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Explore Goryokaku- Japan's Famous Historical Fort

The Tokugawa military government constructed Goryokaku at the end of its regime to protect a governmental office called the Magistrate’s Office. It was the first Western-style fort in Japan.

From Hakodate
Online Experience
1 Hour
Virtual Tour
Upto 10 people
English
Highlights
  • Admire the impressive Goryokaku Park
  • Look at the rebuilt magistrate’s office and its interior
Description
  • Starting at Goryokaku Tower, we go into Goryokaku Park, or former Goryokaku fort. We will end the tour at the Magistrate’s Office. We will see the earthwork, the moat, and the rebuilt Magistrate’s Office as well as the trees including the pine trees and the cherry trees. The Fort had two historic roles. First, the Magistrate’s Office was established by the samurai government to keep peace in Hakodate, develop Hokkaido, and deal with foreign affairs. 
  • And then, after the Meiji Restoration, it was occupied by those loyal to the last shogun, making Hakodate the last battlefield in the Boshin War. Hakodate is even more famous than Hijikata Toshizo died here. He came with Enomoto and stayed in the fort for about seven months, commanding many battles against the modern government forces until killed in the all-out attack. This peaceful park went through the upheaval. I would like to share the fact with those interested in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was in the mid-19th century. After yielding to Commodore M. Perry’s pressure, the samurai government concluded the treaty of peace and amity with the US and opened the port of Hakodate, thus establishing the Magistrate’s office here in Hakodate. Soon the Hakodate magistrates requested the permission to build a new office and the fort to protect it. Then, the Hakodate port was also opened to international trading along with Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki and Niigata. In 1864, the new building in the star-shaped fort or Goryokaku was completed, and the office relocated. The magistrate’s office functioned as the center of governing, protecting, and developing Hakodate as well as entire Hokkaido. However, the samurai government was overturned 4 years after the relocation and the modern government launched. The office was peacefully surrendered to the new government. Meanwhile, the war between the modern government and a flock of feudal lords and samurai loyal to the last shogun broke out in Kyoto and the battles were fought in Edo (Tokyo), Aizu, etc., and finally 3,000 of so-called deserters with Enomoto as the head shipped at Sendai and landed on Hokkaido. They occupied Goryokaku and stationed in the former magistrate’s office. Soon, the Enomoto forces conquered entire Hokkaido. Hijikata Toshizo led his army and won many battles against the new government. However, the new government made an all-out attack against the Enomoto forces, and the Goryokaku fort was surrendered. The end of the war united the country. In the beginning of the 20th century, the former fort was opened to public as a park. With cherry trees planted, people of Hakodate have enjoyed viewing the cherry blossoms in spring. 
  • We will visit the fort and the magistrate’s office that was partially rebuilt in 2010, remembering the last days of the samurai age.
Instructions
  • Please have a good internet connection and the Zoom app installed on your phone or laptop
  • The instructions to join the meeting will be sent via email shortly after the booking
Know before you go
  • Please sign in to the Zoom app five minutes before the beginning of the experience
  • This tour involves walking to various places, and the internet connection may sometimes be weak. However, we will attempt to minimize such disruptions
  • You can book this tour for 75 USD for a group of 3 screens OR as a private tour for 125 USD and invite up to 10 friends and family to join this activity with you from all over the world. You will see the option to book this experience as a private tour on the checkout page if it is available for that time slot
  • Since these are live tours, there may be a subject to last-minute cancellation due to inclement weather, Internet disruptions or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Since these are live tours, they may be subject to last minute cancellation due to inclement weather, Internet disruptions or other unforeseen circumstances.
Meet your Host
Fumiko Takano

I was born and raised here in Hakodate. I studied at Western Washington University in Bellingham, USA, from the year 2000 to 2003. I have been working as a tour guide since 2014. I wanted to use the medium of English language in order to introduce my hometown to foreign visitors. I have learned a lot about Hakodate since then. The Motomachi area is a must-visit attraction for tourists visiting Hakodate. I hope to share the area with you.

From USD 75 / Group
Important Information
  • Fully refundable in case of any cancellation upto 2 days before the tour.