Akita Prefecture is nestled along the coast of the Sea of Japan, in the Northern Tohoku Region. Akita is rather tucked away, yet it offers some of the most scenic spots in Japan to any traveller willing to find them. You can see beautiful mountain ranges, spend your time looking over clear lakes or visit some of the region’s rural coastal towns.
This remote region of Japan is one that is rarely frequented by tourists. If you are looking to immerse yourself in rural Japanese culture, then Akita would be an exceptional starting point. The region itself actually welcomes travellers with open arms, and the locals are more than willing to any lost person. A little bit of Japanese language knowledge would aid your trip to Akita, but a lot of travellers get by without any.
If you want to see Akita at its busiest then you should aim to go and see the Kanto Festival, as it is one of the many stunning festivals that Japan has to offer. Men actually carry bamboo poles that stand at around 12-meters tall, although some of the poles are slightly smaller. The taller poles have 46 lanterns attached to them, and many of these poles weigh around 50kg! It is hard to imagine just how hard they are to hold up. The festival attracts huge numbers of locals and tourists alike on a yearly basis.
Not everyone likes busy, and to step away from the festival nature of the city you should venture to the hot springs in Kakunodate. The town itself is rather unique, as it is a fully preserved samurai town. Going there can feel like stepping back into the past. There is even a medical house museum there, which belonged to the man who illustrated Japan’s first guide to the human anatomy.
A number of seasonal festivals occur in Akita throughout the year, and they can give any weary traveller a view into either rural or traditional Japan.