Date: 23rd May 2019
If there is one garden in Hirosaki you should visit, head on to the Fujita Memorial Garden (藤田記念庭園). It was initially the garden of the villa resided by Fujita Kenichi, which was constructed back in 1919 during the Taisho Era by Japanese garden architects from Tokyo. Fujita Kenichi is a famed Hirosaki native and was a member of the Kizoku-in (House of Peers – the upper house of the Imperial Diet) aside from becoming the first president of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. After his passing, the garden was under the ownership of Michinoku Bank before the government of Hirosaki City restored the garden and opened it to the public in the summer of 1991.
There are two entrances to the gardens, I entered via the East Gate after my visit to Hirosaki Castle. I was slightly disappointed by the castle’s botanical garden and so I had hopes that this garden would allow me to leave Hirosaki on a happier note since The Fujita Memorial Garden was the last stop for the day. Just to be clear, I did enjoy my earlier stops: the Neputa Mura, the Nakamachi Bukeyashiki and Hirosaki Castle – all of which I hope to write about later.
Upon entering the East Gate, you will see a western-style building (Yokan) on the left and a Japanese-style building on the right. I went straight to the Japanese-style building, wanting to return to the western-style building later, but embarrassingly forgot about it at the end of my exploration. You will understand why though – this garden was so confusing! There seems to be a cafe here, not something I can testify though.
Back to the Japanese-style building (Wakan) – this building has two rooms in which the main room faces the upper garden making this a good place to take a break since Japanese-style houses are so cooling. I really liked the decorations around this building – simple yet aesthetically pleasing.
From the upper garden, Mount Iwaki can be seen clearly and provides a great backdrop when viewed from multiple angles in the garden. I was lucky the mountain can be seen so clearly and it was even snowcapped.
Towards the lower garden is a red arched bridge and a waterfall, while the lower garden ponds are surrounded by various flowers which blooms throughout the seasons.
- Cherry blossoms from late April to early May
- Azaleas from mid May to late May
- Irises from late June to early July
- Fall foliage around November
There is also a tearoom here, the Shofu Pavilion available for rental.
Opening days: Mid April to November 23rd
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Admission fee: 310 yen or 510 yen for a combined ticket to Hirosaki Castle and the botanical garden
From JR Hirosaki Station:
- Take the Dote-Machi 100 yen bus (only operates from 10.00 a.m. onwards) to Shiyakusho-mae which is just 2 minutes away from the garden
- 10-15 mins taxi ride
- Walk for 2.4km (30 mins)
Most of Hirosaki’s main attraction are located within the same vicinity, so my advise is if you do not walk to walk so much, take a bus or taxi to your first destination then walk to get around. Alternatively, cycling is another popular option to get around the city.
How to get to Hirosaki Station:
- From Aomori Station, take JR Ou Line (45 mins, 670 yen)
- From Akita Station, take JR Ou Line (2 hrs 40 mins, 2,590 yen)