Japan's northwest island, Hokkaido, was sparsely populated until the early 19th century, when Japanese people came from all parts of the country to settle the land to create the Hokkaido we know today. Whereas Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other areas of Japan are known for their intense summer heat and humidity, the summers in Hokkaido are relatively cool and pleasant.
Hakodate is located in southern Hokkaido. Hakodate is a small, quiet, rural town, with a population of about 300,000. Hakodate was one of two Japanese ports opened by Commodore Perry when he visited Japan in 1854. At that time, Hakodate led Japan's progress towards modernization. The night view of the town from Mt. Hakodate is considered one of the most spectacular in the world.