city, southern Hokkaido ken (prefecture), Japan, on the Tsugaru-kaikyo (Tsu garu Strait) between Hokkaido and Honshu. The city is built along the northwestern base of a rocky promontory that forms the eastern boundary of a spacious, naturally sheltered harbour. Until the mid-18th century, Hakodate remained in the hands of the Ainu in spite of various attempts by the Japanese government to gain control of the port. In 1789 it was made a base for Japanese deep-sea fishing, which led to its prosperity. Goryokaku, a Western-style fort later converted to a park, was built soon after Hakodate opened to international trade in the 19th century. Russians built a Byzantine-style church in 1859. Mount Hakodate (1,100 feet [335 m]) rises to the southwest; on its eastern slope are a municipal library and museum, the latter devoted to the Ainu and Nivkh (formerly Gilyak) peoples. In the east are Yunokawa Spa (one of the oldest hot-spring resorts on the island) and the only Trappist convent for women in Japan (1898)
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