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Historic Hirosaki

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Hirosaki in Spring

From moving castles to festivals, crafts and food

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Hirosaki Castle is undergoing a historic renovation.

Hirosaki is a historical town around 40-minutes by train from Aomori City, the capital of Aomori Prefecture. It developed as a castle town for Hirosaki Domain ruled by the Tsugaru clan during the Edo era. Here is a slice of history, craft, culture and agriculture from this historical town.


Hirosaki Castle is one of a Japan’s Top 100 Castles, and the only one in the Tohoku region to have not been rebuilt in the modern era. Located in the picturesque Hirosaki Park, the 14.4m-high, three-story structure is currently undergoing a major renovation project that involves shifting the 400 ton castle ? in its entirety ? by about 70m, in order to strengthen the castle foundation before rebuilding the surrounding stone walls. The castle will be moved back to its original position after by around late 2021, after which the stone wall will be constructed. The whole process which started in 2013 will take about a decade to complete.


Koginzashi is a cotton threading technique native to Aomori.

This is a cotton threading technique native to Aomori, and it is said that over 600 varieties of these geometric patterns have been handed down since the Edo era. Artisans originally weaved white threads into the blue farming outfits known as kogin, but now apply this method to bags, wallets, and pincushions of every color.


Castle town Hirosaki is also famous for its Neputa Festival which is a street parade that takes place over a few summer nights. The Neputa refers to huge fan-shaped paper lanterns made of bamboo or wood depicting famous samurai warriors, scenes from folk tales or birds and animals.

These neputa were displayed at the Hirosaki station during the Neputa festival.

This is similar to the Nebuta Festival that takes place in Aomori prefecture, except the Neputa festival lanterns are generally on a smaller scale and centers around a cylindrical lantern.


Hirosaki lays claim to being the largest producer of apples in Japan, and is sometimes also referred to as the “Apple Town”. Apples from Aomori Prefecture are famous in Japan for being big, juicy and sweet.

An Aomori apple a day has been keeping the doctor away from her!


4h from Tokyo via Shin-Aomori Staition (JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line) to Hirosaki Station by JR Ou Line.

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