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Part of Boshin War
Near Hakodate in Japan
Hakodate Goryokaku Panorama 1.JPG
Goryōkaku viewed from Goryōkaku Tower
Hakodate Magistrate's Office 1868.png
Governmental hall of the Republic of Ezo
Goryōkaku is located in Japan
CoordinatesCoordinates: 41°47′49″N 140°45′25″E / 41.79694°N 140.75694°E / 41.79694; 140.75694
TypeStar fort
Site history
Built byTakeda Hisaburō
Battles/warsBoshin War
19th century map of Goryōkaku

Goryōkaku (五稜郭) (literally, "five-point fort") is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido.[1][2] The fortress was completed in 1866. It was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo.


Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Ayasaburō. His plan was based on the work of the French architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban.[1] The fortress was completed in 1866, two years before the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate. It is shaped like a five-pointed star. This allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

The fort was built by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet.[1] It became the capital of the Republic of Ezo, a state that existed only in 1869. It was the site of the last battle of the Boshin War between the Republic and the Empire of Japan. The fighting lasted for a week (June 20–27, 1869).[1]


Today, Goryōkaku is a park declared as a Special Historical Site, being a part of the Hakodate city museum and a citizens' favorite spot for cherry-blossom viewing in spring.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric (2002). Goryōkaku. Japan Encyclopedia. Translated by Kathe Roth. London, England: Harvard University Press. p. 259. ISBN 0-674-00770-0.
  2. ^ Hinago, Motoo (1986). Japanese Castles. Kodansha International Ltd. and Shibundo. pp. 131–133. ISBN 0870117661.

Further reading[edit]

  • Benesch, Oleg and Ran Zwigenberg (2019). Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 374. ISBN 9781108481946.
  • De Lange, William (2021). An Encyclopedia of Japanese Castles. Groningen: Toyo Press. p. 600. ISBN 978-9492722300.
  • Schmorleitz, Morton S. (1974). Castles in Japan. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co. p. 144. ISBN 0-8048-1102-4.

External links[edit]