Goryokaku Tower 五稜郭タワー
Enjoy sweeping vistas and Hakodate from up high
You can see the city of Hakodate spread out in front of you from the top of Goryokaku Tower, but it's the view of the star-shaped citadel below that really catches the eye.
- Great views of Hakodate
- The rare experience of looking down at a star
- The Cherry Blossom Festival
How to Get There
Goryokaku Tower is easily accessible by tram or bus from Hakodate Station.
If traveling by bus, alight at Goryokaku Koen Iriguchi and walk for seven minutes. By tram, the nearest stop is Goryokaku Koen Mae from where it's a 15-minute walk.
Wish upon a star
Goryokaku Fort was Japan's first Western-style fort, completed in 1864 for the defense of northern Japan. From Goryokaku Tower, you can clearly see how it resembles a five-pointed star. Make a wish, and you never know, it might come true.
The fort was designed in the shape of a star to allow for more gun emplacements and reduce blind spots that could not be reached by cannon fire.
The original Goryaku Tower was completed in 1964. The present structure opened in 2006 and stands 107 meters tall.
From its observation floors at 86 and 90 meters, the tower affords good views of Mt. Hakodate, the Tsugaru Strait and the Yokotsu mountain range to the north. It's open in the evening so you can stay to watch the sunset and the city light up around you.
There are shops and restaurants on the first and second floors of the tower, and you can learn about Goryokaku's history at an exhibition on the upper observation deck.
Pretty in pink
One of the best times to visit Goryokaku Tower is for the Cherry Blossom Festival . Some 1,600 cherry trees line the moat around the fort and when in season, they turn the citadel pink. Goryokaku Park is one of Hakodate's premier spots for cherry blossom viewing, so consider joining the merry-makers below after enjoying the view.
Wish upon a star
Another good time to visit is during the winter months when the moat around the fort is lit up for the Goryokaku Dream Illumination. Go up the tower after dark between December and February and see the outline of the fort shining brightly as a star should, thanks to 2,000 lights reflecting off the frozen moat.
While there, you can write a wish on a strip of paper and attach it to the Goryo Star Dream Tree in hopes that your dream comes true. After February, your wish will be dedicated at the Hokkaido Toshogu Shrine.
Have a picnic in the park
Goryokaku Park has been open to the public since 1914 and has become Hakodate locals' favorite place for a picnic. You won't want to sit outside with your sandwiches in the winter months, but it's a great place to walk around at any time year.
Go see some art
While in the area, consider visiting the Hokkaido Hakodate Art Museum. A short walk from the Goryokaku Tower, it features works by famed Japanese artists Matsusaburo Yokoyama and Miematsu Tanabe, both of whom had special connections to southern Hokkaido. It also has works by Rodin and Renoir.