Hakodate lights up the winter nights with a special three-month illumination at the Goryokaku star-shaped fortress.
Goryokaku Park is an iconic star-shaped fort located in Hakodate. The fortress was originally constructed in 1855 to protect Hokkaido and was the site of a civil war between the shogunate’s soldiers and the imperial troops of the Meiji government. Later in the 1910s, the area was converted into a public park, and today, it is recognized as a national special historic site.
The beautifully landscaped park shines during all seasons and is a popular natural retreat for residents and tourists alike.
Goryokaku Tower, located just outside the park, stands 107 meters tall and offers stunning panoramic views of the park and Hakodate City from its multiple observation decks. The tower also has shops, restaurants, and an exhibition on Goryokaku’s history.
Located in the center of the park, the Former Magistrate Office is a partial reconstruction of the original building where the shogunate’s officers ruled over Hokkaido. The office was rebuilt using traditional methods and is a stunning display of Japanese architecture.
After the land was designated as a park, the city planted more than one thousand cherry trees along its moats. Today, it is one of Hokkaido’s best cherry blossom viewing spots. The contrast of the pink blossoms against the moats’ water and surrounding foliage make for an awe-inspiring sight.
From Hakodate Station, take the tram to Goryokaku Koen Mae Station (10 mins). Then, continue 10 minutes on foot to the park.
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