Yatai have been around for hundreds of years in Japan. These food stalls were originally two-wheeled wooden carts. And after the Second World War, they evolved into the small stalls common to every Japanese city, where they can now be found lining the back alleys around busy railway stations. Hakodate’s yatai, a collection of about 30 tiny bars and izakaya (informal drinking establishments) are concentrated in a small city block called Daimon Yokocho, just two minutes from the station. There are no private tables and the small stalls seldom accommodate more than 10 at a time, giving you the opportunity to sit and drink with strangers, including local celebrities. Pick any of the stalls, order a beer and strike up a conversation, you can’t go wrong. This is the perfect start to any big evening out – or a great place to stop for a bite between bars.