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AKITA Guide

Akita

Akita Prefecture is situated on the Sea of Japan coast of the Tohoku region. Due to its location, it observes the shortest daylight hours in Japan and is the snowiest area in the region.
The variety of local cuisines available here is one of its main attractiveness, of which including its delicious Akita Komachi rice, high-quality Akita sake as well as Japan top 3 Inaniwa Udon. It’s also the home of the Akita Inu breed, which is loved by people all over the world.


01. Akita Inu, Odate city

02. Godzilla Rock

03. Kiritanpo, Odate city

04. Namahage Sedo Festival



Akita Inu

Wan! The Akita Inu is a dog breed that became world famous thanks to lovable Hachiko, the star of the Hollywood movie "Hachi: A Dog’s Tale".
In 1931, these dogs became the first living creatures to be named a Natural Monument of Japan. They are calm dogs, very loyal to their master, and very popular for their friendly nature. Also important to note: their fluffy curly tails are absolutely adorable!
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Akita Inu are everywhere in Akita Prefecture. You can start with the Akita Dog Visitor Center, where you can interact with real Akita Inu (dutifully on staff!) and buy Akita Inu-themed original goods, then move on over to the Akita Dog Museum in the same city, where the history of these adorable puppers are well preserved as materials and artifacts. Do you want to relax? Then come to Furusawa Onsen Hot Springs, where you will be welcomed by the adorable Haru and Hana, the mother-daughter Akita Inu who work there!

 

 

 

 

Godzilla Rock

This natural rock formation is named after its silhouette, which resembles the internationally famous monster Godzilla to a tee. Even more so in the evening, when the setting sun really makes “Godzilla” here look like its actually breathing orange fire. Attracting many tourists, it’s a no wonder that this is a really famous sunset watching spot. The best time to visit would be around April or October.
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On the Oga Peninsula where the Gozilla Rock is located, there are many places where you can see and have similarly unique experiences. The Akagami Shrine Goshado Hall has 999 stone steps that is said to have been built by a demon in a single night; but if you’d like something tamer than demons and giant monsters, then go for Nyudozaki, a scenic cape with a spectacular view, or the Oga Aquarium GAO and their adorable swimming polar bears.


 

 

 

 

Kiritanpo

Akita Prefecture has much to offer in terms of unique local dishes, but one of their most famous is "kiritanpo“, pounded rice wrapped around wood skewers, coated with miso or soy sauce, and grilled to a nice char. Usually eaten with soy sauce soup (“nabe”) containing vegetables and mushrooms, this dish is best enjoyed warm in the chilly autumn and winter months.
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Some other Akita Prefecture dishes that you absolutely must try would be the thin-noodled Inaniwa Udon, one of the Three Great Udons of Japan, the meticulously (and deliciously) bred lean-muscled Hinai-Jidori chicken, and Yokote Yakisoba, a mouth-watering sweet and spicy fried noodle served with a fried egg on top.


 

 

 

 

Namahage Sedo Festival

Namahage is a traditional folk practice in Akita Prefecture, where people wear a mask of a fearsome demon called Namahage and go around their homes on New Year's Eve to give blessings to those who give them offerings… and also to scare naughty local children into behaving! An important, traditional event, it is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The “Namahage” also descend from the mountains in February for the "Namahage Sedo Festival“, entertaining visitors with their powerful dance to the loud, rhythmic beat of taiko drums.
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At the Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum, you’ll find a smaller scale of the Namahage event is specially reenacted throughout the year. And at the adjacent Namahage Museum, you can take photos while wearing a Namahage costume. The Namahage experience doesn’t end there, as you can even enjoy a live taiko drumming performance by the feisty ogres in between hot spring dips at the Oga Onsen Village! Don’t forget to visit the giant 15-meter-tall statue of the Namahage as well, a symbol of Oga that also happens to be a popular photo spot.

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