Akita City is a refined prefectural capital of Akita. Akita is mostly known for snow, onsen (hot springs), great sake, a sturdy breed of dog, and the widely acknowledged beauty of its women. Bordered by the sea and mountains, this peaceful city is home to major local festivals, museums of world-class art and a well-preserved samurai village. It’s easy to immerse yourself in Japan’s cultural past here.
Once the site of Kubota Castle, Senshu Park is now home to beautiful Japanese gardens in the centre of Akita city. The park fascinates visitors with scenic seasonal images throughout the year. From mid to late April each year 730 cherry blossom trees are in bloom and the park has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry-blossom viewing locations. Other enchanting spectacles offered by the gardens include blooming azalea shrubs framing Kogetsu Pond from mid to late May, lotus flowers floating on the water of Otemon moat in late July, scarlet autumn leaves and snowy winter scenes. (Image via Tohoku Kanko)
Activities: Photo stop, Garden visit Fee: None Time required: 30 minutes-1 hour
Source: © wikipedia
Akita Museum of Art
Designed by a leading Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, the Akita Museum of Art features mainly works by world-renowned artist painter Tsuguharu Foujita from the collection of the Masakichi Hirano Art Foundation. A work of particular note is the large painting "The Events of Akita," illustrating Akita life in the four seasons. This work was painted by Tsuguharu Foujita while covering the prefecture. The museum has two additional galleries for rotating special exhibitions of various artists.
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 310 Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour
Source: © wikipedia
Akita City Port Tower Selion
The 100-meter high observation tower, Akita City Port Tower Selion, provides a panoramic view of the city from the Sea of Japan in the west to Oga Peninsula in the north and Mt Chokai in the south. Sunset offers the most spectacular views. The complex and its surrounding area has parks and play areas allowing guests to take in the city's natural beauty. The area often hosts a flea market and is home to a range of shops and restaurants.
Activities: Tower visit, Photo stop Fee: JPY 310 Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour
Kakunodate Samurai District
The Kakunodate samurai district once was home to around 80 samurai families. Today, it is one of the best-preserved and best examples of samurai architecture and housing in Japan. Though some of them are still functioning homes, the residences are open to the public so visitors can get a feel for the traditional samurai life. Tourists can travel back in time to the Edo period by strolling around the traditional streets in an antique Kimono from one of the rental stores in town. The houses are along wide streets with dozens of weeping cherry trees, which also make it a popular site for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. (Image via Tohoku Kanko) Activities: House visit, Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour
Kakunodate Samurai House Museum
Of the houses in Kakunodate Samurai District that remain intact, six are open to the public and offer visitors the chance to see how middle class and wealthy samurai families might have lived. Of the six open houses, two are particularly noteworthy for their size and quality: the Aoyagi House and the Ishiguro House. The Aoyagi House contains museum collections, restaurants and gift shops. The displays provide interesting information in both English and Japanese on samurai traditions and lifestyle. Ishiguro House also has a well-preserved storeroom. (Image via Tohoku Kanko)
Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 500 (Aoyagi House); JPY 400 (Ishiguro House) Time required: 45 minutes
“Namahage” is a folk ritual on New Year’s Eve where fierce demons known as Namahage visit each house to frighten misbehaved children. Despite their scary appearance, the Namahage are gods bringing the local people warnings against laziness as well as blessings for the wellbeing of their families and rich harvests from the mountains and the sea for the coming year. The Namahage Museum includes a wide variety of 150 masks used in the rituals of each town and village along with a video presentation of Oga’s New Year’s Eve Namahage ritual. Visitors can have their photo taken in a real Namahage costume or buy unique gifts related to Namahage. (Image via Tohoku Kanko) Activities: Museum visit Fee: JPY 800 Time required: 1 hour
Lake Tazawa has been selected as one of the 100 best landscapes of Japan. The cobalt blue lake water is so transparent that fish can be seen swimming below the water surface. The lake has a maximum depth of 423.4m making it the deepest in Japan. The water changes colour from sky blue to turquoise and indigo as the water gets deeper. A golden statue of Tatsuko stands against the majestic water and is a popular symbol of Lake Tazawa. Legend has it that Tatsuko was a girl who wished for eternal beauty but instead turned into a dragon and threw herself into the lake. (Image via Tohoku Kanko)
Nyuto Onsen is the collective name of the seven hot springs located at the foot of Mount Nyuto in Towada and Hachimantai National Park. This historical hot springs area is also said to be where the former feudal lords of Akita bathed. The seven hot spring inns each have their own unique and varied hot springs. You can enjoy different kinds of hot waters including the milky white waters of Tsuru no Yu Onsen, and the brown, iron-rich waters of Taenoyu Onsen. (Image via Tohoku Kanko)