Castle town Hirosaki is situated in the southwestern part of Aomori, sitting on the south of the Tsugaru Plain.
Hirosaki 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 upon tranquil streets with a little stream called the Tsuchibuchi-gawa, where you will suddenly feel like you were transported to 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.
Old Town of Hirosaki
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.
Tsugaruhan Neputa-Mura is a theme park where you can experience the culture of the area. The first thing you will see upon entering the park is a festival hall. One of the most famous festivals in Japan is the Neputa festival, which is held at the beginning of August. There are exhibitions of floats that are used for the festival. It is a night festival, so the floats are lit up and very beautiful during the parade. They also do a taiko drum performance so visitors can truly feel the atmosphere of the festival.
There is also a concert hall for shamisen performances. The shamisen is a three-string Japanese guitar. The shamisen music of this area is called Tsugaru-jamisen and is very well known all over Japan. You can enjoy live music in the park.
You can also see several local art crafts and experience hands-on to make crafts such as small fish-shaped Neputa, painting on ceramic cups and bells, etc. Of course, there is also a great gift shop where you can buy local souvenirs.
They are open from 9 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee is 550 yen for adults, 350 yen for junior and senior high school students, 220 yen for elementary students, and 110 yen for kids between 3-6.
Mount Iwaki is the mountain that is symbolic of the Tsugaru region, which is why it is nicknamed Tsugaru Fuji. Important mountains in local areas in Japan are often named ‘something-Fuji’, because Mt. Fuji is the most beautiful and famous mountain in Japan. The local people also call this mountain Oiwaki-san, we put the “O” in front of a word to show respect. Its height is 1,625 meters.