Goryokaku Fort

From Jcastle.info



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.

Visit 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.


Castle Profile
English Name Goryokaku Fort
Japanese Name 五稜郭
Alternate Names Kameda Government Office (Kameda Oyakusho Dorui), Ryuya Castle
Founder Ayasaburo Takeda
Year Founded 1864
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, Special Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Features water moats, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bus or streetcar from Hakodate station
Visitor Information
Time Required
Website http://www.hakodate.or.jp/guide/modules/map/index.php?lid=721&cid=41
Location Hakodate, Hokkaido
Coordinates 41° 47' 49", 140° 45' 24"
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Year Visited 2002
Visits July 21, 2002
Added Jcastle 2002

(15 votes)
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33 months ago
Score 0++
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.


80 months ago
Score 0++
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.


81 months ago
Score 0++
Palace/Administration buildings reconstructed in 2010. Enormous, 20+ tatami rooms