Akita Prefecture which is located in the northwest area of the Tohoku region by the Sea of Japan is attractive for showing different expressions depending on the season. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakami-Sanchi is located on the border of Akita and Aomori Prefectures, and different scenery can be observed during the four seasons such as the weeping cherry blossoms of Kakunodate in spring, the view of Mt. Chokai in summer, the autumn colors along Lake Tazawa and the snowscapes in winter. Akita is also steeped in traditional culture with folk events such as the nationally-famous namahage and the Akita Kanto Festival which has been recognized as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
Kakunodate is one of the symbolic sites of Akita. It is a castle town with rows of samurai residences from the Edo Era which is famous for its cherry blossoms. The prefecture also has the deepest lake in Japan, Lake Tazawa, which never freezes over in winter and is so attractive for its brilliant color and high clarity that the effect has been called Lake Tazawa Blue. Senshu Park which is located at Kubota Castle can be easily accessed on foot from Akita Station and is famous for its cherry blossoms and fall colors. Namahage Museum and Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum are popular sites to see and even try on the namahage costumes. As well, there is the Oga Aquarium GAO and Cape Nyudo.
Kiritanpo which is mashed rice wrapped around a stick and cooked over a fire is one of Akita’s regional dishes. Akita Komachi is a famous brand of rice and there are numerous types of delicious sake. Also acclaimed for its taste is Hinai Chicken which is one of Japan’s 3 top brands of chicken, and hot pot featuring hata hata fish that is indigenous to the prefecture. Another famous local dish is Yokote yakisoba. As well, there are other specialties such as Jumonji ramen, Inaniwa udon, Honjo deep-fried ham and Aigake jindai curry.
It’s common to go to Akita from Tokyo by train. You can take the Akita Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Lake Tazawa in 3 hours, Kakunodate in 3 hours and 10 minutes, and Akita City in about 3 hours and 50 minutes. Major spots can be conveniently reached on foot from the Shinkansen station. Oga can be reached from Akita Station by JR within 1 hour. For other areas, taking rental car is handy.
Accommodations can be found around Akita Station as well at Lake Towada, Oga which also has onsen, Lake Tazawa and Kakunodate among other areas.