Got to experience the freshly opened portion of the Shinkansen line connecting Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori. When I learned that it just opened on December 4th, I couldn't pass up a chance to head up that way.
HirosakiCastle is one of the finest original castles in Japan. It's main keep and several other structures remain in tact, much as there were in 1810. It was originally constructed in 1610 by the Tsugaru clan who ruled the Hirosaki domain of Mutsu, but lightning damaged the main keep and it was not until years later that repairs were made. The castle is known for spectacular cherry blossom viewing in spring, but also for the fact that it has nine structures which are classified as Important Cultural Property.