After you spend a day or two exploring Hirosaki, you might feel like you haven’t experienced enough of the Tsugaru region’s hospitality. You decide to hop on a train and you are on your way to the sister-like city, Kuroishi. During the 50-minute train ride, you might look out of the window and think, “I wonder whether there’s anything interesting to see along this train line…”.
Hirakawa (平川市) is a city that is located in between Hirosaki and Kuroishi. In the city, there are quite a few interesting places, like rice paddy art that will make you want to hop off the train and explore! If you are a Ghibli Studio fan, the model of the house and garden in the movie – The Secret World of Arrietty is in Hirakawa city (*’▽’).
Whilst there are plenty of historic attractions in Kanazawa, the city itself is quite modern. If you are seeking a spot that is quieter and less touristy, Yuwaku Onsen (湯涌温泉) that is 60 minutes away by bus from Kanazawa’s city centre can be a great choice. The hot spring town that has a history as long as 1300 years is surrounded by rich nature and a different type of traditional atmosphere to the tea house districts in Kanazawa. It is also where the anime – Hanasaku Iroha (花咲くいろは) that was broadcasted in 2011 was modelled on!
Hida Furukawa (飛騨古川), a quaint, unassuming town, has become a lot more lively since Makoto Shinkai’s movie – Your Name (君の名は) hit the theatre. The town serves as the inspiration behind many iconic scenes from the film! It can be accessed just 2 stations away from Hida Takayama City, which is a popular tourist destination in its own right. Whether you are like us, big fans of the movie, or if you simply want to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of the Kami-Sannomachi of Takayama, but dislike the crowd, Hida Furukawa will surely give you a deep and pleasant impression!
Mt. Shirakami, or Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) is a vast mountain area of 130 hectares that spans from the north of Akita Prefecture to the south of Aomori Prefecture. Mt Shirakami has been listed as a world heritage site as of 1993. It is also a Pilgrimage site for Studio Ghibli fans as the forest in the movie “Princess Mononoke”, is inspired by Mt. Shirakami!
This 8,000 years old mountain area is the home of the world’s largest virgin beech forest. Because this area is almost untouched by human activities, you will find a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna here (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Those who know of Hirosaki Castle (弘前城) or Hirosaki Park (弘前公園) probably know them because of their reputation for stunning cherry blossoms. More than two hundred thousand people visit Hirosaki for its Cherry Blossom Festival (弘前さくらまつり) each year! No wonder why it was chosen as one of the top three cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan as well as one of the three most popular illuminated (at night) cherry blossom viewing spots in the country.
If you are a fan of the anime “Demon Slayer”, you may also want to see the tree that might have inspired Nezuko’s (Tanjiro’s sister) namesake.