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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.

Part of Boshin War
Near Hakodate in Japan
Hakodate Goryokaku Panorama 1.JPG
Goryōkaku viewed from Goryōkaku Tower
governmental hall of the Republic of Ezo
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 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).[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 alsoEdit


  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. p. 131-133. ISBN 0870117661.

Further readingEdit

  • Benesch, Oleg and Ran Zwigenberg (2019). Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 374. ISBN 9781108481946.
  • Schmorleitz, Morton S. (1974). Castles in Japan. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co. p. 144. ISBN 0-8048-1102-4.

External linksEdit