Aomori, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 11:37AM
Although a number of castles dot the landscape of Japan, only a few are originals remaining from before Japan’s modernization, and the castle in Aomori’s HIrosaki Park is one of them. Originally built in 1611 by a feudal warlord, it was burnt down by lightning and rebuilt in 1810, and it is that structure that remains to this day.\
This small, yet authentic castle is the backdrop to a stunning seasonal panorama throughout the year that hosts many festivals bringing out fun and friendly celebrations, that, while crowded and popular, are a little more laid-back than what you might find in Japan’s more popular regions. Revelers have been known to casually break out their shakuhachi or shamisen to provide musical accompaniment to the landscape of seemingly endless cherry blossoms or autumn leaves set against the snow-capped Mt. Iwaki that this park offers.
The park’s cherry blossoms are especially famous, and have many passionate defenders asserting them to be the best in all of Japan. Over 2500 trees can be enjoyed from a picnic blanket laid out on the ground or from rental rowing boats wading through the blossom covered river. The cherry blossom festival is officially held from April 23rd to May 5th every year, a couple of weeks after the sakura in Kanto and Kansai where in full bloom.
However, the park offers something to enjoy year round. The red bridge and silent dignity of the castle make for an otherworldly scene in snowy winter, when a Snow Lantern festival is held, and the brilliant colors of the leaves in autumn rivals those visible in spring.
And of course, this being Aomori, apple juice and sherbet that may be some of the best in the world are available for sampling year round!