This is a 2-day tour in Hirosaki, Aomori, which will reveal to you all the great enchantments of the rural Tsugaru area!
- View rice paddy art, an unusual site in Japan.
- Take a sword in hand at the Japanese sword workshop.
- View Hirosaki Park, famous for cherry blossoms, and the historic Hirosaki Castle.
- Stay overnight at a traditional Japanese inn popular with foreigners.
- Savor a lunch prepared with local ingredients at a farmhouse restaurant.
When you think of Aomori prefecture, apples come to mind! Hirosaki Apple Park has approximately 65 types of apples and 1,300 apple trees. In the fall, you can try apple picking. Cider Factory Kimori, located in the park, lets you try refreshing cider that tastes as if it was pressed straight from an apple (separate fee required).
Hirosaki Castle has a history of over 400 years. Today, it is in the midst of being moved, so you can see the castle without its stone-wall base, something seen only once in 100 years.
In addition, in Inakadate you can tour rice paddy art that uses the land as a canvas and has become famous worldwide.
There is also a tour of the workshop run by the sword smith, Mitsugu Nakahata who has crafted Japanese swords for many years. While listening to explanations from the sword smith, you can take a sword in hand for a close look.
A lunch featuring local foods will be prepared. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at a farmhouse restaurant that doesn't have a menu--it serves whatever has been freshly picked that day.
After strolling around Hirosaki Park, sit down with a cup of coffee at a Starbucks housed in a cultural property (coffee is a separate fee).
The final leg of the tour takes you to a market very popular with the locals that sells foods unique to the area and miscellaneous goods at reasonable prices. Have fun communicating with the women of the market!
At night, stay at Ishiba Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn that is also popluar with foreigners, and enjoy warm hospitality and a traditional Japanese building designated a registered tangible cultural property. This 2-day tour lets you experience an abundance of the enchantment of both Aomori's past and present!
9:00 Gather at Joto Exit, Hirosaki Station; meet up with the guide and travel to Inakadate in a vehicle (van or regular taxi)
9:20 Arrive at No.2 rice paddy art site (there is a wait time when crowded)
10:00 Arrive at No.1 rice paddy art site (there is a wait time when crowded)
10:30 Tour Katana no Iori (Japanese sword workshop) and actually handle a Japanese sword
12:00 Lunch of local dishes at a farmhouse restaurant; Japanese meals are prepared from vegetables freshly picked that day from the restaurant's backyard garden
13:30 Arrive at Hirosaki Apple Park; tour Cider Factory Kimori in the park
14:45 Tour Hirosaki Castle in Hirosaki Park
15:30 Have a cup of coffee at a Starbucks housed in a cultural property
*Participants are responsible for paying for their coffee
16:15 Tour Niji no Mart (popular local market) and shop
17:00 Arrive at main entrance to Hirosaki Station; walk over to Ishiba Ryokan
17:15 Check-in to Ishiba Ryokan; enjoy the inn experience at your leisure until checkout
To see a sakura forecast and more cherry blossom tours in Japan, please check here: www.govoyagin.com/pages/japan_cherry_blossom
JR Joto Exit, Hirosaki Station bus depot