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Goryokaku is the first Western-style fortress built in 1864, based on the plan of a French fortress. In order to reduce the number of blind spots, it is shaped like a star. In 1868, the Battle of Hakodate was fought in this place where the army of the Tokugawa shogunate and the army of the newly formed Imperial government fought. Later on, it was open to public as a park in 1914. Now locals enjoy relaxing here. There are many trees and plants in this park, so you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, autumn leaves in fall and snow in winter.
- 44 Goryokakucho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido
- Contact No.
- 16-min tramway ride from Hakodate-eki-mae tram stop just a min JR Hakodate Station toward Yunokawa on Hakodate City Tram. Get off at Goryokakukoen-mae tram stop and walk for 15 min.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 90 min
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
The Battle of Hakodate was fought in Goryokaku
From 1868-69, the old Tokugawa shogunate army and the newly formed Imperial government army fought in the Battle of Hakodate. The old Tokugawa shogunate army left the city of Edo and headed to Hokkaido. As a result, they fought at Hakodate. The old army held Goryokaku as a base and fought with canons against the Imperial army surrounding the fortress. In the end, the old army lost the fight and Goryokaku was conquered by the new Imperial army.
Next to Goryokaku Park, there is a 107-meter-high tower called Goryokaku Tower. There are two observatories - one at 90 meter and the other at 86 meter. From here, you can see the star-shaped fortress of Goryokaku clearly. You can also learn about Hakodate and the Battle of Hakodate.
Hakodate Magistrate Office
Hakodate Magistrate Office was built in 1864, as a base of protecting the north of Japan. It was destroyed in 1871, but reconstructed in 2010. The building interiors were reconstructed with meticulous precision. Here, you can learn about the Hakodate Magistrate Office in various zones: reconstruction zone, history discovery zone, and a movie theater.
Traces from the Battle of Hakodate
Inside Goryokaku Park, there are many historical articles such as stone walls created to protect Goryokaku, a fortress made of mud, and cannons used in the battle. There are also grave mounds that are said to be resting place for all those who died in the Battle of Hakodate.
Goryokaku from the moat
In Goryokaku, there is a place where you can rent a boat to go around the moat. Goryokaku looks slightly different from the boat going slowly around it. Rent a boat at the well-established store Noda Rental Boat, founded in 1922. (Closed during winter)
Spring in Hakodate with cherry blossoms
Inside the park, there are approx. 1600 cherry blossom trees. It is the one of the most famous places for cherry blossom viewing in Hakodate. The best season to see cherry blossom flowers is from the end of April to mid-May. When the flowers start to wither, Goryokaku is filled with gorgeous, light pink petals. It is such a beautiful view. On top of that, there is an illumination at night to see cherry blossom trees. Only during this period, you can taste the specialty of Hokkaido, lamb barbecue (also called Genghis Khan), inside Goryokaku Park.
Autumn leaves color the park
From the end of October to the beginning of November, you can see autumn leaves in Goryokaku. The beautiful cherry blossom trees, which bloom beautifully in spring, change their color in fall making it look spectacular. Because Hokkaido is quite cold in the morning and in the evening during the autumn leave season, you should try to wear something warm if you want to enjoy autumn leaves.
Goryukaku Star Illumination
During the Goryukaku Star Illumination, the star-shaped moat of Goryukaku is illuminated with about 2000 light bulbs. Started in 1989, it takes place from the end of November to the end of February every year. The illumination looks especially magnificent with white snow in winter.
Try the local hamburger after visiting Goryokaku
Situated in front of Goryokaku Park, Lucky Pierrot is a popular hamburger shop in Hakodate. The large-sized hamburger is made using local Hokkaido produce. It is known as "the local hamburger" and you can only taste it here.