Matsue Castle's Sakura and the Warrior Parade
The history of Matsue city starts with its castle, which finished construction in 1611. Matsue Castle was built by Horio Yoshiharu and is currently a designated National Treasure and one of the 12 remaining original castles in Japan. The castle is a popular attraction all year round, but there is a season that draws a little more attention than the others--the season of cherry blossoms. What makes it special is not just the 180 cherry blossom trees that bloom throughout the grounds or the beautiful night cherry blossom illuminations, but the event that honors the founding family of the castle through a parade of warriors throughout the city. Every year, more than 200 local citizens participate in the "Musha Gyoretsu" Warrior Parade as princesses in beautiful kimonos or heroic warriors in suits of samurai armor with one person getting to play the role of Horio Yoshiharu. Parading under the cherry blossoms, over the bridges, and to the castle, the event proceeds to reenact what it would have been like 400 years ago.