Hokuto is located at the southern end of Japan's northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido, and is immediately west of Hakodate. The city was formed by the merger of Kamiiso and Ōno towns on February 1, 2006. It is now the 2nd largest city in Oshima Subprefecture with a population of about 50,000 people.
Hokuto will the be the northern terminus of the Hokkaido Shinkansen once the first stage is completed in 2015. Shin-Hakodate Station will be located at the current site of Oshima-Ono Station.
The JR Esashi Line runs east-west across Hokuto along the coast and connects most of the major residential and commercial areas. Services are infrequent with usually an hour gap between each train (in either direction). Kamiiso Station has a JR ticket office where one can reserve tickets for any JR service in Japan. The one-way fare from Kamiiso Station to Hakodate Station is ¥260.
Trappist Monastery (トラピスト修道院), 392 Mitsuishi (三ツ石３９２) (20 minutes on foot from JR Oshimatobetsu Station), ☎ 0138-75-2139, . The first monastery in Japan. Built in 1908, the building sits in a quiet forest in the hills behind Ishibetsu.Free (Men only, with reservation). edit
Cafe Leaves (カフェリーヴズ ''''), 2-6-21 Honchō (本町２丁目６−２１), ☎ 0138-77-1636 (fax: 0138-77-1831), . 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM (Tues-Sat); 11:00AM to 9:00PM (Sat). A nice cozy cafe in the small village of Ōno with a wide variety of coffee & tea drinks, desserts, and main dishes (Western and Japanese). The menu is all in Japanese but the staff are very friendly and accommodating. The interior is decorated with a large number of English-language books and magazines that patrons can pick up and read at their leisure.edit
Hakodate (函館市 hakodate-shi), a popular tourist destination and the largest city in Oshima Subprefecture. It's immediately to the east of Hokuto and i easily accessible by local trains and buses from Hokuto.
Lake Onuma (大沼湖 ōnuma-ko), a "quasi-national park" that's about an hour to the northeast by local trains from Kamiiso (change at Goryokaku Station), offers a pleasant quick gateway. Oshima-Ōno Station (the future location of Shin-Hakodate Shinkansen Station) in northern Hokuto offers a direct local train to the park's entrance at Onuma Park Station.
Nanae (7e) Snowpark (函館七飯スノーパーク hakodate nanae sunōpāku), a mid-sized ski resort adjacent to Lake Onuma and accessible by bus from Onuma Station. Features 2 chairlifts and a gondola as well as a rental shop.
Matsumae (松前), an hour and a half drive from Hokuto along the coast, has the only castle in Hokkaidō, which is in Matsumae park, famed in southern Hokkaidō (南北海道 minami hokkaidō) for excellent cherry blossom viewing in late April/early May.