Hirosaki-jo Castle is situated atop a high stone base, and guarded by deep moats over which a red wooden bridge crosses in a picturesque curve. The original castle, completed in 1611, was set ablaze 16 years later by a lightning bolt. The present castle, of a smaller scale, dates back to 1810. When the more than 5,000 somei-yoshino cherry trees blossom, or when the maples turn, the setting is even more gorgeous. A snow-lantern festival with illuminated ice sculptures is held in early February. The castle is a 30-minute walk from the station on the northwest side of town, across the river.