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Hirosaki Castle and cherry blossoms
Location of Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture
|• - Mayor||Noriyuki Kasai (since April 2010)|
|• Total||524.20 km2 (202.39 sq mi)|
|Population (September 1, 2015)|
|• Density||337/km2 (870/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|- Tree||Apple tree|
|- Flower||Cherry Blossom|
|Address||1-1 Kamishirogane-machi, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori-ken 036-8551|
Hirosaki (弘前市 Hirosaki-shi?) is a city located in southwest Aomori Prefecture, Japan. As of September 2015, the city had an estimated population of 176,590 and a population density of 337 persons per km². The total area was 524.20 square kilometres (202.39 sq mi).
Hirosaki developed as a castle town for the 100,000 koku Hirosaki Domain ruled by the Tsugaru clan ruled during the Edo period. The city is currently a regional commercial center and the largest producer of apples in Japan. 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. The town is also noted for a large number of western-style buildings dating to the Meiji period.
- Tsugaru, Hirakawa
- Nakatsugaru District – Nishimeya
- Minamitsugaru District – Ōwani, Fujisaki, Inakadate
- Kitatsugaru District – Itayanagi, Tsuruta
- Nishitsugaru District – Ajigasawa
- Ōdate, Akita
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 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”.
|Climate data for Hirosaki, Aomori (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||120.7
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||248
|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 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.
Colleges and universities
- Hirosaki University
- Tohoku Women's College
- Hirosaki Gakuin University
- Hirosaki University of Health and Welfare
- Hirosaki High School
- Hirosaki Chūō High School
- Hirosaki Minami High School
- Hirosaki Vocational High School
- Hirosaki Technical High School
- Iwaki High School
- Tōōgijuku High School
- Hirosaki Gakuin Seiai Middle and High School
- Shibata Girls' High School
- Hirosaki Azuma High School
Hirosaki has 35 elementary schools, 15 city, one national and one private middle schools, one combined elementary/middle school and four special education schools.
- East Japan Railway Company - Ōu Main Line
- Kōnan Railway Company - Kōnan Line
- Kōnan Railway Company - Ōwani Line
Hirosaki is known for its tradition of Tsugaru-jamisen, a virtuosic style of shamisen playing. It is the site of shrine.
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 by the Ministry of the Environment 
Noted people from Hirosaki
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- Hisashi Tonomura, musician
- Iwakiyama Ryūta, sumo wrestler
- Yōjirō Ishizaka, writer
- Norio Kudo, professional go player
- Mitsuyo Maeda, judo wrestler
- Juji Nakada, evangelist
- Yoshitomo Nara, modern artist
- Takanohana Kenshi, sumo wrestler
- Shuji Terayama, modern artist
- Wakanohana Kanji I, sumo wrestler
- Wakanosato Shinobu, sumo wrestler
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hirosaki.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Hirosaki.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Hirosaki.|