What to see in Goryokaku
Goryokaku is one of Hakodate's major sightseeing spots. As a regional office for the central government, it was constructed in 1864. A few years after that, feudal times ended. Star-shaped Western-style forts are rarely seen in Japan. Now, Goryokaku is a park blessed with nature where people come to relax and enjoy themselves.
Goryokaku has a lot to offer, such as history, cherry blossoms, walking, and an illumination event in winter. If you visit it, you can have a good 'Japanese' experience.
[Hakodate Magistrate's Office] The rebuilt heart of Goryokaku
Goryokaku was constructed during a period of great change in Japan. The country rescinded its isolationist policy and opened some ports to international trade. In 1864, the central government constructed Goryokaku for the defense of the northern part of the country. Protected by the star-shaped fortification and moat, the Magistrate's Office was in the center of the fort. Having served as an office for about four years, the building was involved in a civil war. After the end of the civil war, it was demolished in 1871.
The main part of the original building was rebuilt in 2010 using traditional construction methods. Take a walk through the building - it is well worth seeing. You will be impressed by the large rooms with tatami flooring. We hope you appreciate the high quality Japanese architecture and craftsmanship.
The roof tiles and ornaments were faithfully reproduced.
The main hall consists of four small rooms.
A monument to designer Takeda Ayasaburo.
[Hakodate's best place for beautiful cherry blossoms] You can stroll under the cherry trees
Goryokaku was opened to the public as a park from 1914. Now, tourists as well as locals come to the park to relax and enjoy themselves.
The park attracts crowds of people for cherry blossom viewing in the beginning of May. There are more than 1600 Yoshino cherry trees planted throughout the park. When they are in full bloom, the view is spectacular. You can stroll under the blossoms, row a boat in the moat, or enjoy the illuminated blossoms at night. In designated areas, people can enjoy Hakodate-style cherry blossom viewing with a jingisukan lamb barbecue.
[Strolling and appreciating nature] The fresh green, autumn colors, and snow scene
There is a 1,800-meter long promenade around the outer perimeter of Goryokaku's moat. You can enjoy the natural scenery all year round. In addition to cherry blossoms, wisteria, azaleas, and water lilies delight the eye.
Marvelous wisteria trellis.
Vivid azalea blossoms.
Pale pink and white water lilies.
[Goryokaku Tower] Goryokaku from the observation deck
Goryokaku is a star-shaped fort, but it is difficult to fully appreciate this by walking around it. You can look over the entire park from Goryokaku Tower's observation deck.
Goryokaku Tower is about 100 meters tall, with the second floor of the observation deck located 90 meters above the ground. The observation floors have 360-degree-wrap-around glass windows so you can enjoy uninterrupted views of Goryokaku, Mt. Hakodate and the port. It's an impressive panorama!
[Cafe space next to Goryokaku Park] Take a break among the cherry trees
To finish up your Goryokaku exploration, take a break at a comfortable café with a view of the park
Peaberry is a café with a view of Goryokaku Park from which you can appreciate the four seasons. There is also an outdoor deck if you feel like being closer to the scenery.
Rokkatei is a popular Hokkaido-based sweets and confectionary maker. Their Goryokaku store, with its huge window looking straight into the park, also has a café. The huge window is like a landscape picture.