Obviously, you only want to go to the tower if the weather is clear. Otherwise, don't bother. The main point is to overlook the adjacent fort...or what was a fort. Now it is a nice park with a few recreated buildings. The tower is, of course, very touristy, but it is well organized and the staff is very polite and professional. There was a banner outside announcing the tower's 50th anniversary, but it looks brand new inside and out. There is a large shop in the lobby that had every type of souvenir you can imagine and the prices are reasonable. You don't need to buy admission to get into the lobby and shop.
After buying a ticket to the observation deck, you board an elevator that transforms, sort of, into a time machine with a spiel in Japanese about the people involved in the fort (I think). The observation deck is large, so it wasn't at all crowded. I do think we were lucky that there weren't a lot of school groups there. The windows angle outward so you can hang over the railing and look straight down if you are so inclined. We didn't have to wait more than a few minutes for an elevator going up or down.
There was a line two blocks long of taxis waiting to take you back to town. This seemed to be the case all over Hakodate. No matter where we went, there were several taxis waiting. We took the city tram from our hotel to the Goryokukoenmae stop and from there it is about a 20-minute walk to the tower along a shopping street.
Don't bother with this attraction unless you have nothing else left to do. There isn't anything wrong with it, but you can see the view from the ropeway at the other end of town, which is what most visitors seemed to do.
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