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Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is located in the Pacific Ocean it lies to the east of China, Korea, and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. Its capital and largest city is Tokyo.
Hakodate is a city and port located in Oshima, Hokkaido, Japan. It is the capital city of Oshima Subprefecture and the sister city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Lake Macquarie, a part of greater Newcastle, Australia. As of 2004, the city has an estimated population of 299,737 and the density of 442.24 persons per square kilometers. The total area is 677.77 square kilometers. Hakodate's size nearly doubled on December 1, 2004 when the neighboring municipalities of Toi, Esan, Todohokke and Minamikayabe were merged into it.
Hakodate was founded in 1454, when Kono Kaganokami Masamichi, constructed a palace at the foot of Mount Hakodate. The port of Hakodate was opened to American trade on March 31, 1853 under the conditions of the Treaty of Kanagawa, as negotiated by Commodore Matthew Perry. A mariner of his fleet died during cruising and his body was buried in Hakodate cemetery for foreigners. He was the first U.S. citizen to be buried in Japan. Hakodate was later awarded city status on August 1, 1922.
The city is overlooked by Hakodateyama, a lumpy, totally forested mountain. The summit of the mountain is easily reached by either hiking trail, cable car, or car. The nighttime view from the summit is renowned all over Japan as one of the loveliest sights in the country. An obscure local nickname of the bumpy mountain is Gagyuzan, which alludes to the way the mountain's shape resembles that of a resting bovine.

The city is also known for Hakodate Shio Ramen, where instead of having pork cutlet placed inside the soup, sliced squid is used. On a similar note, Hakodate's city fish is the squid. Every year the city gets together for the Hakodate Port Festival. Hordes of citizens gather in the streets to dance a wiggly dance known as the Ika-odori the name of which describes the dance appropriately. The glowing lights of squid-catching boats can be seen in the waters surrounding the city. Today, one can also learn about its history, from its earliest times and gain enthusiasm in its natural beauty and populace. Hakodate enjoys a very positive reputation with worldwide travelers.

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