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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Kakunodate 角館町

Traditional crafts and dancing lions in a town steeped in samurai history

The castle town of Kakunodate developed in the early 17th century as a city of samurai and is often referred to as a ‘Little Kyoto.'

Though the castle no longer remains, its legacy can be seen in the well-preserved samurai houses, many of which are centuries old.

Don't Miss

  • Kakunodate's most famous local craft, polished cherry bark
  • Miso tasting at the historic Ando Miso Sauce Brewery
  • The bloom of weeping cherry trees along the Hinokinai River in spring

How to Get There

Kakunodate is accessible by train or bus from Akita Station and by bus from Tazawa-ko.

It is a 50-minute train ride from Akita Station to Kakunodate Station on the Akita Shinkansen. If you're traveling by local train, catch the JR Ou Line to Omagari Station and make the switch to the Tazawako Line which will take you to Kakunodate.

Take time to explore

The area is easy to explore on foot or by bicycle. Check out the tourist information center opposite Kakunodate Station, which has bikes for hire.

Visit the Uchimachi samurai quarter for a taste of life in the 17th century located just a 15 to 20-minute walk from Kakunodate Station. Stroll down the wide avenues, and see the traditional fences and elaborate gates of thatched residences, owned by descendants of the samurai.

Samurai district

Explore one of Japan's most well preserved historical pockets, Kakunodate's Samurai District. Around 80 samurai families once lived in the area, and you can get a glimpse of their lives through the architecture of the buildings and the items scattered around the homes. Enjoy strolling along the winding historic streets with the dozens of weeping cherry trees that line the roads in spring.

Visit the homes of the local samurai

A number of homes and gardens, such as those of the Ishiguro, Aoyagi, and Nishinomiya families, are open to tourists. Check out the old maps, books, pottery, tools, and swords on display at the Ichiguro Samurai House, which dates from the 19th century.

So much to see and do

There are also small museums, merchant storehouses, craft shops and cafes throughout the historic streets. Check out the Omura Art Museum, which has a beautiful collection of glassware. For those interested in traditional craftsmanship, Nishinomiya House showcases tansu chests, sake flasks, and lacquerware. Also in the area is the Shinchosha Memorial Literature Museum.

Pretty in pink

The banks of the Hinokinai River are planted with more than 400 cherry trees stretching as far as the eye can see. In spring it creates a beautiful tunnel of fluffy pink blossoms. These weeping cherry trees were brought from Kyoto and have helped contribute to the Kakundate's cherry-bark crafted items, which are popular souvenirs.

Throughout the year, the riverbank is a popular walking area, as people take in the lush leaves of summer, the vibrant and colorful foliage of autumn and snowy sights of winter.

Festivals aplenty

Experience one of the many local festivals to soak up the town's culture. In summer, locals enjoy a traditional lion dance called Sasara-mai, which is accompanied by the performance of drums and a flute.

In autumn, samurai-themed floats move through the area in a procession.

In winter, the fire and snow festival sees bundles of rice straw set alight to ward off evil spirits and welcome in a healthy new year.

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