Goryokaku Park

A castle built in accordance with Western construction methods

Goryokaku is one of the few Western-style castles built by the Tokugawa Shogunate at the end of the Edo period for the purpose of defending the Ezo region (present-day Hokkaido).

It consists of a star-shaped structure surrounded by a water moat and one half-moon fort, inside of which buildings such as a magistrate’s office were constructed.

The inside of the moat is now open to the public as Goryokaku Park, a beautiful sightseeing spot where Hakodate citizens can relax and enjoy the cherry blossoms and wisteria flowers. Designated as a National Special Historic Site.

A popular cherry blossom viewing spot

Goryokaku, which had been used as an army training ground since the Meiji era, was opened as a park in 1913.

Someiyoshino cherry trees were planted over a period of 10 years starting in 1913, and in 1923, the "10,000 Commemorative Cherry Trees Monument" was built to commemorate the 10,000 cherry trees that were planted in Goryokaku.

Approximately 1,600 of these cherry trees remain today, making it one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Hokkaido.

Hakodate Magistrate Office

The Hakodate Magistrate's Office was established by the Edo Shogunate as a base for defending Japan's northern frontier.
In 1854, the Edo shogunate concluded the Treaty of Friendship between Japan and the U.S. after Perry's arrival in Japan. The treaty opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate (present-day Hakodate) to the U.S., ending Japan's 200-year isolation and opening the country to the outside world.

The Hakodate Magistrate's Office was originally located at the foot of Mount Hakodate, but was relocated in 1864 after Goryokaku was built and the building was constructed inside the enclosure.

Only two years after its completion, the Edo shogunate collapsed in 1868.
It became the scene of the Hakodate War, the last battle of the Boshin War, and was dismantled in 1871 after only seven years.

The building was restored in 2010 after extensive research of old photographs, literary materials, and old drawings.

Goryokaku Tower

Goryokaku Tower is a 107-meter-high observation tower with a star-shaped tower and a pentagonal observation deck.

The 90-meter observation deck offers a 360-degree view of the star-shaped Goryokaku and the Hakodate city area.

The original design was not star-shaped

Goryokaku was designed to accommodate the foreign warships with cannons that arrived in Hakodate, and the design drawings were completed with reference to European castle-building techniques of the time.

However, due to budget shortages and the fact that the foreign threat was not as great as expected after the opening of the port, the outer construction was scaled back.

Today, there is a half-moon fort connected by a single bridge at one location southwest of the star shape. Initially, five locations were planned, and the blueprints were in the shape of a star turned 36 degrees, with two stars stacked on top of each other.

Information

Name
Goryokaku Park
五稜郭公園
Link
Official Site
Address
44 Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate City, Hokkaido
Telephone number
0138-51-2864
Access

20 minutes by bus from Hakodate Station → 1 minute walk from the back of the Public Health Center

Area
Hokkaido Hakodate
Category
Castles Historic sites, Cultural properties, Buildings Park, Green space, Multipurpose facility

Gallery

Hakodate

Hokkaido

Category

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