If you could recall Tom Cruise’s ‘The Last Samurai’ movie produced back in 2003, it is interesting to know that the movie was inspired based on the history of this very location.

When the American fleet came to Japan in 1853, under the Japan-Us Treaty of Peace and Amity, Hakodate Port in Hokkaido was opened and the Hakodate Magistrate Office was established as the shogunate’s diplomatic policy base and administrative for the Ezo region.

The office was initially built at the foot of Mt Hakodate before it was moved further inland to its current location due to disadvantageous reasons for defense. To guard the office, Goryokaku was constructed.


History has it Goryokaku was the site of the Battle of Hakodate, the last phase of the Boshin War during the Meiji Restoration. Battle between the old shogunate escape force and the new government forces ended with the surrender of the shogunate. In 1871, the magistrate office together with most of the other buildings in Goryokaku were dismantled by the new government. The area then was turned into a public park in the 1910s.


We were told that the current Magistrate Office that we see today is the result of a total reconstruction of the original building. In 1985, the city of Hakodate launched the restoration efforts. Archaeologists began to excavate the site and the building was build from the ground up using detailed information obtained from old photographs, documents and drawings. Reconstruction only began in 2006 and finally in 2010 the Magistrate Office came back to life.


Amazingly, the Japanese applied the same materials and traditional construction methods as those used for the original building.







The layout of the office




Should you visit Hakodate, this is definitely a must place to drop by.

For more information visit –


Hakodate Magistrate's Office

Address 44-3, Goryokaku-cho, Hakodate 040-0001
TEL 0138-51-2864
FAX 0138-51-2548

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