Japan's first Western-style fort was built in 1864 in the shape of a five-pointed star (goryō-kaku means 'five-sided fort') designed to trap attackers in deadly crossfire. Nothing remains of the actual structure but the footprint – a park encircled by a star-shaped moat. To best appreciate this, visit the observatory atop the 98m Goryō-kaku Tower. Exhibitions in the observatory explain the history of the fort; you also get good views over Hakodate.

The park itself is a pretty green space, with 1600 cherry trees that bloom in April.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hokkaidō attractions

1. Goryō-kaku Tower

0.18 MILES

Take the elevator to the observatory atop this 98m-tall tower to see the star-shaped footprint of Goryō-kaku-kōen. There are also displays on the history…

2. Future Center Hakodate


This interesting multimedia center has displays mainly aimed at a young crowd, but it is worth stopping at for the events, videos, performances, and…

3. Hakodate Morning Market

2.42 MILES

With crabs grilling over hot coals, freshly caught squid packed tightly in ice-stuffed styrofoam and the sing-song call of vendors, Hakodate Morning…

4. Red-brick Warehouse District

2.96 MILES

These early-20th-century red-brick warehouses on the waterfront are the legacy of Hakodate's status as a historic, international trade port. They've been…

5. Hakodate Museum of Northern Peoples

3.09 MILES

Inside the old Japan Bank building (1926), this museum has interesting exhibitions (labelled in English) about Ainu culture and also some of the other…

6. Old British Consulate

3.21 MILES

From 1913 to 1934, this whitewashed mansion served as the British consulate. You can see the restored interior and have tea (¥540) on the ground floor.

7. Orthodox Church

3.28 MILES

Dating from 1916, this Russian Orthodox church is adorned with distinctive copper domes and spires. It's still in use by the 300 or so (mostly elderly)…

8. Foreigners' Cemetery

3.67 MILES

Along the bay, on the western fringe of town (where few visitors venture) is the small, grassy cemetery that contains the graves of sailors, clergy and…