The city of Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture, located in the northern part of the Tohoku area, is known for it’s symbolic cherry blossoms and apples. The city started the project Hirosaki Design Week this year under the theme of a designed community building. In fall, there are trees heavy with apples and Japanese maples. This fall, I visited the Hirosaki Design Week that was held in October.
Even though the project started only this year, the city still enjoyed a focus in nature and design. On the background of rich farm products, Tsugaru area, which has Hirosaki city, has done trade with Kyoto and China regardless of its location. Traditional crafts of high quality have always supported the northern life and the culture integrating the tradition with the advanced technology of each era that has taken root in this city.
“A to Z” a Japanese art project founded by modern artist Yoshitomo Nara, a native of Hirosaki, was able to participate in a collaboration with an old cider factory of Nikka Whisky made in Hokkaido prefecture. Nara’s dog sculpture, which recorded the project, is still displayed at the old factory and now it’s a symbol for citizens and tourists.
Hirosaki is also a city where many young craftspeople live. Rich nature known as over ten kinds of various wood brought by Shirakami-Sanchi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is able to supports their creative lifestyles.
Especially, Tsugaru-Nuri traditional Japan ware, Kogin-Zashi known as fashion embroidery, and Tsugaru-Uchihamono which has its origin in sword forging for Samurai keep developing today and there are many fans in Japan.
At the entrance of the Ringo Park, there is a little cider factory called „timor“ stylishly designed by Hirosaki-based architect, Manabu Aritsuka. People can enjoy cider and the view of the apple garden. The area around this winery is a national special zone which has looser criteria of brewing. It is run by local apple farmers and serves original cider. Also, there is a food creator who serves original wine at his restaurant, which is produced in the same zone where he takes part in this privileged brewing.
Hirosaki Design Week further develops the creative sense in which the city already had. Music is also an important part of the Hirasaki creative sense. At Hirosaki castle, the location is filled with cherry blossoms in spring. During this time, the Hirosaki Music Festival is was held. Local girls organize a group, „RINGO Musume“ for the promotion of „RINGO.“ Also, a mascot character „Nyan Gostar“ plays drums and people enjoy his unique performances which have become popular on video-sharing websites.