Hirosaki City Guide: Things to Do, See and Eat traveling in Hirosaki, Japan

Hirosaki Travel Guide

Hirosaki Travel Guide
Photo by kenimai on Pixabay // CC0


Known by some as the Kyoto of the north, Hirosaki is a culturally important city in Northern Honshu.

With captivating festivals, a castle that is hundreds of years old, and spectacular temples, you will understand this analogy not long after your arrival here.

Come check out our Hirosaki travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Hirosaki, Japan.

Top Attractions

If you have flexibility in your schedule, we recommend timing your visit to Hirosaki so that you’ll arrive in the city around the end of April to the beginning of May. Do this, and you’ll get to experience the majesty of the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival.

Every spring, the blossoming of millions of cherry trees sweeps up the islands of Japan like a pink/fuchsia wave, disrupting the normally diligent work ethic of everyday Japanese as they rush to spend time beneath these gorgeous trees in their local parks.

The quality of these trees and the presence of Hirosaki Castle makes experiencing cherry blossom season in Hirosaki an especially unique experience. With over 2,600 trees representing 50 different species of cherry tree located in Hirosaki Park, the photos you’ll get here will pop with colour.

As you enjoy the cherry blossoms, get food from over 200 stalls, or rent a boat so you can get away from the crowds and experience the atmosphere of this special time of year from the water.

If you arrive outside of this fun but hectic time of year, this city’s best park is still worth visiting, as it is home to the aforementioned Hirosaki Castle. A three-storey keep built in the Japanese style, it was originally erected in the early 17th century but was completely rebuilt after a lightning strike burned it to the ground in the 19th century.

While there isn’t much left on the inside, you can still climb to the top floor, where stunning views can be had, especially during the cherry blossom season.

Get a taste of the Meiji Era, when Hirosaki and the rest of Japan were in the process of modernizing rapidly by stopping by the Aomori Bank Museum. One of a series of attractive banks that served as a branch for the newly formed national bank of Japan, its Renaissance styling will captivate you throughout your tour, but be sure to check out the decoration on the apex of its roof.

Commonly found on temples in India, it is a peculiar ornament that stands out on this structure. As for exhibits, it displays the first forms of the yen currency that was issued back in the 19th century, as well as period furnishings that were in style during its heyday.

Finally, fans of religious-orientated architecture will not want to miss checking out Saisho-in Temple. Home to the northernmost five-tiered pagoda in Japan, the beauty of this compound is completed by rabbit statues, a spectacular dragon fountain, and its cherry trees, making this a great place to enjoy blossom season if the crowding in Hirosaki Park is a bit much for you.

Come by on New Year’s Eve if you find yourself here during this time, as it is a time of great cultural importance for the locals. With throngs of food vendors, you won’t regret dropping by.

Other Attractions

Hardcore outdoor lovers will want to make a day trip out to Mt. Iwaki during their visit to the Hirosaki area. While those who are less athletic can take a ski lift to an elevated position on the mountain to enjoy the view, avid hikers will be able to head further up this awesome looking peak.

Be aware that this is a steep ascent, with areas that require experience with scrambling over boulders. If this doesn’t scare you off, take care through these sections and soon after, you’ll have a satisfying view from the top of this lofty peak.

Those who enjoy immaculately kept green spaces should spend time exploring the wonders of the Fujita Memorial Garden. Built in 1919, it is an excellent example of a traditional Japanese Garden. Those who also want to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony are in luck, as an on-site teahouse performs these on a regular basis.

Hirosaki is in the midst of Japan’s apple growing heartland. As such, those wishing to get a hold of some of this country’s finest fruit by spending a few hours picking them at Hirosaki Apple Park. After you have picked your load, you can either take them home or have them made in juice.

That isn’t all, though – the on-site restaurant offers everything from apple curry to apple pie, so sit down and try some of the best ways this fruit can be prepared.

Get a wider sense for the agricultural and seafood bounty this area has to offer by spending some time at the Hirosaki Food Market. Here, local producers hawk fresh fruit, vegetables, and the catch of the day.

You don’t have to buy if you don’t want to – rather, you can watch as locals cobble together groceries from the freshest ingredients their area has to offer.

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