Dakigaeri Gorge-AUT

TOHOKU Akita Mountains, forests, invigorating onsen and outdoor fun

With hot springs, a well-preserved samurai district and natural scenic beauty, Akita is a place to relax while connecting with Japanese history and culture

The northern prefecture of Akita is a popular choice for outdoor adventurers and history buffs alike. The Hachimantai area offers a range of outdoor activities, while the fascinating and well-preserved samurai district in the town of Kakunodate offers a glimpse into Japan's feudal past. The snow huts of the Yokote Snow Festival and Japan’s national fireworks competition at Omagari draw hundreds of thousands of revelers each year.

How To Get There

Akita can be accessed by the JR Akita Shinkansen from Tokyo, Sendai and Morioka, as well as by car, local train and airplane from other areas in Japan.

Flights operated by JAL and ANA make Akita accessible from Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo. A flight from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Akita Airport is the easiest and quickest method of transport from Tokyo. The direct Komachi bullet train on the JR Akita Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Akita takes around four hours. There are hourly departures, and the journey is covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR East Tohoku Area Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Pass. There are also a number of long-distance buses from Tokyo to Akita. The journey takes around eight hours.

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Don’t Miss

  • Scaling the summit of Mt. Hachimantai, particularly beautiful in autumn when the leaves change colors
  • Soaking in Goshogake Onsen's volcanic mud and outdoor hot springs
  • Visiting Yokote in winter to join the town’s 400-year-old Kamakura Snow Festival
  • The breathtaking displays of light and music of Japan's National Fireworks Competition in Omagari

Local Specialties

  • Kaba Cherry-Bark Crafts

    Pairing exposed bark with elegant forms, homeware and accessories crafted from mountain cherry bark are one-of-a-kind pieces. Kaba zaiku—an 18th-century craft expanded by low-ranking officers making pill boxes and seal holders—are often made out of 12 bark types.

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  • Hatahata

    Hatahata are sandfish that love the cold waters around Akita in winter. They're prized for their rich umami flavor and are a staple of winter hot pots in Akita.

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  • Hinai Chicken

    One of Japan's three top breeds, Hinai chicken are free-range birds considered so delicious they were once offered as tribute to local samurai lords instead of rice. Because they are prepared and served fresh, raw meat is also on the menu.

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  • Inaniwa Udon

    Inaniwa udon are thin, chewy noodles with a silky texture, made with a family technique passed down since 1665. Each noodle is inspected for imperfections before being served.

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  • Kisakata Iwagaki

    Kisakata iwagaki are giant, wild oysters from the rocky, chilly depths of the Japan Sea famous for their creamy appearance and fresh, clean taste with briny afternotes. An absolute must for oyster lovers when in season in July and August.

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  • Kiritanpo

    Freshly cooked rice pounded and wrapped around a skewer of Japanese cedar and toasted over an open hearth, kiritanpo is eaten with sweet miso or as dumplings in soup. Akita's rice equivalent of rigatoni pasta.

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  • Kawatsura Lacquerware

    There is more to Kawatsura shikki than meets the eye. Perfect for everyday use, this lacquerware owes its durability to meticulously painted base coats—a technique honed on military gear centuries ago.

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  • Odate Cedarwood Crafts

    This elegant bentwood ware has a humble heritage. In the early 1600s, widespread poverty led low-ranking military officers to pick up this trade. Odate cedar continues to be transformed into shapely homewares, including the original bento lunch box.

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Akita's springtime brings the bloom of thousands of cherry blossom trees, best enjoyed along the scenic rivers and in parks and among the historic samurai buildings in Kakunodate.

    senshu park
  • Summer

    The hot summer is the perfect time to enjoy Akita’s many lakes and valleys, where crystal-clear blue water, boating activities and outdoor adventures await.

    lake towada-ko area
  • Autumn

    In fall Akita is energized with vibrant foliage, making it the perfect time to soak in outdoor onsen while appreciating the natural landscapes.

    oyasu ravine
  • Winter

    Though temperatures drop in winter, life heats up for people in Akita in the form of festivals celebrating fireworks, igloos and Japanese culture.

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