Hakodate Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship “Mashu-maru”

Hakodate Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship

We initially didn’t plan to go to this Hakodate Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship museum, and only intended to wander around Hakodate Station after placing our baggage at our hotel at the nearby Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Hakodate Ekimae Daimon. We picked this place because it is literally right next to the station, and very affordable too. While one can comment about the dated looks of the Toyoko Inn chain of hotels, we quite like it because of the nostalgic 80s feel.

Long story short, today we arrived at Hakodate from Sapporo. (For those wondering how to get to Hakodate, read about it at the bottom of this page). And after having a quick lunch at the eateries next to Hakodate Station, it started snowing heavily. It was because we saw some signages pointing there, and we thought we could seek refuge from the blizzard; and hence we appeared here.

What Is the Seikan Ferry?

Now for some history lessons… You must know that Honshu and Hokkaido are separate islands. If you look at the map of Japan, you’d see that in the past, travelers did not just miraculously teleport across the strait. Those who needed to travel from Hokkaido to Honshu by rail would need to make a pit-stop at Hakodate, then take the Seikan Ferry towards Aomori. It was up till 1988 when the Seikan Tunnel opened, that the ferries were decommissioned, docked and converted into museums. Herein lies the Mashumaru in Hakodate, the Hakkodamaru in Aomori, and the Yoteimaru in Odaiba.

A Memorial Experience Indeed, On Board the Mashu-maru

Hakodate Seikan Ferry Memorial Ship

It was an interesting experience, we got to see how the ferry looked like during our grandparents’ era. In fact the seats looked very comfy too. There were also showcases of how the crew’s uniforms looked like back then. It is quite timeless, considering how old school the Japan Airlines crew uniforms look, one look at these uniforms instantly gives you a clue on the country.

Passenger seats on board the Hakodate Seikan Ferry "Mashu-Maru" in the 1970s
Passenger Seats on the Mashu-Maru
Hakodate Seikan Ferry Mashu-maru crew uniforms
Mashu-maru Crew Uniforms

The museum wasn’t very large to begin with, you don’t get to explore the entire ship unfortunately. We spent most of our time in the quarterdeck, fiddling with the now dysfunct buttons of the control panels. It is amazing how the forefathers before our time could handle such a complex vessel, while the strawberry generation of today now struggle to even use a can opener.

Actual chart room of the Hakodate Seikan Ferry Mashu-maru
Chart room of the Mashu-Maru
The bridge, or the pilothouse of the Hakodate Seikan Ferry Mashu-maru
The bridge of the Mashu-maru

It was an relaxing journey through history, an hour well spent traveling back in time. To be honest we never knew all these during the exhibition because everything is in Japanese. We only Googled this interesting bit of information back at the hotel later that night.

Getting to Hakodate from Sapporo

Typically, getting to Hakodate from Sapporo would be a 3.5 hour ride on the JR Hokuto and costs 9,440 yen. But fret not, if you have the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass, it would be utterly worth it. In case you don’t know, the JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass costs 35,000 yen and is valid for 6 consecutive days. If you intend to travel the eastern peninsula, from Hakodate downwards all the way to Tokyo, this would already cover itself.

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Information About the Hakodate Ferry Memorial Ship Mashu-maru

Address: 12番地先 Wakamatsucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0063, Japan
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 06:00 p.m. daily
Fee: 500 yen per person
Website: https://mashumaru.com/
Nearest Station: Hakodate Station