Goryokaku is a fort in the shape of a star in Hakodate city, Hokkaido. Consisting of a stunning Japanese-style garden and a plaza with rich greenery, the park gives you a completely different view in different seasons. In this article, we will introduce the highlights of Goryokaku, and the perfect ways to enjoy it in each season.
Easy and fast access to Goryokaku from Tokyo
Goryokaku is located in Hakodate City, the southern tip of Hokkaido. From New Chitose Airport to Goryokaku, it takes about 3.5 hours by train. Instead of taking train, if you transfer to a local flight to Hakodate Airport, it takes you shorter time in total.
Since the opening of the Shinkansen (bullet train) in March 2016, it becomes easy and fast to get there from Tokyo – it is just around 4 hours from Tokyo Station by Shinkasen.
Goryokaku, a star-shaped fortress, has become a rest place nowadays
Goryokaku was built as a military base to protect the northern area of Japan in 1855. It is shaped like a five-pointed star. While it is also well-known as a base for the wars in Japan in the past, now it has become a park and is more well-known as a place for leisure activities where local citizens can enjoy throughout the year in the four seasons.
The Goryokaku Tower, where you appreciate the view of the entire park
The unique star shape is definitely one of the charms of Goryokaku. Isn’t it a pity that you cannot appreciate the beauty of the entire park when you are inside it? To enjoy the great view of the shape of the park, it is highly recommended to climb the Goryokaku Tower, which is located right next to the park. The tower is 102 metres high, and it overlooks the whole landscape of Goryokaku. Let’s enjoy the spectacular view from the top of the tower!
Now, we are going to introduce the charms of the park in each season.
Goryokaku is a ground for cherry blossom viewing in spring
When spring comes, from late April to early May, the cherry blossoms of the 1,600 cherry trees planted in the park will all be in full bloom.
The cherry blossoms in Hokkaido start blooming one month later than those in Tokyo and Osaka do. For those who cannot make it for cherry blossom viewing in Tokyo or Osaka, Goryokaku is still a choice for you! Do enjoy the stunning flowers not only from the top of the tower, but also when taking strolls in the park! The two angles will definitely give you different feelings of the cherry blossoms.
Goryokaku is all green in summer! Let's enjoy a refreshing summer in Hokkaido
It is widely known that June comes with the rainy season in Japan. Well, but the thing is, there is no rainy season in Hokkaido. In summer, the trees are all green, making up an especially refreshing scenery under good weather.
And in July and August, when the weather becomes warm, it is the best season for sightseeing in Hokkaido. The weather there is unbelievably comfortable – it is never hot nor humid in Hokkaido even though it is summer. Let’s enjoy a refreshing summer in Hokkaido, surround yourself with greenery, and ride on a boat at the canal of Goryokaku.
Enjoy the charm of red leaves in Goryokaku in autumn
When summer is over, it is the season of red leaves – autumn, from late September to November. Opposite to the case of cherry blossoms, red leaves in Hokkaido start turning red one month earlier than those in Honshu (“Main Island”, where Tokyo and Osaka is located) do. It is another perfect timing for you if you are travelling for the stunning red leaves! Enjoy in Goryokaku!
The snow in winter creates the most enchanting Goryokaku
From late November to March, the long winter comes in Hokkaido. The dream-like scenery is especially enchanting when everywhere in Hakodate is covered with white snow. During winter, there will be illuminations decorating Goryokaku, making a completely different park from the usual one. The white snow reflects the lights, projecting the shape of the park – a five-pointed star. Only in this most romantic season do you have the fortune to enjoy such fascinating scenery.
Despite of the chilly weather, taking strolls in Goryokaku is still considered a must-do! Isn’t it romantic to walk on the white snow covered all over the park? Do give a try!
Enjoy the four seasons in Goryokaku: visit there whenever you like!
Goryokaku offers you a unique atmosphere and distinctively magnificent scenery in each season. There are undoubtedly a lot to enjoy in the park. Do put it on your bucket list when you are travelling to Hokkaido!