Noboribetsu-onsen means "milky river" in Ainu, and the mineral hots springs just above the town provides the color to the river. Its reputation for healing has resulted in plenty of hotels with onsens (public baths), as well as the beer gardens which are springing up.
Hakodate has played a major role in Japan's emergence from the period of Shogunate isolation. After 220 years in which the only point of contact was by Dutch traders confined to a small island in Nagasaki, U.S-led negotiations (gunboat diplomacy) headed by Commodore Mathew Perry from 1853 to 1859 resulted in the city receiving delegations from Russia, France, Britain, and the U.S. It also contributed greatly to the end of Japan's shogunate government, and the return of the control by its emperors.
Mt Hakodate to see the night lights of the city. Straddling two oceans, the southern end of Hokkaido Island is a visual reminder of the energy being spread by a new generation of entrepreneurs.
To see all of the photos taken today, click on Wednesday, Apr 18th, Hakodate, Japan.