Saturday, April 3, 2010

JAPAN - Cherry blossoms, Hirosaki castle, Aomori

JAPAN stamps

Location of HIROSAKI in JAPAN

Hirosaki Castle was built in 1611 by the Tsugaru Clan. A three-story castle tower, fortified moats, castle gates and some corner turrets (yagura) survive or were reconstructed. The castle is located in Hirosaki Park, a spacious public park of about 0.6 square kilometers.

The castle's original five-story keep burnt down in 1627 after being struck by lightning. Rebuilt in 1810, the present three-story keep is the only one in the Tohoku region that was not rebuilt in the modern era, amongst only a handful in all of Japan.

Hirosaki Park is one of Japan's most famous cherry blossom spots with several thousand cherry trees. Over a million people visit the park during the sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival) from April 23 to May 5, when the blossoms are usually in bloom. This coincides with the Golden Week holidays.

Hanami (lit. "flower viewing") is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms , or ume blossoms. From mid January to early May, sakura bloom all over Japan. The blossom forecast lit. (cherry blossom front) is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. Hanami at night is called yozakura (lit. "night sakura"). In many places such as Ueno Park temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura.


Postcard sent by Masayo, as "MASAYO"
Private swap - Reference JP003

Cherry blossoms, Hirosaki castle, Aomori

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