24-hour Trip: In Persuit of Spring Sakura in Hirosaki

What first comes to mind when you think of “Spring”? Colorful insects, aromatic flowers, comfortable temperature? When you visit Hirosaki, Aomori in Spring, you will fully appreciate the meaning of the word “romantic”!

This time, due to budget and time restraints, I decided to go on a quick 24-hour trip! During my precious 24 hours in Hirosaki, I visited many places, including Hirosaki Castle, Botanical Gardens, Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden, Nihon Christ Kyodan Hirosaki Church, Tenman-gu, Saishō-in Temple, Le Castle Factory etc.

After arriving at Hirosaki (from Sendai) at noon, I immediately jumped on a bus to Hirosaki Park to embrace my first cherry blossom experience. And…





This is my new image of spring: romantic! I am not usually a huge pink fan, but my breath was taken away when I saw the rows of beautiful cherry trees. Especially when I stood aside and saw their reflection on the surface of the moat…I was completely captivated and couldn’t take my eyes away.

After a while, I went into the park and bought the admission ticket for three facilities, including Hirosaki Castle, Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden, and Hirosaki botanical garden.

I first took a walk around the castle. (Please not that currently (May 2017) the walls of the castle are being restored and some views are not available) The stairs in the castle, as usual, are so steep to climb! But I enjoyed the walk very much. Besides the castle, there is also a viewing platform where you can gaze at a distant view of Iwakisan (岩木山).

In the park, you can opt to take a ride on a the sightseeing boat. Or, if you’re looking for a slightly more active option, you can rent a row-boat to take yourself around. But the positions of the docks are different; the sightseeing boat boarding entrance is located on the Middle Moat (中濠), and the rental boat dock is located on the West Moat (西濠). You can find each place easily using this map.

After a quick sightseeing session in the park, I took myself off to Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden and had my afternoon lunch in the Taishou-roman-kissashitsu (大正浪漫喫茶室 Menu): two pieces of apple pie which were both pretty tasty! I preferred the triangle one because I love a slightly sour taste.

After lunch, I sat on the garden bench and took in the beautiful garden around me. In the garden, you can also see Iwaki-san from the position of the statue.

The best part feature of Fujita Garden is that you can see both traditional Japanese architecture combined with western style architecture. I love to sit aside the corridor which is between  a Japanese paper sliding door and western glass one because it’s cool and comfortable.

After the garden, I went to Tenmangu at around 3:00 p.m. to visit the ancient cherry tree. On the wooden placard, I learned that the tree is over 500 years old!! Unfortunately, I didn’t see the full blossom of it due to my early visit.

However, to see this old tree and Mt. Iwaki side by side in the picture was wonderful. It felt like I was standing in front of two giants who have been witness to the changes of over hundreds of years.

Luckily for me, the Hirosaki-jo Botanical Gardens had extended opening hours to 6:00 p.m. during the cherry blossom festival, so I made it my next destination! I believe it would be absolutely gorgeous in the middle of spring. At the time of my visit, there were only cherry trees in bloom, so I didn’t spend too much time there.

Accordingly, I went to the stalls area to enjoy festival foods (excuses I know LOL)

Then, yet another beautiful scene…here is the cherry blossom at night!

After taking in the beautiful night scenes above, I went to a 24-hour open cafe to spend a night with my studies! And, on the next day I departed early at 5:00 a.m. to see around the morning cherry blossom because there were few people around in the early morning.

And, near to the park, there is a church – the earliest built in the area.

I also took the time to visit Saishō-in Temple to see some more beautiful architecture with a foreground of soft cherry blossom (about a 20-minute walk from Hirosaki Park)

Using Public Transport (with Locations on Google Map):

Commute: from Miyagi Kotsu Sendai Highway Bus Center to Hirosaki Bus Terminal
Walk: from Hirosaki Bus Terminal to Hirosaki JR Station
Commute: 100-yen bus from Hirosaki JR Station to Hirosaki Park
Activity: take a walk in the park
Activity: lunch/afternoon tea at Taishouromankissashitsu
Activity: take a walk in Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden
Activity: visit the 500+ year old cherry tree in Tenmangu
Activity: take a walk in Hirosakijo Botanical Gardens in the park
Activity: dinner in the festival stalls area of Hirosaki park
Activity: see sunset/evening views of Cherry Blossom Lightening Show
Walk: from Hirosaki Park to Le Castle Factory
Activity: take out tasty apple pies in Le Castle Factory
Commute: route bus from Le Castle Factory to Hirosaki JR station
Activity: take a break in 24 hour open store
Activity: take a morning walk in Hirosaki Park
Activity: visit Saishō-in Temple and go window shopping (e.g. viva Narita Books)
Commute: 100-yen bus to Hirosaki JR station
Walk: form Hirosaki JR Station to Hirosaki Bus Terminal
Activity: go window shopping in Ito-Yokado Hirosaki shop to kill time
Commute: from Hirosaki Bus Terminal to Miyagi Kotsu Sendai Highway Bus Center

Information links

[1] Highway express bus
[2] 100-yen bus
[3] Taishouromankissashitsu
[4] Fujita Memorial Japanese Garden
[5] Hirosaki botanical garden
[6] Hirosaki Park
[7] Entrance fees
[8] Hirosaki Tourism and Convention Bureau
[9] Recommended route for taking walks

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