Home of the famous Neputa Festival. A historical castle town with amazing architectural sights and finds.
The castle town Hirosaki is situated in the southwestern part of Aomori, sitting on the south of the Tsugaru Plain. Hirosaki is a castle town that has always played a major role in politics and economics in the region since Hirosaki Castle was built in the 17th century. Once you have exited Hirosaki Station and have left the busy area crowded with shops and hotels, you will come to tranquil streets with a little stream called the Tsuchibuchi-gawa River, where you are suddenly transferred into the past glory of the castle town.
The Hirosaki Castle Ruins with its castle tower are now open to the public as Hirosaki Park. The park is surrounded by a triple moat and earthworks and is famous in Japan for its spectacular cherry blossoms in spring. There are many historical spots around Hirosaki Park, including Nakamachi Buke-Yashiki (old samurai residences), Chosho-ji Temple (which was built in the early 16th century), and the heavy and steady-looking five-story pagoda of Saisho-in Temple, which boasts a height of 31 meters.
There are many seasonal attractions in Hirosaki throughout the year. Two spectacular festivals in Hirosaki are the Hirosaki Sakura-matsuri (cherry blossom festival) and the Hirosaki Neputa-matsuri Festival held in summer. Huge paper lanterns are made of bamboo or wood in the shapes of samurai warriors, birds, and animals. The highly decorative lanterns are lit up and are displayed on floats during a procession down the main street. Fan-shaped lanterns with Neputa paintings that are displayed along the streets are a very familiar sight in Hirosaki, which brings a festive atmosphere to this historical castle town all year round.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 4h from Tokyo via Shin-Aomori (JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line) to Hirosaki Station by JR Ou Line.