Lanterns on a Neputa float

Hirosaki (弘前; ) is a city in Aomori prefecture, in the northern Tohoku region of the main Japanese island Honshu.


Hirosaki was the capital of the Tsugaru clan that once ruled over much of Tohoku's northern parts. Occasionally called "the Kyoto of the North", this hyperbole is backed up mostly by an abundance of temples, a castle's remains, and a famous version of the Nebuta Festival, called the Neputa Festival in Hirosaki.

Get in

By air

The closest airport is in Aomori.

By train

Hirosaki is on the JR Ōu Main Line (奥羽本線) connecting Aomori, Akita and Fukushima.

From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate or Hayabusa train to Shin-Aomori, then change to the Tsugaru Limited Express train. The trip takes 4 hours 15 minutes at a cost of ¥16,700. There is also a daily "Resort" train along this route which continues to Akita. For foreign tourists heading from Tokyo, the better deal is to purchase a JR East Rail Pass or the national Japan Rail Pass.

Local trains from Aomori depart once per hour and take about 45 minutes (¥650). There are also additional Rapid trains at the same price during rush hour.

Hirosaki is also one of the final stops on the Akebono overnight train that runs from Tokyo's Ueno Station.

Get around

Hirosaki is fairly spread out and you will need to figure out the bus system to get around affordably. Most lines radiate from JR Hirosaki station.


Tenshukaku, Hirosaki Castle


Five-story pagoda, Saishōin



The local cherry blossom festival is also a sight to see. With over 5,000 cherry trees in the park around the castle. The locals and tourists find it an enjoyable festival of laughing, singing, dancing and drinking.

The snow lantern festival is held during early February every year. During the festival, Hirosaki Castle Park is filled with snow lanterns and sculptures which are illuminated during the evenings.


Hirosaki is Japan's leading producer of apples, introduced to the city in 1875 by John Inge, an American teacher working at a local school.


If you happen to be near the expansive apple orchards, the local apple juice is also a delectable, tantalizing taste for the tongue.


Castle area

Train Station area


Drop into the Hirosaki Tourist Information Center at Otemon Square for useful maps and information.

Go next

Routes through Hirosaki

Aomori  N  S  Odate Akita
Aomori  N  S  Matsuo-Hachimantai Sendai

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, September 17, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.