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Tuesday, 6th October 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Hakodate is ranked Japan's most attractive tourist site

The city of Hakodate in Hokkaido Prefecture has been voted the most attractive tourist destination in Japan for a second year running.

A recent survey by the private think tank Brand Research Institute, which is based in Tokyo, ranked cities according to their appeal, reports The Japan Times.

It found that many destinations throughout Hokkaido did well, with the prefecture having the most picturesque locations.

Sapporo came in at second place, but Otaru and Furano also made it into the top ten in the annual research.

For the tenth year, the survey asked each voter to rank destinations based on no fewer than 77 criteria, ranging from attractiveness and recognisability to information access and a desire to visit.

Some 29,046 responses were collected from people across Japan, ranging in age from 20 to their late 60s.

The results showed Kyoto and Yokohama followed Sapporo in the city ranking, while Kyoto, Tokyo and Okinawa trailed Hokkaido when looking at prefectures.

High profile events have also had an impact on the leader board, with a major extension to the Hokuriku shinkansen line last year, and the coming Group of Seven Ise-Shima summit in Mie Prefecture both making a difference.

Having a shinkansen line cannot be overestimated, as these bullet trains make it so much faster and convenient to visit destinations.

It is therefore not surprising that municipalities along the new Hokuriku line had improved scores in the willingness to visit category.

Toyama Prefecture falls into this category and one of its cities, Kurobe, which is well-known for its onsen, or hot springs, has seen an uptick in visitors.

While the Unazukionsen hot spring resort has always been famous, it has not always been seen as particularly accessible.

The survey showed that 80 per cent of respondents had a willingness to visit Hakodate, which accounts for it being crowned in first place for the second year in a row.

Other factors that helped the city's bid include its overall appeal and the quality of souvenirs available in its shops.

Domestic travel is an important market, but foreign visitors have also enjoyed trips to Hakodate, which has a wide selection of historical buildings, beautiful landscapes and gourmet cuisine to wow its guests.

Takatoshi Motoyoshi, a Hakodate official, said that the waterfront and Hakodateyama, which is known for being one of the world’s three great night life scenes, are the city’s most popular destinations.

More everyday locations, such as a morning market where fresh seafood is procured, are also brilliant places to experience.

Mr Motoyoshi added: "We are glad about this result before the opening of the Hokkaido shinkansen extension next March."

When completed, the new bullet train line will connect Honshu and Hokkaido by way of an underwater tunnel.

It is likely to mean an even greater number of visitors to Hokadate than the 346,000 that made the journey in 2014.

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