Goryokaku Fort 五稜郭
Best view of Goryokaku
Picture Donated by Kristy D.
Founder Ayasaburo Takeda
Year 1864
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Kameda Government Office (Kameda Oyakusho Dorui), Ryuya Castle
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Hakodate, Hokkaido
Map Google Map
Access Bus or streetcar from Hakodate station
Website Hakodate Information Network
Visited July 21, 2002
Notes This may not fit in with the other castles on this site because it is more of a modern fort than a Sengoku or Edo period castle. It had no significant buildings beyond these walls and moats. It was the location of the last battle of the Edo period, so it has significance for that period of history.

If you look at this picture and the next one you should be able to see that this fort has a star shape. The Tokugawa shogunate began construction of this castle in 1857 and completed it in 1864. This was the first Western (specifically, Vauban) style fortress in Japan. This style was also popular in Europe at the time for it's ability to withstand damage from modern weapons.

After Japan was forced to open up trading with other countries by the US, the Tokugawa Shogunate opened ports in Hakodate and Shimoda. This fort at Hakodate was designed to defend the city from any Northern threats. Upon completion a government office was established inside which controlled all of Hokkaido.

During the Boshin War (1867-1869) rebel Shogunate forces battled with the Imperial forces after the return of power to the Emperor. The Shogunate forces eventually retreated to Hakodate where they took control of Goryokaku and the Hakodate War began. A year later the last of the rebels surrendered to Imperial forces, thus concluding the last remnant of Feudal Japan.

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  • furinkazan on My Page    May 23, 2015 at 07:57 PM
    Yesterday evening was chilly, but this morning the weather was already nice to visit this site. I took the streetcar from the Hakodate station to the Goryogakukoenmae. One ride is 230¥. From there it's about 1km to the Goryogaku tower. The entrance fee to the observatory is 840¥. You have a good view of the fort and of the city. After that i walked all around the site before entering the park. Like Kris said, there are numerous explanation boards all over the site. The entrance fee to the magistrate's office is 500¥. It's a very well reconstructed building. There is only one original structure. It's the white building on the photo, a little bit to the left of the centre. It's a storehouse and it's closed to the public. Since the weather was nice, i liked to stroll around.
  • Eric    July 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM
    Kris, names are now added. I did not know about the Bugyosho reconstruction but would love to add a couple pics.
  • Kris    July 26, 2011 at 11:09 PM
    Just noticed you don`t have the alternative names for this entry. According to the leaflet, also known as Kameda Government Office (Kameda Oyakusho Dorui) or Ryuya Castle.
  • Kris on My Page    July 26, 2011 at 11:02 PM
    My Shinsengumi-loving friend made me promise to go to Hakodate one day; it was awesome. We went to Goryokaku twice. It is very well sign-posted, well kept and had lot of good explanations in English. The new Bugyosho reconstruction is very well done but the explanations seemed a bit white-washed - they politely refrained from labeling uncomfortable things. Goryokaku Tower has good but not perfect views of the star-shaped outline; still it more than makes up for it in amusing miniature dioramas and being a Hijikata-themed omiyage samurai paradise to the North. Even if you aren`t interested, the impression of cannon tracks in a muddy slope is still a stirring sight. Also, this is the only castle I have seen so far that has a character goods line of itself as a flying squid-fighting space fortress.
  • rebolforces on My Page    June 09, 2011 at 12:28 AM
    Palace/Administration buildings reconstructed in 2010. Enormous, 20+ tatami rooms
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Hakodate, Hokkaido
Goryokaku Fort views
Best view of Goryokaku entrance, moats, and bridge
moats, park and city moat and park
entrance Stone walls
atop one of the stone walls Stone Walls
Stone walls interior stone wall
stone wall with numbered stones stone walls
Bugyosho Bugyosho, from the side
Bugyosho Model of the Goryokaku Fort