In April, Goryokaku is the best viewpoint for cherry blossoms.

If you visit Hakodate in April, be sure to go during the cherry blossom season.

The cherry blossoms you must see are at Goryokaku.

The star-shaped fort covered in cherry blossoms offers a rare and magnificent view that you can only experience here in Japan.

Here’s some advice on how to enjoy the cherry blossoms at Goryokaku!

Where to walk?

The inside of Goryokaku is filled with cherry trees. So, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, you can enjoy them from anywhere you like.

In the center of the park, there is a building called the Hakodate Magistrate’s Office, which you can also visit.

It might be a good idea to walk up onto the moat and take a walk around the entire perimeter! It’s quite a distance, but if you have plenty of time, it’s highly recommended. The view from the top of the moat is fantastic. It feels like you’re walking on clouds of cherry blossoms.

You can also go down to the inner moat and enjoy the cherry blossoms there. There are cherry blossoms around the outer moat as well, where many locals enjoy activities like grilling lamb(Jingisukan) and having barbecues. Please note that open flames are strictly prohibited inside the moat.

About Goryokaku

This is a very historical place in Hokkaido.

Goryokaku was constructed as the relocation site for the Hakodate Magistrate’s Office, which was originally placed at the foot of Mount Hakodate when the port of Hakodate was opened. However, only two years after its completion in 1866 (Keio 2), the Edo Shogunate collapsed. After being used briefly by the Hakodate Prefecture, it was occupied by the former Shogunate forces led by Takeaki Enomoto during the Hakodate War and became their headquarters. In the Meiji period, all buildings within the fort were dismantled except for one provisions storehouse, and the site was used as a training ground for the army. Later, in 1914 (Taisho 3), Goryokaku was opened to the public as Goryokaku Park and has since become a place of relaxation for Hakodate citizens and a prominent tourist attraction representing Hakodate.

Parking Advice

During peak cherry blossom season, finding an open parking spot right near Goryokaku can be extremely difficult. The closest parking lot is at the Hakodate Art Museum next to Goryokaku. If you’re lucky enough to find a spot there, it’s ideal as the parking fee is very reasonable. While this is the best parking option, it’s possible it may already be full when you arrive.

If you find a long line of cars waiting for parking in the morning, it’s better to look for other parking lots. There are several parking lots within a 15-minute walk on the southwest side of Goryokaku, and parking there would be the best option.