2.Goryokaku Part2

A major tourist spot in Hakodate City


Entering Center of Ruins by going across Moats

Today, the ruins of Goryokaku have been designated as a National Special Historic Site and are one of the most popular tourist spots in Hakodate City. They are also famous for cherry blossoms. There are two entrances after crossing the bridges over the water moats, which are two of the three original entry ways. People usually enter the front entrance which has a good view.

The aerial photo around the castle

The front entrance
The Back Gate as the second entrance
The original third entrance doesn’t have its bridge now

You need to go across two bridges to reach the front gate. The first bridge goes to the only ravelin before the second one for the gate. Gorgeous stone walls incorporating the Hanedashi system surround the area because it was also the original front side.

The First Bridge
the ravelin
The stone walls of the ravelin which has the Hanedashi system
The Second Bridge
The front gate of the ruins

After going through the gate, you can see a “blindfold” wall called Mikakushi-rui, which made sure visitors could not see inside and the defenders could protect the castle from enemies attacks easily. There are three behind the original entrances.

Unique blindfold walls

The blindfold wall behind the front gate
The blindfold wall behind the back gate
The blindfold wall for the third gate ruins also remains

Restored Hakodate Magistrate’s Office

If you go around the wall, you will see the restored Hakodate Magistrate’s Office building in the center. Actually, one third of it was restored using the original methods in 2010 based on old photos, remaining documents, and excavation discoveries. The other two thirds are flatly exhibited on the ground.

The restored Hakodate Magistrate’s Office building
The rest of the original office is flatly exhibited

You can enter the building to see what it was like in the past. About half of its interior is a large hall which was used for official ceremonies and the magistrate’s working room. The rest is the officers’ rooms which exhibit the history of the office and Gryokaku. An interesting point is three empty jars buried under the entrance step, which were unearthed in the excavation. Their purpose is unknown, but some speculate they were used to make a resonant sound when people walked on the step.

The large hall
The magistrate’s working room
An officers’ room which is now used for exhibitions
The three excavated empty jars

Walking around Bastions

You can also climb up or down or walk around the five large-scale bastions basically made of soil. In fact, it is uncertain if they had cannons inside or on the bastions from the first stage of Goryokaku. This may be one of the reasons that one of the bastions has a slope the escaping force built and used to carry cannons to the top of it. There are also ruins of a powder magazine inside another bastion, which are thought to have been built by the force as well.

The edge of a bastion
The slope which was used to carry cannons to the top of the bastion
The ruins of a powder magazine

There is a warehouse, which is the only remaining original building of Goryokaku, next to the administrative office and the rest house, which are built like original warehouses. The remaining one is only open to the public during certain periods. Two barrels of a gun are exhibited beside these buildings. One of them belonged to the Choyo which was sunk by the escaping force in the Battle of Hakodate, but pulled from the sea later. The other one was used by the force in another position other than Goryokaku in the battle.

The remaining warehouse
The administrative office and the rest house looking like original buildings
The barrel of a gun which belonged to the Choyo
The barrel of a gun which was used in another position of the escaping forceThe barrel of a gun which was used in another position of

To be continued in “Goryokaku Part3”
Back to “Goryokaku Part1”

投稿者: Yuzo

城巡りが好きなYuzoです。日本には数万の城があったといわれています。その内の200名城を手始めにどんどん紹介していきます。 I'm Yuzo, I love visiting castles and ruins. It is said that there were tens of thousands castles in Japan. I will introduce you top 200 castles and ruins of them, and more!

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