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
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
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.
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
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.
is a square near the Outemon gate which is the south gate of Hirosaki
There are a tourist information center and some sightseeing spots in this square.
There are old Western-style buildings and churches in various parts of Hirosaki city. Most of them were planned and built by Japanese engineers.
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.
are 33 Zen temples along the street toward Choshoji temple for about
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.
It 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.
Seiganji 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.
There 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.
It 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.
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.
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.