History and museums
Goryōkaku (五稜郭) is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. It was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo.
Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Hisaburō. His plan was based on the work of the French architect Vauban. 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.
Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War (Goryōkaku no Tatakai). The fighting lasted for a week (June 20–27, 1869).
Today, Goryōkaku is a park. It has been declared a Special Historical Site and is home to the Hakodate city museum. The grounds are a favorite spot for cherry-blossom viewing in spring.