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Hirosaki

HirosakiHirosaki city map Hirosaki is a central city in western Aomori Prefecture, and is located about 35 km southwest of Aomori city.
It has a population of 184 thousand (2008).

In the early 17th century, a castle was build here for reigning over the territory of current western Aomori Prefecture. So Hirosaki had been developed as the central castle town after that.
The lord was Tsugaru clan, so this region is called "Tsugaru".

For a long time, Hirosaki was the political, economic and cultural center in Tsugaru region. But in 1871, the prefectural government was moved to Aomori city.
Despite this, Hirosaki is still one of the most important city in Aomori Prefecture.

Hirosaki has a long history, so there are a castle and many other historic buildings in the city.
Additionally, as the city invited many missionaries for English teaching from the West in the late 19th century, then many western-style buildings and churches were built in the city.

Fortunately Hirosaki had no air raid during the World War II, then these historic building structures have been maintaind since that time.

Hirosaki is known for major cherry blossom-viewing spot in spring, and is famous as a top production center of apple in Japan.
Of course, Hirosaki Neputa Festival (every August 1st - 7th) also is famous, along with Aomori Nebuta Festival.

Hirosaki Tourism and Convention Bureau official website

Hirosaki Castle /1/

Hirosaki CastleIt is a castle located in the center of Hirosaki city, and the whole site is currently Hirosaki Park. It is located about 2 km west of JR Hirosaki station.
It was built in 1611 by Tamenobu Tsugaru and his son Nobuhira. The Tsugaru clan was based at this castle, and had governed this region until 1871 when the new Meiji government began to govern. Then it was opened up to the public as a park in 1895.
The site is about 500 meters from east to west, and 1 km from north to south in width. There are a main keep, three defensive towers, and five castle gates in this site.
Since 1903, about 2,600 cherry trees have been planted in this site, so the cherry blossoms are really beautiful.

Outemon Square /2/

Outemon SquareIt is a square near the Outemon gate which is the south gate of Hirosaki Castle.
There are a tourist information center and some sightseeing spots in this square.

  • Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center : It is the tourist information center. It has souvenir shops and a restaurant.
  • Festival Float Pavilion : The floats for Neputa Festival of Hirosaki and the other towns are displayed.
  • Former To'o Gijuku Missionary Residence : It is the former residence which was built in 1903 for the missionaries to teach at the first Aomori Prefecture's private high school, To'o Gijuku.
  • Former City Library : It is the buiding built in 1907 and used until 1931 as a library. It features two octagon Renaissance-style towers with red roof.
  • Miniture old buildings : It is the town of miniture buildings. There are several model buildings on a scale of one to ten which was built in Hirosaki city between the late 19th century and the early 20th century.

Old Western-style buildings

There are old Western-style buildings and churches in various parts of Hirosaki city. Most of them were planned and built by Japanese engineers.

  • Memorial Hall of Aomori Bank /11/ : It is located about 250 meters east of Outemon Square. It is the buiding for head office of current Aomori Bank, and was built in 1904. Since 1965 it has been opened to the public.
  • Hirosaki Church /12/ : It is a church located about 250 meters north of Memorial Hall of Aomori Bank. It was built in 1906, and is currently the church of United Church of Christ in Japan founded in 1941.
  • Hirosaki Catholic Church /13/ : It is a catholic church with a spire located about 200 meters northeast of Hirosaki Church. It was built in 1910 and is in the Romanesque style.
  • Hirosaki Episcopal Anglican Ascension Church /14/ : It is a church located 0.6 km southeast of Memorial Hall of Aomori Bank. It was built in 1924, and is in Gothic-style.
  • Fujita Memorial Garden /15/ : It is located 0.5 km west of Outemon Square. It was made by Fujita Ken'ichi, the first president of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in 1919. It has a beautiful Japanese-style garden and a Western-style building with a cafe.
  • Former Hirosaki High School Foreign Teacher's Residence /16/ : It is located 1.6 km southwest of Outemon Square and is in the campus of Hirosaki University. It was built in 1925 for foreign teachers of the high school, which became Hirosaki University in 1949.
  • Old Kaiko-sha building /17/ : It is located 0.4 km east of Former Hirosaki High School Foreign Teacher's Residence. It was built in 1907 for a welfare facility of army.

Choshoji temple /3/

Choshoji templeIt is a temple located 1.3 km southwest of Outemon Square.
Originally it was built in 1528 at Ajigasawa town located about 30 km northwest of Hirosaki, then was moved to here in 1610 when building Hirosaki Castle. It is the family temple of Tsugaru clan.
There are many cultural properties such as main building, the great Sanmon gate built in 1629, and a copper bell made in 1306.

Zen temple area /4/

Zen temple areaThere are 33 Zen temples along the street toward Choshoji temple for about 600 meters.
In the year following the completion of the Castle, the lord, Nobuhira Tsugaru, gathered main temples in Tsugaru region for unity of religious culture.
The group of temples is so large as not to be seen even in other parts of Japan.

Five-Storied Pagoda in Saishoin temple /5/

Five-storied Pagoda in Saishoin templeIt is a balanced five-storied pagoda on the grounds of Saishoin temple, and is located about 1 km south of Hirosaki Castle.
The 3rd lord, Nobuyoshi Tsugaru, was built in 1667 for the souls of all people who were killed in battle for unifying Tsugaru region.
It is 31.2 meters high, and is the northmost five-Storied Pagoda in Japan.

The Gate of Seiganji temple /6/

The Gate of Seiganji templeSeiganji is a temple located about 0.5 km west of Hirosaki Castle.
It was also moved to this place when the Castle was constructed.
Especially the Gate of this temple is very unique. The roof has a complicated shape. And it is colored and has the pictures and carvings of animals.

Nakacho - Historical House Preservation Area /7/

Nakacho - Historical Hose Preservation AreaThere is a town in which the samurais serving the lord lived during the Edo period.
In the town, we can find some houses, hedges or black gates of that time.
Iwata, Ito and Umeda residences are open to visitors as the important samurai houses.
And Ishiba house was a store of wealthy merchant, and has an arcade called "komise" for protection against heavy snow in front of the house. Now it is a liquor shop, but the storekeeper may guide you.

Tsugaru-han Neputa Village /8/

Tsugaru-han Neputa VillageIt is a theme park about Tsugaru, and is located just south of Nakacho area.
There are big Neputa floats, and we can listen to live Tsugaru-Shamisen, which is a traditional music with 3-stringed instrument in Tsugaru region and is virtuoso and quick music.
And you can try your hand at making traditional local crafts in the workshop.

Hirosaki Apple park /9/

Hirosaki Apple ParkIt is a theme park about apple in Hirosaki, and is located 2.5 km southwest of Hirosaki Castle.
This park has a farm with 1,200 trees and 65 varieties of apples, then we can experience to cultivate apples.
We can experience picking extra flowers or hand pollination in May, picking extra fruits or covering each fruit with a bag in June, and harvesting apples from August to November.
In this park, there are a museum about apple cultivation, marketing, nutrition and history of apple production.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to Hirosaki city

By domestic airline

  1. By airplane, from each airport to Aomori airport.
    (For example, it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes from Haneda (Tokyo) and 1 hour and 30 minutes from Itami (Osaka).)
  2. by route bus, from the airport to Hirosaki Station, it takes 55 minutes.

By railroad

  • By Tohoku-Shinkansen, from Tokyo to Hachinohe, it takes about 3 hours.
    Then by through limited express on JR Tohoku and Oou Line, it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • From Aomori, by limited express on JR Oou Line, it takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • From Akita, by limited express on JR Oou Line, it takes about 2 hours.

How to tour around Hirosaki

The sightseeing spots in Hirosaki are mostly around Hirosaki Castle.
So you can see some spots only on foot.
Of course, you can use a taxi or a rental bicycle.

But the route bus is economical.
From Hirosaki station through around the Castle, a route bus runs every 10 minutes, and it returns to Hirosaki station.
The fare is only 100 yen at one time! (Even the ticket for a day is 500 yen.)
Additonally the route bus named "Tamenobu" runs from Hirosaki station, through the Castle and Neputa Village, to Apple Park. It runs 6 times per day. (From Hirosaki station, it starts at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:30, 13:30 and 15:30.) This fare is also same.




Hirosaki Castle
Outemon of Hirosaki Castle
Former City Library
Former To'o Gijuku Missionary Residence
Memorial Hall of Aomori Bank Hirosaki Church
Fujita Memorial Garden Former Hirosaki High School Foreign Teacher's Residence
Old kaiko-sha building
Gate of Choshoji temple
Zen temple area
Five-Storied Pagoda in Saishoin temple Gate of Seiganji temple
Ishiba Residence Inside of Iwata Residence
Traditional farmhouse in Hirosaki Apple park 100 yen route bus in Hirosaki

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