Located in Hirosaki (Oyo) Park, Hirosaki Castle is the northernmost remaining castle tower in Japan and is designated an Important Cultural Property. Along with the castle tower, the castle gates, bridges and moats are well preserved allowing visitors to travel back in time to the Edo Period. As one of Japan’s few remaining major castles it is a popular destination for people wanting to enjoy its historic beauty.
Particular highlights include the castle tower, five castle gates and three watchtowers. The vermillion Gejo Bridge is the ideal location for photos of the majestic castle. The black and white castle tower stands in stunning contrast with the bright vermillion bridge. Be sure to look out for the Shachihoko (a tiger-headed carp from Japanese folklore) on the roof of the three-storey castle keep. A rickshaw ride is the smart way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the vast grounds of this castle park.
The park is home to 50 varieties of cherry blossoms, over 2,600 trees in all. Their origin dates back to 1715 when the Tsugaru clan ordered 25 cherry blossom trees from Kyoto and planted them in the grounds of Hirosaki Castle. Don’t miss the breath-taking views known as ““Hanaikada” of the “Sakura Carpet” of cherry blossom petals floating on or covering the water surface of the outer moat!
Two million domestic and international visitors come to one of Japan’s most famous cherry blossom viewing festivals, the “Hirosaki Sakura Festival “ taking place in Hirosaki Park from late April to early May. Along with the Sakura Festival each spring, other festivals taking place here include the Autumn Leaves Festival and Chrysanthemum Festival in autumn and the Snow Lantern Festival in winter. Hirosaki Park is the perfect place to enjoy a variety of seasonal beauty. From brilliant chrysanthemum figures and vibrant autumnal colours to the graceful views of the castle blanketed in snow and magical scenes of illuminated snow huts in winter, the park is waiting for you!
A number of other popular attractions are nearby including Tsugaru-han Neputa Village, a local culture museum with a market area of traditional arts and crafts, Fujita Memorial Garden, a Western style residence in beautiful contrast to its Japanese garden, and when you are ready for a break there is even a popular local branch of Starbucks located in an officially recognised Tangible Cultural Property. Be sure to combine your visit to Hirosaki Castle with a trip to these attractions!