Ancient castles mingle with cherry blossoms in Hirosaki, the culture capital of Aomori. Set against the backdrop of Mount Iwaki, Hirosaki boasts well-preserved samurai homes and fascinating relics of the Tsugaru Clan.
Things to do in Hirosaki
History enthusiasts will delight in exploring the remains of Hirosaki Castle. Originally built by the Tsugaru Clan in 1611, the castle was struck by lightning just 16 years later. See its three-storey tower, fortified mote and small museum housing samurai weapons.
Want to experience Japan’s glorious cherry blossoms? Stroll through Hirosaki Park between April and May to witness a beautiful canopy of over 5,000 cherry trees. In winter you can experience a magical wonderland at Snow Lantern Festival when the park is illuminated with over 200 handmade lanterns and 300 miniature igloos.
Glimpse into the lives of the samurais with a walk through Nagamachi, the old samurai district. Several homes built during the Edo Period are open to the public, including the Umeda, Iwata and Ito residences. Don’t miss the Maeda Toscano Kami-he Shiryokan, an intimate museum displaying samurai armour, weapons and other relics of the Maeda Clan.
Experience the tranquillity of Chōshō-Ji temple, built in 1629 by the Tsugaru Clan. The Buddhist temple is surrounded by an ornate garden filled with 33 zen temples and over 500 Buddha statues. The highlight, however, is the 16-metre-high Sanmon Gate, which offers a striking vision against the snow-capped Mount Iwaki.
Getting around Hirosaki
Aomori Airport is a 45-minute drive or two-hour train ride from Hirosaki. Express trains travel between Hirosaki, Tokyo and Aomori. Once in Hirosaki, the best way to get around is by local bus or the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus that departs every 10 minutes from Hirosaki Station.