So, I see this big sign every day that has a picture of a shrine and Hirosaki’s mascot on it. And for the longest time I thought it was just pointing into the direction of Iwakisan Jinja.
Turns out I was wrong!
After driving past this sign a plethora of times I finally took the time to read it. “高照神社 Takaoka Jinja”,wait a minute, that is most certainly not the same thing as Iwakisan Jinja…oops.
After I read the sign, the next couple of times I drove past, I noticed that if you turn down the road there is in fact a big ol’ torii.
SO, I finally went and checked it out:
The shrine was dedicated to the Tsugaru and former clans (津軽家や旧藩士) during the Meiji Period, specifically in 1877 (明治10年). This shrine housed many of the clans treasures such as armor, swords, and other works of art that once belonged to the clan.
There is also a museum of the Hirosaki Clan that is placed right next to this shrine. This museum was built to house all of the families treasures and to ensure the survival of these cultural assets that were given to the shrine. The museum’s purpose is to convey the history and culture of the Tsugaru region during the Edo and Meiji period.
The building itself seems very new! The museum’s brochure was unfortunately all in Japanese, but essentially it just explains that there are two exhibits: a permanent exhibit and a special exhibit.
The permanent exhibit includes the history of the clan, the clan’s genealogy, the armor that is displayed at the front, and the involvement of the clan in the surrounding area.
The special exhibit changes 4 times a year and includes works of art, swords, and even more armor.
You can find more information (in Japanese) on this website.