Enjoy sweeping vistas and Hakodate from up high
When visiting the city of Hakodate in japan, one of the must-see attractions is the Goryokaku Tower. Located in the Goryokaku Park, this tower offers breathtaking views of both the city and the star-shaped Goryokaku Fort below. The tower stands tall at 107 meters and has observation floors at 86 and 90 meters, providing visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. From the top of the tower, you can see Mt. Hakodate, the Tsugaru Strait, and the Yokotsu mountain range to the north. It truly is a sight to behold.
To reach Goryokaku Tower, there are several transportation options available. You can take a tram or a bus from Hakodate Station to Goryokaku Koen Mae, which is the nearest stop to the tower. From there, it’s just a short 15-minute walk to the tower. Alternatively, if you choose to travel by bus, you can alight at Goryokaku Koen Iriguchi and then walk for about seven minutes to reach the tower. The tower is easily accessible and can be included in your itinerary when exploring Hakodate.
Goryokaku Fort, which can be seen from the top of the tower, holds historical significance as Japan’s first Western-style fort. It was completed in 1864 and was designed in the shape of a star to allow for more gun emplacements and reduce blind spots. The fort played a crucial role in the defense of northern Japan during that time. From the tower, you can clearly see the star shape of the fort and appreciate its unique design. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about Japan’s history and military architecture.
The Goryokaku Tower itself has an interesting history. The original tower was completed in 1964, but the present structure opened in 2006. Standing at 107 meters tall, it is a prominent landmark in Hakodate. The tower offers more than just stunning views. It also houses shops and restaurants on the first and second floors, where visitors can enjoy a meal or indulge in some retail therapy. Additionally, there is an exhibition on the upper observation deck that provides insight into the history of Goryokaku and its significance.
One of the best times to visit Goryokaku Tower is during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The fort is surrounded by approximately 1,600 cherry trees, which create a breathtaking pink canopy when in full bloom. Goryokaku Park, where the fort is located, is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in Hakodate. It’s a festive atmosphere, with locals and tourists alike coming together to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms. After taking in the panoramic views from the tower, you can join the merry-makers below and have a picnic in the park while admiring the blooming cherry trees.
Another unique experience at Goryokaku Tower is the Goryokaku Dream Illumination, which takes place during the winter months. The moat around the fort is lit up with 2,000 lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can go up the tower after dark between December and February to see the fort shining brightly as a star should. It’s a truly enchanting sight that should not be missed. During this time, visitors can also write their wishes on strips of paper and attach them to the Goryo Star Dream Tree, hoping for their dreams to come true. After February, the wishes are dedicated at the Hokkaido Toshogu Shrine.
In addition to the tower, Goryokaku Park itself is worth exploring. Open to the public since 1914, it has become a favorite spot for locals to have picnics and enjoy the outdoors. The park offers a peaceful and serene environment, perfect for a leisurely stroll. There are many spots where you can sit and relax, surrounded by nature. It’s a great place to unwind and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
While in the area, consider visiting the Hokkaido Hakodate Art Museum, which is a short walk from Goryokaku Tower. The museum features works by renowned Japanese artists Yokoyama Matsusaburo and Miematsu Tanabe, both of whom had special connections to southern Hokkaido. It also houses works by international artists such as Rodin and Renoir. It’s a cultural experience that adds depth to your visit to Hakodate.
In conclusion, Goryokaku Tower is a must-visit attraction when in Hakodate, Japan. From its observation floors, you can enjoy sweeping vistas of the city and the star-shaped Goryokaku Fort below. The tower provides a unique perspective and allows visitors to appreciate the historical significance of Goryokaku. Whether it’s during the Cherry Blossom Festival or the Goryokaku Dream Illumination, there’s always something special happening at the tower. Take the time to explore Goryokaku Park and visit the Hakodate Art Museum to enhance your experience. Goryokaku Tower is a true gem in Hakodate, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
Address And Maps Location:
43-9 Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate-shi, Hokkaido