Let us introduce you to the city of Joetsu, which this year is reaching a major landmark of the 400 year anniversary since the foundation of Takada Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Joetsu is located in the southwestern section of Niigata prefecture (Joetsu region) and has the establishment of Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train coming up in the spring of next year. Joestu is a city that was established when the two cities of Takada and Noetsu merged in April, 1971. With the great merger that took place later on during the Heisei period (1989 – ) , the population grew to approximately 200,000, making Joetsu a central city in the Joestu region, as well as the city that possesses the third largest population in Niigata prefecture.
~Abundant events for the landmark~ July 5th of this year marks the 400 year anniversary of the foundation of Takada Bakufu, and thus, the city of Joetsu is planning to hold extensive Bakufu foundation commemoration events throughout the year. These events will be held mainly around July 5th.
Takada Bakufu 400 Year Anniversary Festival is planned to have events such as a memorial ceremony, exciting Takada castle town free market, Iroha Hime Princess’ marital parade, Takada Castle Mount exploratory walk, The Tale of Three Castles certification test, and the midsummer snow festival with Takada Park functioning as the main stage.
The Takada Bakufu 400 Year Anniversary Commission perceives the 400th year anniversary of the Takada Bakufu foundation as “a year to start a new city development”, hoping to transmit the appeals of Joetsu to the rest of Japan by having each citizen possess confidence and pride in the region. Furthermore, other objectives are preserving heritages for the future and for citizens to learn about the history of their hometown and tradition.
Since the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train is planned for next year, the city will focus its attention on spreading the information out, seeing the 400th year anniversary as not just a temporary event, but as the biggest opportunity for establishing the city as a center of tourism. It is anticipated that this 400th year milestone will become a beginning of a new chapter for the city.
~Appeals of Joetsu not just limited to the castle~ In addition, Joetsu is famous nationwide for its Takada Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing for a Million People event. Currently, approximately 4,000 cherry blossom trees bloom in the spring. The beautiful sight of these cherry blossoms lit up by approximately 3,000 lanterns and the illuminated Takada Castle Mie Yagura towers reflected on the moat is praised as one of the three major night cherry blossom viewings in Japan.
This scenery has been certified as 2013’s (the 9th) “Illuminated Night View Heritage “, in addition to being introduced as one of the five major flower festivals by the U.S. broadcasting network, CNN. Many events are expected to be held in Joetsu from the spring through the summer this year.