Zenringai (Zen Temple Area)
Zenringai, an atmospheric castle town in Hirosaki lined with 33 temples
Situated in western Aomori, Hirosaki City allows visitors to feel a long history while strolling through Hirosaki Castle, which is known as a popular cherry blossom viewing site, as well as the traditional streets of this castle town. South of the castle is the Zenringai (Zen Temple Area), which is a unique district packed with temples. In 1610, Nobuhira Tsugaru, the second lord of the Hirosaki domain, moved 33 Soto Zen temples from the entire Tsugaru region as a fortress on the southwest of the castle to ward off evil spirits based on feng shui.
Chosho-ji Temple: A Zen Buddhist temple of the Tsugaru family
Chosho-ji Temple can be found at the end of a beautiful street lined with Japanese cedar trees planted in the Edo Period (1603-1868). Built for the Tsugaru family, the Soto Zen Buddhist temple is a representative structure from the early Edo Period along with the Tosho-gu Shinto shrine in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. It was originally built in 1528 in Ajigasawa town, then was moved to the current location in 1610 by Nobuhira Tsugaru, the second lord of the domain, when Hirosaki Castle was constructed. An imposing Sanmon gate, which symbolizes the gate to three liberations, is located at the entrance overlooking the entire temple grounds where structures from the Kamakura Period (1185-1336) such as the temple bell, mausoleums of the lords and their wives, main hall and kuri (the kitchen of a Zen monastery) stand solemnly.
The stunning five-storied pagoda at Saisho-in temple
The five-storied pagoda at Saisho-in temple located about 2 kilometers away from Zenringai is considered the most beautiful pagoda in the Tohoku region. It was constructed in 1667 without using any nails. The pagoda was designated as a national important cultural heritage site in 1908. In spring, the shidare-zakura (weeping cherry) trees in bloom create a stunning landscape with the pagoda in the background.
|Name||Zenringai (Zen Temple Area)|
|Address||Nishi-shigemori, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori|
|Access||From JR Hirosaki Station, take a Konan bus and get off at Shigemori-machi bus stop, then walk for approximately 5 minutes|