to the vicinity of Goryokaku and Mihara. The center of gravity of the population has shifted northward, away from the port.
The Tomoe Big Bridge, located near Hakodate Station, was built to facilitate logistics and avoid congestion around Hakodate Station, but the desolation of the area around the station makes it seem as if it was unnecessary for outsiders.
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