Bridge, Hirosaki, Aomori, Tohoku, Japan
JTB Photo \ UIG/© JTB Photo \ UIG
If you visit this castle in spring, you’ll come away remembering only the visual riot of the more than 2,500 blossoming cherry trees. If your visit coincides with the four-day winter festival, it’s likely to be the snow lanterns and illuminated snow caves on the castle grounds that will stick in your mind. But the elegant castle itself is worthy of attention too. The castle wasn’t rebuilt in the modern era (the current structure dates from 1810), as most Japanese fortresses were, so the buildings, gates, moats and walls are intact. The three-story keep has been painstakingly moved to a location on the grounds so that the stone foundations and surrounding walls can be renovated over the next several years.