Hirosaki, Aomori

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Hirosaki
弘前市
City
Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms
Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms
Flag of Hirosaki
Flag
Official seal of Hirosaki
Seal
Location of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture
Location of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki is located in Japan
Hirosaki
Hirosaki
 
Coordinates: 40°36′N 140°28′E / 40.600°N 140.467°E / 40.600; 140.467Coordinates: 40°36′N 140°28′E / 40.600°N 140.467°E / 40.600; 140.467
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Aomori Prefecture
Government
 • - Mayor Noriyuki Kasai (since April 2010)
Area
 • Total 524.12 km2 (202.36 sq mi)
Population (April 1, 2012)
 • Total 180,917
 • Density 345/km2 (890/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Apple tree
- Flower Cherry Blossom
Phone number 0172-35-1111
Address 1-1 Kamishirogane-machi, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori-ken 036-8551
Website www.city.hirosaki.aomori.jp/index.html

Hirosaki (弘前市 Hirosaki-shi?) is a city located in southwest Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

As of April 2012, the city has an estimated population of 180,917 and a population density of 345 persons per km². The total area is 524.12 km².

It is a castle town and was the Tsugaru clan ruled the 100,000 koku tozama han Hirosaki Domain from Hirosaki Castle during the Edo period. The city is currently a regional commercial center and the largest producer of apples in Japan.[citation needed] The city government has been promoting the catchphrase "Apple Colored Town Hirosaki", and "Castle and Cherry Blossom and Apple Town" to promote the city image.

Geography[edit]

Hirosaki is located in southwest Aomori Prefecture, in the Tsugaru plains in the southern Tsugaru Peninsula, south of Mount Iwaki and bordering on Akita Prefecture

Neighbouring municipalities[edit]

City emblem[edit]

Hirosaki uses the manji (swastika) as official emblem. This came from the flag emblem of Tsugaru clan, the lord of Hirosaki Domain in Edo era.

History[edit]

The area around Hirosaki formed part of the domains of the Northern Fujiwara in the Heian period; Minamoto Yoritomo awarded it to the Nambu clan in the early Kamakura period after the defeat of the Northern Fujiwara (1189). During the Sengoku period a local retainer of the Nambu, Ōura Tamenobu, declared his independence (1571) and seized local castles. He assisted Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Odawara in 1590, and was confirmed in his holdings with revenues of 45,000 koku. He also changed his name to Tsugaru. After siding with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara, his revenues increased to 47,000 koku and he began construction of a castle in Takaoka (present-day Hirosaki). His successor, Tsugaru Nobuhira, completed the castle in 1611, but its massive 5-storey donjon was lost to lightning in 1627. The domain’s revenues increased to 100,000 koku in 1628.

In 1808, Takaoka was renamed[by whom?] Hirosaki. The Tsugaru clan sided with the Satchō Alliance in the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration, and was rewarded by the new Meiji government with an additional 10,000 koku. However, with the abolition of the han system on August 29, 1871, Hirosaki Domain was abolished, and replaced by Hirosaki Prefecture. The Prefecture was renamed Aomori Prefecture in October of the same year, and the prefectural capital was relocated to the more centrally located Aomori.

Chōyō Elementary School was established on October 1, 1873. Apple horticulture was introduced to Hirosaki from 1877 and the 59th National Bank, the predecessor of Aomori Bank opened in March 1878. Hirosaki was proclaimed a city on April 1, 1889 and was thus one of the first 30 cities in Japan. The Ōu Main Line connected Hirosaki with Aomori on December 1, 1894.

Hirosaki became the home garrison town for the Imperial Japanese Army’s IJA 8th Division from October, 1898. The division was prominently active in the Russo-Japanese War.

Hirosaki City Hospital was established in 1901, and Hirosaki City Library in 1906. The first telephone service in the city stated from 1909. The first Cherry Blossom Festival was held in 1918. In 1927, the Kōnan Railway connected Hirosaki with Onoe. Hirosaki University was established in 1949.

On March 1, 1955, Hirosaki expanded through annexation of neighboring villages of Shimizu, Wattoku, Toyoda, Horikoshi, Chitose, Fujishiro, Niina, Funazawa, Takasugi, Susono and Higashimeya. Nishimeya became an enclave. The city further expanded on September 1, 1957 through annexation of neighboring Ishikawa Village.

The First Chrysanthemum and Maple Festival took place in 1964 and the First Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival in 1977. In 1979, the city was connected to the Tōhoku Expressway by a spur road named “Apple Road”.

On November 15, 2006, the town of Iwaki, and village of Sōma (both from Nakatsugaru District) were merged into Hirosaki.

Climate[edit]

Hirosaki has a hot humid continental climate characterized by short warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall.

Climate data for Hirosaki, Aomori (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.5
(34.7)
2.2
(36)
6.3
(43.3)
14.5
(58.1)
19.8
(67.6)
23.5
(74.3)
26.9
(80.4)
28.9
(84)
24.5
(76.1)
18.2
(64.8)
11.0
(51.8)
4.5
(40.1)
15.15
(59.27)
Average low °C (°F) −5
(23)
−4.8
(23.4)
−2.2
(28)
3.1
(37.6)
8.3
(46.9)
13.3
(55.9)
17.6
(63.7)
19.1
(66.4)
14.3
(57.7)
7.6
(45.7)
1.8
(35.2)
−2.4
(27.7)
5.89
(42.6)
Precipitation mm (inches) 120.7
(4.752)
94.5
(3.72)
77.4
(3.047)
59.4
(2.339)
71.8
(2.827)
69.6
(2.74)
113.1
(4.453)
132.1
(5.201)
127.2
(5.008)
90.5
(3.563)
110.0
(4.331)
116.8
(4.598)
1,183.1
(46.579)
Snowfall cm (inches) 248
(97.6)
208
(81.9)
131
(51.6)
11
(4.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
20
(7.9)
142
(55.9)
760
(299.2)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 57.0 78.5 126.1 183.3 201.4 175.0 160.8 181.8 146.2 141.4 89.1 58.0 1,598.6
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency
Hirosaki Castle
Hirosaki City Hall

Economy[edit]

Hirosaki is the regional commercial center for southwest Aomori Prefecture. The main agricultural crops include apples and rice, with Hirosaki accounting for 20% of the total production of apples in Japan.

Culture[edit]

Hirosaki is known for its tradition of Tsugaru-jamisen, a virtuosic style of shamisen playing.

Education[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Railways[edit]

Highways[edit]

Tourist attractions[edit]

Ōgi-Neputa, a fan-shaped float, at the Hirosaki Neputa Festival in 2008

Hirosaki is known for its Cherry Blossom Festival held in the park surrounding Hirosaki Castle. About 2,600 Sakura (Japanese cherry) blossom during the Japanese Golden Week vacation period. The Hirosaki Neputa Festival is held during the first week of August and is one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan. The town is also noted for a large number of western-style buildings dating to the Meiji period.

Noted people from Hirosaki[edit]

External links[edit]