JAPAN TRAVEL: Hirosaki Castle and Park in Aomori: Springtime’s Most Beautiful Cherry Blossom Destination
When almost all of Japan’s cherry blossoms have already withered, Aomori Prefecture’s spring is just about to start. In the lesser-known city of Hirosaki, we’ll take you to a town that lures more and more tourists every springtime. All roads lead to Aomori Prefecture’s Hirosaki Castle and Park, a flourishing attraction in the midst of spring.
Hirosaki Castle and Park in spring
What to See at the Hirosaki Castle and Park
Recognized as one of the top cherry blossom viewing sites in Japan, the sakura experience in Hirosaki Castle and Park traces its history back in 1715 when the famed Tsugaru clan ordered to plant cherry trees from Kyoto to the park. Now, the castle and park still stand at present, still with its timeless beauty that astounds every sightseer.
Sakura petals floating on the moat near Hirosaki Castle and Park
A visit to Hirosaki Castle and Park towards the end of April to early May is the perfect time to see Japan’s famous cherry blossoms when the much-awaited Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival is being held.
Spring weather in Aomori can be partly cold
Cherry trees lining up the entrance lead the way to the innermost part of the attraction. Approximately 2,600 fluffy sakura trees of different varieties occupy the grounds of the castle and park with various shades of pink color that create a brilliant backdrop for picnic goers in the afternoon. During the festival, tourists flock to the park to have a picnic, tour the place, and experience hanami, a Japanese tradition to enjoy the blooming of flowers.
Filipino TV personality Robi Domingo in Hirosaki City, Japan
The park gets crowded during the week-long festival
What’s Inside Hirosaki Castle
The symbolic structure found at the park is the Hirosaki Castle. Originally a five-story tower, the castle was rebuilt since it was struck by lightning in 1627. Regarded as an important cultural property, the castle underwent a reconstruction procedure to have it preserved. The structure that remained from the original one is now the three-story castle tower where a historical exhibit can be seen.
The Hirosaki Castle which houses the historical archive
Robi Domingo in Hirosaki Castle and Park
Inside the castle tower, you will find a series of illustrations that show the timeline of castle moving and construction. A souvenir shop is also located on the ground floor of the castle which sells stationeries and postcards. Going up the second floor, you may take a commemorative photo for free as you dress like a Japanese feudal lord.
Cherry blossom-themed stationeries are available here
Hirosaki Park, a great picnic spot
Picnic-goers lay mats on the ground and happily enjoy their meals during spring
Aside from the iconic Hirosaki Castle, the park possesses a charm on its own. With a captivating view of sakura trees dominating the grounds, Hirosaki Park is undoubtedly one of Aomori’s legendary spots, one that will entice you to spend a lovely afternoon alone or with companions.
Aomori is known as the largest apple producers of Japan. Buy apple products in the park!
Strolling along the park, you’ll find some souvenir shops, food stalls, and ice cream carts to make your visit more enjoyable. The best time to come to the park is in the afternoon, so you may see the trees in daylight and get the natural light you need for picture-taking. For a romantic ambiance, stay for a couple more hours to witness cherry trees glow brightly under the night sky as an illumination is held at night.
How to go to Hirosaki Castle and Park
From JR Hirosaki Station, ride the Dotemachi Loop Bus for ¥100. Get off at Shiyakusyo-mae Stop. From there, it takes a five-minute walk going to Hirosaki Park.
Address: 1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
Price: Entrance to the Park is FREE. If going towards the tower, the entrance fee is at ¥310 for adults and ¥100 for children. Other areas in the park also have their own corresponding fees.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hirosakipark.jp/
Operating Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This first appeared on Philippine Primer magazine’s December 2018 issue.
Written by Jastine Valeriano