In 1857, four years after Commodore Matthew Perry forced the opening of Japanese ports, the Magistrate’s Office (Bugyosho) of Hakodate was the administrative center of the Ezo region and a diplomatic base representing the shogunate. It was located next to the port, at the foot of Mount Hakodate.
Anxious about the hard to defend position, the officials decided to move the building and to protect it with a fort. The new Goryōkaku fort was built far from the shore, and the Magistrate’s Office was moved right inside its walls. Covering an area of more than 250,000 square meters, Goryōkaku was Japan’s first and largest Western-style fort…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: