So, you`ve done Hakodate. Seen the morning market, checked out the night view, etc etc. Now you`re ready for some time out in nature. Right?
Luckily, there`s a park not too far from Hakodate called Onuma Quasi National Park that can scratch that itch.
The train used to reach it is actually one and the same with the train bound for Sapporo, so if you want to make it a stopover on your way to or from Hakodate that is definitely an option. In my case, I took the train to and from JR Hakodate station. You can take the Super Hokuto Ltd. Express for 1,160 yen one way or you can go for the cheaper local train for 540. You can also go nuts and get a reserved seat on that Ltd. Express train for an additional few hundred yen, but really, why waste your money unless you are super worried about getting a seat? Besides, if you choose to ride the Express train you`ll be there in like thirty minutes anyway.
Once there, exit the station and turn immediately to your right. You will see some toilets and, beyond that, the Tourist Center. They have English speakers who can help you with whatever you may need, like… a map.
Very handy when you`re wandering around in nature.
The main attraction is in the very center of the map: two walking paths (15 and 50 minute leisurely walks respectively) that show off the main highlights of the park. These are pretty easy but if you have.difficulty with climbing anything steep, you may have trouble with the bridges.
In addition to the walking paths, there are also bike rentals available. While you can`t ride them on the same path the walkers use, you can use them to loop around lake Onuma. It`s mostly by the road rather than on a separate path, but it still makes for a pleasant ride. If biking is not your thing, there are boats you can rent instead, or a tour boat you can ride.
There are other local things you can do- camping, horseback riding lessons, and what have you- but many of these things require reservations (or a car). Take a look a few days ahead of your trip, if you can, to see what appeals to you.
For me, just having a quiet park to walk in was plenty. The views were lovely and going on a weekday ensures there won`t be too many people.
One thing to look out for is the Suzumebachi- the wasps, or “killer bees” that everyone likes to bring up when discussing scary bugs in Japan. There are signs (in Japanese only for some reason) in a couple places in the park. I don’t think it’s a major concern as I didn’t run into any- if you stay on the main paths, you should be fine. Just be cautious if you opt to wander off said paths!
I spent about half a day in Onuma Park, so if you want to take it easy I would recommend you budget about the same amount of time.
Have you been to any parks in Japan that you enjoyed?