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Near Hakodate in Japan
Hakodate Goryokaku Panorama 1.JPG
Goryōkaku viewed from Goryōkaku Tower
The governmental hall of the Republic of Ezo
19th century map of Goryōkaku
Type Star fort
Site history
Built 1855 (1855)
Built by Takeda Hisaburō
Battles/wars Boshin War

Goryōkaku (五稜郭) is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido.[1][2] 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 Vauban.[1] 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 the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet.[1]

Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War. The fighting lasted for a week (June 20–27, 1869).[3]


Today, Goryōkaku is a park. It has been declared a Special Historical Site and is home to the Hakodate city museum. The grounds are a favorite spot for cherry-blossom viewing in spring.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Goryōkaku" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 259.
  2. ^ Hinago, Motoo (1986). Japanese Castles. Kodansha International Ltd. and Shibundo. p. 131-133. ISBN 0870117661. 
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Goryōkaku no Tatakai" at p. 259.

Further reading[edit]

  • Schmorleitz, Morton S. (1974). Castles in Japan. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co. p. 144. ISBN 0-8048-1102-4. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°47′49″N 140°45′25″E / 41.79694°N 140.75694°E / 41.79694; 140.75694