When the Japanese think about Aomori, the apple is probably one of the first things that will pop up in their mind. Hirosaki, home to most apple productions in the country, naturally has several orchards that are great for sightseeing.
The Hirosaki Apple Park (弘前市りんご公園), which is around 40 minutes by bus from JR Hirosaki Station (弘前駅), however, offers more than what normal orchards open to its visitors for. The park is a fantastic place to learn how apple farmers grow their apples!
Throughout the year, there is a range of activities, such as artificial pollination and getting rid of unwanted flowers and fruit, that the park’s visitors can participate in (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ. Having said that, you can still just stroll around the huge park freely!
In the park, amongst the 2,300 apple trees, there are around 80 different types of apples, growing apples for us to eat!
Farm equipment for apple farming from the Edo period (1603 – 1868) is also exhibited in the park. It is a reminder to us visitors how hard it was to plant apples in the good old days (´▽｀*).
Just from the image on the right, you can see that the park really has transformed into a spot where everyone can enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and hang out!
Services Provided by The Park
There are several services that the park offers to its visitors. It is likely that some services won’t appeal to those who don’t understand Japanese! However, if you are interested and want to utilize some of the below services, please talk to the staff at Ringo no Ie (りんごの家) – refer to the map HERE.
All services are free except for the bike rental.
- Park Guide Tour (園地散策ガイド): participating in the free park guiding that takes around 30 minutes. The tour will bring you to all the interesting corners of the park. Please check with the staff at Ringo no Ie to see if an English guide tour is available.
- So if you understand Japanese, remember to make a booking with the park beforehand!
- The tour is available from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
- Ancient Stories Told in Tsugaru Dialect (津軽昔語り): This session probably will only appeal to those who understand Japanese. However, as most non-locals won’t understand the Tsugaru dialect, it can still be fun to watch!
- There are two sessions that take place on the weekends and public holidays from April to November. The first session is from 11:30 am to 12 pm. If you can’t make it, there is another session from 1 pm to 1:30 pm that you can join.
- Rental Bike Service: from early May after the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom festival to the end of November, you can rent a bike from a few places in Hirosaki city for 500 yen (they don’t charge you by the hour).
- The service is from 9 am daily. You need to return your bike by 5 pm to one of the designated stations.
- For more information, please refer to Hirosaki Tourism And Convention Bureau’s website HERE.
- Umbrella Rental Service: in case it starts raining, and you have come unprepared, you can borrow an umbrella to make sure you stay dry as much as possible!
- Free Wi-Fi: search for the network – HIROSAKI_Free_Wi-Fi on your phone.
Light Meals and Café Corner at Ringo no Ie
At Ringo no Ie, there is a dining corner where you can enjoy light meals, drinks, and desserts – all containing apple ingredients!
Whilst desserts such as apple pie can be found almost anywhere in the world, have you heard of or tried apple ramen? It was a real struggle for us to turn down this rare dish because it is not vegetarian…
Checking out the below menu will definitely make you hungry. So before you click on the links, maybe eat some snacks first (´▽｀*). You can refer to their menu HERE beforehand. Please scroll down to the menu section (メニュー). The PDF menu links have photos under each menu item.
Important: Please note that all desserts contain eggs. As for soup noodle items, the broth likely contains fish extract. You can refer to our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases For Vegetarian article if you have trouble communicating with the staff (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Souvenir Corner at Ringo no Ie
Inside the souvenir shop, you will find around 1,200 different apple-related products (including edible ones)!
If you have space in your luggage, how about bringing back a bottle of apple juice or apple cider home? They are famous enough that even people around the country have been placing online orders (^_-)-☆.
Activities at Hirosaki Apple Park
At Hirosaki Apple Park, not only is apple picking available, but there is a wide range of activities that you can participate in throughout the year! Below is a guide that you can refer to for your trip planning:
- Apple picking: between early August and late November from 9 am to 4 pm. Visitors are guided to the apple-picking areas every 30 minutes.
- You CAN NOT consume the apples you picked until it is paid for.
- The price for the apples that you picked is 360 yen per kg. 1 kg is around 3 apples.
- To participate, please head to Ringo no Ie (りんごの家) – refer to the map HERE.
- Apple flowers picking (りんごの摘花体験(花摘み)): around early May from 9 am to 4:30 pm. It is free to participate in this event, as you are likely going to help the park get rid of excessive flowers on the trees (´▽｀*).
- The activity will take around 20 – 30 minutes.
- Please follow the staff’s instructions as to how to pick away the unwanted flowers.
- Apple selection (りんごの摘果体験(実選り)): between late May and early July, from 9 am to 4:30 pm
- It is free to participate in this event, as you are going to help the park get rid of excessive apples on the trees (´▽｀*).
- The apples that you will be picking won’t be ripe. The purpose is to get rid of unwanted apples so that the remainder will be more delicious when they ripen later in the year.
- Please follow the staff’s instructions carefully so you are not picking away the good ones.
- The activity will take around 20 – 30 minutes.
- Snowshoe (かんじき体験): between early January and late February from 9 am to 4:30 pm
- It is free to participate in this event
- The activity will take around 10 – 20 minutes
Festivals and Other Events at Hirosaki Apple Park
Apart from the above activities, apple-related festivals are held throughout the year (this is probably the orchard with the most events happening every year)!
Hirosaki Apple Flower Festival (弘前りんご花まつり)
Hirosaki Apple Flower Festival takes place in early May each year (the 5th to the 7th of May in 2023).
The 1-Week event is held from 10 am to 3 pm each day, featuring a lot of live performances, fun activities, food stalls, and even a small petting zoo!
Summer Festival (サマーフェスティバル)
Summer Festival takes place on a Sunday in late July. This event is for people (probably mainly kids) to get wet and have fun (≧▽≦). From 11 am to 4 pm each day, water gun wars will take place every 30 minutes.
In the park, you will also get a chance to board different types of vehicles, such as weeders. Weeders are used for apple production!
Apple Harvest Festival (りんご収穫祭)
Apple Harvest Festival is a 2.5-day event taking place in early November, starting from 4 pm on Friday. Similar to the Hirosaki Apple Flower Festival, there are live performances, fun activities, and yummy food stalls throughout the event.
The most exciting one is probably seeing the gigantic apple pie being made, cut, and then sold to those who want a piece (´▽｀*). One slice is only 500 yen, so if you happen to be at the event on Sunday at 12 pm, don’t miss out!
During the Apple Flower Festival and Apple Harvest Festival, Apple Cider Nights are held for just a few days from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Hirosaki Apple Park Winter Festival (弘前市りんご公園ウィンターフェスティバル)
Hirosaki Apple Park Winter Festival will be held on in February for 2024 from 10 am to 3 pm.
As you probably guess yourself, the festival is for people who want to play in the snow with their families and friends. As the city has the largest apple production in the country, it really needs to factor in some apple-related sessions during the festival (´▽｀*). For this winter festival, it will be apple pie making (which is a parent-child-only event)
- The fee is 500 yen for each pair
- This experience takes place between 10 am and 11:30 am on the weekends
- Only 10 groups can participate each day
Apple Truck Market (りんごトラック市)
Apple Truck Market is an event for other local farmhouses to gather together to sell their apples. Whilst we don’t think the quality would differ greatly, it might still be fun to get a few apples from each stall to compare (^_-)-☆
The market is held in late November. In 2023, it is taken place on the 23rd of November.
Hirosaki Apple Park’s Business Hours and Access Information
- The park is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
- Bus services stopping at the Apple Park depart from Hirosaki Bus Terminal (弘前バスタミナール) in front of JR Hirosaki Station. The price is 200 yen or 300 yen, depending on which bus you catch.
- HERE is the timetable in Japanese for your reference.
- 200 yen: Tanenobugō Bus (ためのぶ号) departs from bus stop no. 4 between April and November. Please get off at the last stop – Ringo Koen (りんご公園).
- Note the bus is a loop bus, so although they say “last stop”, you will still need to keep an eye out as to where the bus is, or you might end up going all the way back to JR Hirosaki Station…(´▽｀*)
- 300 yen: regular bus services bound for Nishimeyamura Yakuba or Soma departs from bus stop no. 7 from Hirosaki Bus Terminal.
The Safety Convex Mirrors that You Can’t Find Elsewhere
Apart from the street post box with an apple on top previously introduced in our article about Hirosaki City, around the Hirosaki Apple Park, there are safety convex mirrors that have apple-shaped designs!
Instead of the usual treasure hunt, how about an apple-shaped safety convex mirrors hunt around the park (≧▽≦)?
Yes, there is a road that is actually called “Apple Road” in Hirosaki (´▽｀*).
The 20 km road is famous for the apple’s white flowers instead of the actual apple. Imagine the magnificent view of 400 thousand apple trees blooming at once! The residents of Hirosaki are so incredibly lucky! (*´ω｀).
Particularly around mid-May each year, the area around the road will be covered in this nice sweet apple smell.
The Joyful Train That Pass Through Endless Apple Farms
Especially in mid-May, when the apple flowers start to blossom, if you hop on one of the trains that run between JR Goshogawara (五所川原駅) to JR Kawabe (川部駅), you will know what it is like to be surrounded by the flowers of the fruits that keep the doctors away!
If you are a Japanese Joyful Train fan, we recommend you don’t purchase a ticket to the regular trains that run between the two stations. Instead, make a reservation to board Shirakami Resort!
Coming with 3 different designs, this joyful train runs between Aomori (青森) and Akita (秋田) prefectures on the Tsugaru Plain (津軽平野). It is reputed for its beautiful scenery along the railway line! Sightseeing, such as walking around and seeing the scenery nearby, is also good. Furthermore, seeing the beautiful scenery changing from the train window is a great idea.
Where Else to Visit at Hirosaki?
It would be a waste if you were only going to visit Hirosaki Park when you come to Hirosaki because there are so many other interesting attractions around the park!
Find out more of our other recommended spots around the park with our Hirosaki City article (≧▽≦).