Step back in time at this historic Hakodate fort turned public park.
Once a formidable stronghold and now a beautiful public park in Hokkaido Prefecture, Goryokaku is well worth the visit.
Conveniently located next to it is Goryokaku Tower, which offers amazing, panoramic views of both Goryokaku and surrounding Hakodate, one of the main cities in Japan’s most northern island.
You won’t find anything like Goryokaku anywhere else in Japan. Built in 1866, its unusual star shape is chiefly influenced by European forts of the time. Goryokaku was built as the main stronghold of the Ezo Republic, which fought against the Japanese government to create a democratic government of its own in Japan.
You won’t find anything like Goryokaku anywhere else in Japan.
While the Ezo Republic eventually lost, the fort today stands as a reminder of this unique part of Japanese history. Its beautiful grounds are open to the public and are perfect to stroll on during any season. Goryokaku is snowy white in the winter, a dramatic red and yellow during Autumn, a lush green in the summer and a bright pink in the Spring (when all the cherry blossoms are out). In the middle of the fort is the reconstructed Former Magistrate Office. (Admission here is ¥500.)
The neighboring Goryokaku Tower (latest version) was built in 2006. In addition to fantastic views of the fort and Hakodate, it offers a history lesson on the Ezo Republic. History buffs will enjoy the mini museum, which details key figures and battles in the “Hakodate Wars.”
If you’re in Hakodate, both Goryokaku and Goryokaku Tower are a treat to visit any time of year.