A Spectacular Sight: Goryokaku Tower at Night

About Goryokaku Tower and the Star Shaped Fort

Goryokaku Tower is a prominent landmark located in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. It stands within the Goryokaku Park, a historic site that was once a star-shaped fortress built in the mid-19th century. The tower itself was constructed in 2006 and offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the Goryokaku Park with its unique star-shaped layout, as well as Mount Hakodate and the cityscape of Hakodate. It serves as both an observation deck and a historical monument, providing insight into the region’s military history while also offering stunning vistas of Hokkaido’s natural and urban landscapes. At night, the view of the star-shaped fortress atop the Goryokaku Tower is really a sight to behold, especially if you get to see the sunset. And this is exactly our itinerary for the evening – to catch a glimpse of the fort!

How to Get There

Getting around Hakodate is primarily via their tram system, unlike the major cities where subway stations are simply a stone’s throw away. Tram station is called Goryokaku Koen-mae, and “Koen-mae” literally means “front of park”. It takes around 15 mins from Hakodate Station and costs 230 yen, one-way.

Doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this tram station leads to. However, even though it says Goryokaku Koen-mae, it is not directly at the entrance. Please expect to walk about 10 mins or so to the entrance of the fort.

Exploring Goryokaku Tower at Night

As with all touristic “towers” around the world, pretty much the entrance to the area is the souvenir store. From within you’ll have to buy your ticket to the top, and get herded in via a one-stop elevator to the top. Surprisingly when we arrived at around 4.30pm, it was already relatively crowded up at the tower viewing area. Many photographers have already set up their equipment, ready to take a photo of the golden hour transition.

Tickets to the top of Goryokaku Tower
Tickets to the top of Goryokaku Tower
View from the top of Goryokaku Tower
View from the top of Goryokaku Tower

One shouldn’t expect to spend too much time up there. While it is educational, the area is quite small. Considering the amount of people too, we decided to take a stroll in the snowy weather. Because why not? There is a building smack in the middle of the park – The Former Magistrate’s Office. Unfortunately it was past opening hours when we were there. I guess it’d be worth a visit if you have a chance.

Former Magistrate Office near Goryokaku Tower
Former Magistrate’s Office
Radial blur effect thanks to the snow
Frozen btw…

It is also worthy to note that around the moat, there’re thousands of cherry blossom trees. So if you’re here at the right season, it would be exceptionally pretty too!

Information About Goryokaku Tower

Address: 43-9 Goryokakucho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0001, Japan
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (hours might differ depending on season)
Entrance Fees: 1000 yen per adult
Website: https://www.goryokaku-tower.co.jp/
Nearest Tram Stop: Goryokaku Koen-mae (15 mins from Hakodate Station, 230 yen)