Hirosaki is what one may call a quaint city. There’s a bounty of charm at every turn. In such a quiet place, it may be hard to believe that there is a famous castle that draws millions of tourists every year. Hirosaki Castle Park is a sprawling area full of gardens and cherry blossom trees. Every spring, it transforms into a cherry blossom viewing paradise. Unfortunately, ongoing reconstruction of the castles supporting walls will continue on and off until sometime in 2016. Of course the park will still be open during cherry blossom season each year, but the castle will not be open until reconstruction of the wall is complete. Even when the castle isn’t available for viewing, Hirosaki has much to offer. during the spring and summer months there are various gardens which you can tour for a small fee. If you like cafes and apple themed pastries, Hirosaki is the place for you. While all of Aomori is known for having one of the countries best and plentiful apple crops, Hirosaki boasts several cafes and bakeries that churn out their own special apple pie and turnover-like creations. Walking around Hirosaki, there seem to be some strangely European buildings and even a large percentage of French restaurants. In fact, the history of coffee and many other European influences in Hirosaki date back to at least 150 years ago. Though that’s not long in Japan’s storied history, it’s still a fascinating look at this small yet influential city. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many museums, sites, and of course exciting local events happening year round. Hirosaki seems to emit charm no matter what season. If you want to see the park with less people around, go during the winter. Yes it’s cold, but you will be in awe at the serene landscape. When you feel the need to warm up, go get yourself an apple pie and maybe a famous Hirosaki coffee. You won’t regret it.