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Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Akita
Population
1,189,215

Akita

The rhythm of nature

The best way to enjoy Akita is simply to go outside and be among it.

A northern slice of the far-flung Tohoku region, it’s no surprise that Akita’s attractions are nature-based. Akitans live their lives according to the rhythm of nature, celebrating events to a distinctly agricultural calendar – you’re likely to encounter some kind of festival when you’re there. Throughout the year, trekking, camping, boat cruising, swimming, climbing and hot springs abound.

Autumn leaves on the approach to Yuzawa city, Akita.

Autumn leaves on the approach to Yuzawa city.

Akita city is the prefectural capital. Year-round it’s known for it’s beautiful women but every August their beauty is temporarily upstaged by the spectacular Akita Kanto Matsuri, a harvest festival where skillful participants balance huge bamboo stacks of lanterns on their hands, waists, shoulders and foreheads to the beat of traditional taiko drum music.

Just north of the city is the axe-shaped Oga peninsula, offering far-reaching views from Mount Kampu and at Nyudo-zaki Point on the peninsula’s tip – on clear days, you can see the edge of North Korea. Spot the Godzilla rock, which actually looks a lot like the iconic monster. If you’re there in the winter, you can see the Namahage Sedo festival where people dressed as demons and bearing flaming torches descend from the mountains to the town to admonish badly behaved children.

Kakunodate is a picturesque former samurai town.

Stop by Kakunodate, a postcard-perfect former samurai town in eastern Akita.

Inland, Kakunodate is a picturesque castle town that has some of the region’s best preserved samurai districts, great for a historical wander through feudal Japan. There’s festivals for each season here too; one of the highlights is the Omagari National Fireworks Competition in nearby Daisen, where you’ll get to see the most advanced pyrotechnics exploding in the summer sky.

For camping, hiking and water-sports, the areas around Lake Tazawa and Lake Towada are popular destinations. The UNESCO World Heritage Shirakami-sanchi mountain spreads between Aomori and Akita prefecture. Dense forests, translucent lakes and mysterious marshes attract nature-lovers and those looking for a secluded getaway.

Akita is one of the largest rice producing regions in the country and has a great time enjoying the fruits of its labor, consuming the most sake (rice wine) per capita of all of Japan’s prefectures. Another local speciality is kiritanpo, made by wrapping rice around a stick and grilling it over a fire.

Places to visit

Akita City

Akita City

Home of the awe-inspiring Kanto Matsuri, the compact city of Akita is packed with museums, shrines, parks and panoramic views.

kuroya onsen

Kuroyu Onsen

Ultimate peace of mind plus mixed-gender bathing in this of respite of seclusion.


Namahage (Demon) Museum

Unleash all your demons.

Yokote Masuda Manga Museum

Manga enthusiasts, this should be on your bucket list!


Lake Tazawa

Legends accompany Japan’s deepest lake.

Sato Yosuke Udon Workshop

Make your own noodles at Japan’s top udon shop!

Other Destinations in Tohoku

Cherry blossoms along the moat surrounding Hirosaki castle, Aomori.

Aomori

The northern tip of Tohoku, Aomori prefecture is the boundary between the known and unknown Japan.

To-no-hetsuri in Fukushima, Japan

Fukushima

Ignore the bad press or miss out on this boundless, breathtaking natural landscape.

The miracle pine tree in Iwate remains a symbol of hope for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.

Iwate

The local people say that Iwate is a place where you forge your own path. Take their advice and enjoy this re-emerging - and rewarding - destination.

Matsushima, Japan coastal landscape from Mt. Otakamori. Miyagi Prefecture

Miyagi

With vibrant Sendai at its core, Miyagi makes the ideal base for exploring the remote corners of Tohoku.

Find poetic inspiration at Yamadera Mountain Temple in Yamagata

Yamagata

Winter is coming. But so is spring, summer and fall at this rewarding year-round destination.