- Around Hakodate
- Travelko Rating
- ClosedOpen Every Day
Special historical site, park and tower!
Hakodate has a long and unique history standing out in Hokkaido, the former site of Goryokaku Fort is a symbol of its history and landmark. The site was designated as Special Historical Site in 1952, still only one in Hokkaido, and is nicknamed as Goryokaku Park. Goryokaku Fort was completed in 1864 by the Tokugawa shogunate establishing the Hakodate Magistrate’s office which aimed to be the political, diplomatic and defensive base of Hokkaido. Fort was modeled after European citadel towns, therefore its shape is uniquely pentagonal style differed from Japanese castles. Fort was a battlefield between the remainder of Tokugawa shogunate and new Meiji government at the beginning of Meiji era, it is so-called Hakodate war, after the war Meiji government achieved stability.
Now the park serves as an oasis for citizens, it is surrounded by moat and mound with stone wall, there are about 1,600 cherry trees in the park which bloom in spring all at once, it is one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Hakodate area, so beautiful! The park hosts Hakodate Goryokaku Festival in July, Hakodate’s Historical Pageant in August and the Dream Pentagonal Stars (lit up by 2,000 lights) in winter.
The facility fascinating people remarkably is Goryokaku Tower, which is adjacent to the park, and provides the best place to look down at the park. The observatory of the Tower consists of two stories, the elevator takes 30 people to the first floor of the observatory at the height of 86 meter in 30 sec, then you go up the stair to the second floor at 90 meter high, where you must be impressed to command the beautiful pentagonal shape. There is the exhibition space on the second floor which provides the history of Goryokaku Fort, and especially the model of the Fort and the elaborate miniature figures representing the civil war are interesting.
If you have more time, it is recommended to visit Hakodate Bugyosyo Magistrate’s Office inside the park by crossing the bridge over the moat. It was constructed in 1864, however it was taken to pieces after Hakodate war. In 1985 as a symbol of Goryokaku the restoration of the building was planned, and in 2010 it was recreated same as the building 140 years ago by careful research and excavation, and traditional architectural technology. You will be impressed by the beautiful wooden structure and Samurai’s workplace with traditional fixtures. The fee is ¥500(JPY) for adults, ¥250(JPY) for up to high school students and free for children under elementary school. When you enter the building, please take your shoes off and keep them in a plastic bag given.
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