Hirosaki CastleHirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture

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Hirosaki Castle DATA
TenshuExisting castle tower
Other nameTakaoka Castle, Takaoka Castle
castle construction1611
address1 Shimoshiroganecho, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture
telephone number0172-33-8739
Opening hours9am to 5pm
closing dayNovember 24th - March 31st
Admission feeAdults 320 yen, children 100 yen

Hirosaki Castle is the only existing castle tower in Tohoku. Designated as a national important cultural property.

Access to Hirosaki Castle
Approximately 15 minutes by bus from Hirosaki Station on the JR Ou Main Line.

HISTORYHirosaki Castle has the only existing castle tower in Tohoku

Hirosaki Castle, also known as Takaoka Castle or Takaoka Castle, is a castle located in Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. During the Edo period, it functioned as the domain office of the Hirosaki domain, and today the only castle tower built in the Edo period remains in Tohoku. Let's unravel the history of Hirosaki Castle.

Birth of Hirosaki Castle
Hirosaki Castle was built by Tamenobu Oura, a subordinate of the local powerful feudal lord Nanbu clan. During the conquest of Odawara, the Oura clan received a red seal from Hideyoshi Toyotomi ahead of the Nanbu clan, which was the main force, and became the ruler of the Tsugaru region. At that time, the surname Oura was changed to Tsugaru, and Tamenobu Oura became Tamenobu Tsugaru.
In 1594, Tsugaru Tamenobu built Horikoshi Castle in Horikoshi, Hirosaki City, but decided to build a new castle at its current location as it was deemed unsuitable for military purposes.
Later, when the Battle of Sekigahara occurred in 1600, Tsugaru Tamenobu joined the eastern army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu. In recognition of his achievements, he was given an additional 2,000 koku, and the Hirosaki clan was established with 47,000 koku.
In 1604, Tsugaru Tamenobu began construction of Hirosaki Castle, but he died in Kyoto the following year, and construction was halted. Nobuhira Tsugaru, who succeeded Tamenobu, resumed construction of the castle and completed it in a short period of one year and one month in 1611. The name of the castle at this time was Takaoka Castle. From then on, Hirosaki Castle functioned as the domain office of the Tsugaru domain until the end of the Edo period.
Burning of the castle tower and reconstruction
Hirosaki Castle (Takaoka Castle) was built with astonishing speed for its time, but in 1627, the castle tower, Honmaru Palace, and turret were destroyed by lightning. The reason why the fire was so large for a lightning-caused fire is said to be because there was gunpowder stored inside the castle tower, which ignited. After that, Hirosaki Castle remained without a castle tower for 200 years. After this lightning strike and fire, in 1628, Tsugaru Nobuichi followed the advice of his devotee, the priest Tenkai, and changed the name of ``Takaoka'' to ``Hirosaki,'' and the castle's name became Hirosaki Castle.
In 1810, when the 9th lord of the domain, Yasuchika Tsugaru, finally received approval from the shogunate to rebuild the castle tower under the pretext of ``building a new three-story turret.'' What was rebuilt at this time was the three-layer, three-story Gosankai Yagura, which is still known today as ``the lowest extant castle tower in Japan.''
Hirosaki Castle after the Meiji era
In the Meiji era, the Castle Abolition Order was issued and castles across the country began to be demolished all at once. Hirosaki Castle was no exception, and in 1873, the Honmaru Palace and martial arts hall were demolished. Afterwards, the former feudal lord, the Tsugaru clan, decided to open up the castle ruins as a public park, so he applied to the army to lease the castle grounds and was granted permission. Therefore, the buildings of Hirosaki Castle were spared further demolition.
In 1895, Hirosaki Castle was opened to the public as Hirosaki Park, and many cherry blossoms were planted there, making it a famous cherry blossom viewing spot.
In 1937, the existing buildings of Hirosaki Castle, except for the Sannomaru East Gate, were designated as national treasures (currently important cultural properties).
Later, in 1950, it became an important cultural property, and remains so to this day.
Since Hirosaki Castle was later designated as a national historic site, its official name was changed to "Tsugaru Castle Ruins."
Current Hirosaki Castle
In the current Hirosaki Castle, the Gosankai Yagura (castle tower), Tatsumi Yagura, Ushitora Yagura, Mishin Yagura, Sannomaru Otemon, Sannomaru East Gate, Ninomaru South Gate, Ninomaru East Gate, and the northern Kakuhoku Gate (Kikkomon) remain as they were when the castle was built. It still exists and is designated as an important cultural property. In addition, Hirosaki Park is home to approximately 2,600 cherry blossom trees and is famous nationwide as a ``cherry blossom viewing spot.'' As the cherry blossoms are in full bloom during Golden Week, people come from all over the country to enjoy the last of the cherry blossoms.
In addition, seasonal festivals and events such as chrysanthemum festivals in autumn and snow lanterns in winter are held, and the area is crowded with locals and tourists each time.

History of the Hirosaki clan, whose domain office is Hirosaki Castle

Hirosaki domainTsugaru family continues to rule
The Hirosaki domain was located in the western part of present-day Aomori prefecture. The Kuroishi clan was a branch domain, and the Tsugaru domain continued to rule this domain throughout the Edo period. Here, we will introduce the history of the Hirosaki clan in detail. Birth of the Hirosaki Clan The Hirosaki Clan was founded by Tamenobu Oura (
Hirosaki domain
Hirosaki Domain DATA
Domain officeHirosaki Castle
old areaTsugaru District, Mutsu Province
stone height100,000 koku
main lordTsugaru family
Estimated population280,000 people (first year of the Meiji era)

Tsugaru Tamenobu, a vassal of the Nambu clan, became independent by cutting off part of the Nambu clan's territory.

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