Local Flair on Offer as Cruise Traffic Rises in Hakodate

The Diamond Princess departing from Hakodate, where the Minatocho wharf is being expanded to accommodate larger vessels.

The Port of Hakodate is on schedule for the 31 port calls this year with even more planned for 2019.

Passengers can look forward to local greetings, as residents are known to welcome cruise ships with song and dance when they arrive and depart.

While there are no homeport customers on a long-term basis, there is one cruise a year that turns around in Hakodate. The ship varies as part of a charter from The Japan Cruise Line Corporation.

Hokkaido is currently in the midst of a boom in tourism as The Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is working hard to build up its tourism numbers.

The goal is to see the number of tourists hit 3 million by 2020, which would be a 100 percent increase from 2017.

Recent transportation upgrades include a new train line and an airport serving budget carriers.

The Hakodate port has advantages with two wharf options as the Minatocho wharf is able to accommodate larger ships and has a parking lot that can hold up to 100 tour busses.

In addition, the port is in the process of enhancing the Nishi wharf which will allow both locations to accept large ships. Construction is set to be complete later this year.

The Nishi wharf is located right at the heart of the city giving visitors quick access.

The area, due to seasonality, faces challenges in keeping up tourism throughout the year as the port is only open to cruise lines from April to October.

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