Hirosaki - the Sacred and the Profane :
Stand in Hirosaki in Cherry Blossom
(Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan)

At the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, two million people visit. So the number of stalls to fill their stomachs was also considerable.

There were a wide variety of foods. Standard food comon all over the country such as Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), Yakisoba (stir-fried noodles), and Yakitori (grilled meat on a stick). Local food like Black Konnyaku (Paste made from the black elephant root), Kuroishi Yakisoba (Kuroishi style's stir fried noodles with soup), and Aomori's specialty Syoga Miso Oden (Japanese hotchpotch foods served in a pot with fermented soybean paste and ginger).

As for Ringo Ame (toffee apple), which is very common in Japan, Hirosaki may be the best place because Hirosaki has the largest shipment of apples in Japan.

Strolling around the stalls, I suddenly noticed that the height of the eaves and signboards of the stalls are the same, and their structure and materials are similar though there are so many stalls.

I wondered why stall designs in Hirosaki were controlled. In Japan, it's ordinary that stalles have various design without coordination.

So, after having filled my stomach, I asked the owners who were taking a break together.

What surprised me before I learned about the design method was that the owners in this festival were limited to Hirosaki citizens, unlike usual Japanese festivals in which many vendors moving all over the country ran. Moreover, stalls assigned by lottery were a few, and most of them were operated by the same people for decades, and their locations didn't change. The exception was only around the north gate, where large tents such as a haunted house or a motorcycle circus were insatalled by owners from outside of Hirosaki. Its scenery of stalls was the same as other regions.

By the way, as for a stall, Hirosaki City municipality set up all the stalls run by the citizens in a lump. Therefore, the structure and height were the same, the ground of the signboard was integrated into white, and the spring-like pink colors bordered with many singbboards. That was the background of a sense of unity. And, some of the signs was said to succeed the design of decades ago. Maybe it would be a nostalgic-sounding sign "Taiwanese banana"?

Even though the stall owners were the same, some of them must have closed down in case there was no successor. But, the owners told me that they had never heard of it.

I thought they could not give up the attractive concession. But a basic stall unit fee with a frontage of about 3.6 m and a depth of 2.7 m costs 100,000 Japanese yen for two weeks. In case that they installed an eating space behind a stall, they had to pay more. Moreover, they cover some of the electricity bills for the lanterns in the park. Combined with the electricity of the stall, the total electricity bill would be nearly 100,000 Japanese yen. If converted per month, a business of about 10 square meters would cost 400,000 Japanese yen. They also had to pay water bills, food material costs, and labor costs, so the expenses were higher than I had imagined.

Compared to the food stalls in Tokyo, the prices were higher, and the quantity was smaller. The reason was that Hirosaki citizens ran, and they had to recover their investment for two weeks a year though the payment for the municipality was high.

In any case, even a stall, which I thought common throughout the country, had regional characteristics. I learned a lot.

Most of the stalls served food, but I was surprised that I found a stone shop stall, aside from the stall of the local specialty traditional textiles, Koginzashi. Would people, who came to see the cherry blossoms, buy stones? One of the owners said he had heard about a visitor who bought a stone worth several hundred thousand Japanese yen last year. Is that also a regional characteristic?

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

From Tokyo to Hirosaki
by train
: 3 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Station” to “Shin-Aomori Station” by Shinkansen (high speed train), one service per one hour. Then, 30 minutes from “Shin-Aomori Station” to “Hirosakii Station” by local train connected with Shinkansen, one service per one hour.
by air : 1 hours 20 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Aomori Airport, about 6 services ecah day. 1 hour by bus from Aomori Airport to Hirosaki Station.

From “Hirosaki Station” to “Hirosaki Castle” and “Hirosaki Park”
20 minutes by bus from “Hirosaki Station” to “Shiyakusyo-mae Koen Iriguchi” or “Siyakusyo-mae”, frequent service in the daytime. The site is only a short walk from the bus stop.

Hirosaki City Office
Hirosaki Tourism And Convention Bureau
Hirosaki Inofrmation RIng-O Web

Aomori Sightseeng Guide

Acoommodations in Aomori


2018.01 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version

2022.08 Text in English version 

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Stand in Hirosaki Park

Photo by Daigo Ishii