Visitor Information in Hirosaki

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Visitor Information

Hirosaki is compact and walkable, but finding your bearings in this ancient castle town can prove difficult, for the streets were designed to disorient invaders before they could get to the battlements. So, by all means, pick up a map at the Hirosaki City Tourist Information Center before setting out. It's on the right side of the train station as you exit. South of the castle grounds, the Hirosaki Sightseeing Information Center displays local crafts and regional art and provides tourist information.

Contact

Hirosaki City Tourist Information Center (1–1 Omotemachi, Hirosaki, 036-8096. 0172/32–0524. en.hkg.jp/infocenter.html. Jan.–Mar., daily 8–5; Apr.–Dec., daily 8:45–6.)

Hirosaki Sightseeing Information Center (1–1 Shimo-Shirogane-cho, Hirosaki Koen Mae, Hirosaki, 036-8356. 0172/26–3600. en.hkg.jp. Daily 8:45–6.)

Follow the Parade

In the first week of August, Hirosaki outdoes itself with the Neputa Festival. Each night, following various routes, internally illuminated fan-shape floats brightly painted with mythological scenes and characters (apparently borrowed from Chinese legends) parade through town. The festival is thought to have its origins in the preparation, 400 or more years ago, for some horrible battle, as a big send-off to the warriors. In any case, the blood-quickening thrum of the humongous drums will get you celebrating without the swordplay. But Goshogawara, Hirosaki's neighborhood town, also has a festival called

Tachinebuta that is growing ever more popular and is beginning to compete with the Nebuta Festival.

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