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Hekketsu Monument

15 Reviews
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Hekketsu Monument

15 Reviews
Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Please choose a different date.
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1 Yachigashiramachi, Hakodate 040-0046 Hokkaido
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Takamatsu 1 day Private Tour
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Takamatsu 1 day Private Tour

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Andrew M wrote a review Sep 2017
7,136 contributions1,155 helpful votes
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The Hekketsu monument is in tribute to the 800 samurai who died fighting against government forces in the Boshin War, specifically the Battle of Hakodate, in 1869. The government forces had the intention of restoring the emperor to the throne (meiji restoration), and the shogonate (samurai) had ruled Japan for hundreds of years and had a policy of seclusion. Many battles were fought throughout Japan, with Hakodate being the samurai's last stand. The name Hekketsu is actually derived from a Chinese saying , that the blood of the warriors who die for their lord turns blue after 3 years. Toshizo Hijikata was the leader of the samurai, and there is a monument near to the train station at the location where he was shot and died. The bodies of the warriors that fought with him and died in battle were left in the streets of Hakodate. This was because government officials had prohibited their burial and any religious services for them. Kumakichi Yanagawa, who was an important civil leader, arranged for the bodies to be removed and buried at a nearby temple. The bodes were moved two years later to the current site of the Hekketsu monument. The centograph was actually built 5 years after the bodies were moved to this site, with stone that was shipped from Tokyo. Nearby, to the left just before reaching the monument, there is another monument to Kumakichi Yanagawa. The monument was erected here in 1913, on his 88th birthday (Beiju) - the long life celebration in Japan. There are a few buddhist statues at the side of the path on the way up. The easiest route to the monument, is via the Hachiman Shrine. The Hachiman Shrine may be reached by taking a taxi, or by walking from the last stop on the Tram # 2 line, Yachigashira. Turn right on exiting the tram, and walk up the slope leading to the red torii gates. A walk up four flights of steps (approx 80 steps) will lead you to the Hachiman Shrine. From the Hachiman Shrine, walk to the right past the Tsuruwakainari Shrine. The road to the Hachiman Shrine has a torii gate and concrete lanterns. Take the road sloping upwards. The Myoshin-ji Temple is the next landmark, a 5 minute walk away. There is a large standing buddha statue and a bell tower. After walking past the temple, turn right on the path where the road ends. There is a directional sign, with a red arrow pointing the way to the trail. A further 5 minute walk and the monument will be in view. If driving, a car can take you as far as the temple. If walking make sure that you carry water with you, as the walk from the tram stop is all uphill, and will take 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. It is very cool and quiet at the shrine. It is a good place to relax and catch your breath before continuing on. Other sites that may be visited nearby, include Hakodate park and the Gokoku Jinja Shrine, where the government forces who died in the battle are buried.
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Date of experience: August 2017
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