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Published on 02.26.2016
Hirosaki Castle is a castle that was built as the residence of the Tsugaru family, the then regional governor of Tsugaru region, in the late Adsuchi-momoyama period (1573AD – 1603). Since its towers and keeps have been preserved from the Edo period, this castle is specified as an “Important Cultural Property” by the Japanese government. In 2011, it celebrated its 400th year anniversary.
As it is as over 400 years old, some defects were found in the stonewalling below the main tower, and also the main tower itself was found to be tilting. A plan to repair the castle was decided on in 2012. In accordance to the plan, the first procedure of the repair was done in 2015. The procedure was involved the moving of the castle itself over a 20-meter distance without deconstructing it. This is called “hikiya,” a method which may originate as early as the 5th or 7th century C.E., where they used it to move large rocks. It is known that in the Edo period, wet (slippery) bamboo pieces were used to move huge structures and buildings. Interestingly, this technique was most utilized after the second world war, when many buildings needed to be repaired.
This time, the process started by inserting steel plates into the holes drilled into the base of the stone wall, providing a way to lift up the structure from its base, and onto rails on which the building was to be moved. It took them 2 days to move the castle 22.3 meters. While the process was going on, an observation deck was prepared for visitors to watch this “hikiya” process.
The castle is still available for viewing at the place where it was moved (22.3m away from its original location). In the meantime, workers are repairing the stonewalling, a process which is shown to the public as well. It is interesting to observe the castle under repair.
Open always, with exceptions (see below), but it is recommended to visit there during the Sakuramatsuri (Hirosaki Cherry blossom festival) from 23rd April to 5th May.
The park includes some sections (Hirosaki Castle and Hirosaki Botanical Garden) with fees and open hours:
9am ~ 5pm (during Cherry Blossom Festival period, 7am~9pm at castle, and 9am~6pm at the garden)
adults: 310 yen; children: 100yen.
A pass for both the castle and garden costs 510 yen for adults and 160 yen for children.
Source: Hirosaki City
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