Explore Japan: Akita’s culture, Geishas and Food

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  • In Japan, which is an island nation, many use cruise ships to circulate around the country.
    Akita Prefecture situated in the northeastern region of Japan, has three ports: the Akita Port, Funakawa Port and Noshiro Port, where various cruise ships take off from April up to November.

    Akita Prefecture has a great number of Important Intangible Cultural Assets in Japan such as one of the three major festivals in Tohoku “Akita Kanto Matsuri” , together with a variety of sake and many local dishes.

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    Picture of Akita Inu

    Besides the many festivals and dishes, Akita is not only known for the hometown of the Akita Inu(Akita Dog), famous worldwide, but also for the many beautiful Japanese ladies said to be the most beautiful in Japan, people here referring to it as “Akita Beauty”.

    Picture of Kiritanpo nabe(hot pot) and local cuisine

    Please try out the “Akita Port Cruise Train” in case you are travelling to Japan and embark on a cruise ship via Akita Port.

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    Picture of Selion

    “Akitako Cruise Train” will become an unforgettable experience for cruise ship passengers and will allow you to discover Akita’s charm and sightsee its surroundings.

    The Akita Port Cruise Train

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    Picture of the Akitako Cruise Train

    The Akitako Cruise Train (Akita Port Cruise Train) is a train for cruise ship passengers that runs from Akita Port Station to Akita Station, where the city is located.

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    Picture of the Akitako Cruise Train and the Cruise Ship on the right

    When you get off at the Akita Port, you can walk for about 15 minutes and arrive at the Akita Port Station.

    There might be available buses that take you to the station matching the operating hours of the trains.

    Getting to the Akita Station can be quite easy as you can find train guides at the station and the ticket costs only 200 yen(one way). You can click here to find out more details.

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    Photo of the Cruise Train
    Akita city’s area

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    A Photo of the Kubota Castle

    At the Akita Station, you can use the Shinkansen to access the major tourist areas of Akita, for example places such as Kakunodate or the Tazawa Lake.

    Even if you decide to walk from the station, there are so many things you can discover such as the Senshu Park, an astonishing oasis in the middle of the city and also pass by the Kubota Castle, the place where during the Edo Period, the lord who ruled Akita once lived. You can admire the city from the hillside and get immersed in the garden’s beautiful scenery that changes seasonally.

    Gazing at the beautiful scenery while strolling around, I would recommend you to stop by an amazing place on your way. There is a café called Matsushita Saryo and a Japanese sake bar, Matsushita Shubou where you can sit and enjoy a few original beverages and Akita’s famous sake while surrounding yourself in the relaxing scent of cedar.

    Every Saturday, there is also a maiko’s dance performance in the Akita Dance Theater where you’ll have the opportunity to meet a few Akita beauties and see their incredible performance.

    In this theater, you can choose from a few plans such as tea ceremony, ozashiki-asobi with the maiko(apprentice geishas) or a meal with Akita’s local ingredients, local beer and sake; also, if you want to come any day other than Saturday, let us know in advance. (You might need reservation depending on the plan you are choosing) Please let us know in advance.

    Akitamaiko Theater Official Website *Japanese Only

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    A photo at the Maiko Theater

    Now that we had time to rest, let’s stretch a little.

    On the other side of the Senshu Park, you’ll find Akita Museum of Art where you can get a feel of the city’s culture and folk traditions and get an opportunity to experience one of Tohoku’s major festivals held during summer in Akita and the Neburi Nagashi Kan while trying out the different delicious dishes available in the area.

    Souvenir Hunting at the Akita Station

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    Picture of the Namahage Festival

    On your way back to the Akita Station, pass by Topico, a building directly connected to the station that has a great variety of souvenirs, local dishes or sake; basically, everything from Akita can be found there.

    There is also a restaurant up on the 3rd floor that has reopened in March and where you can try some of the Akita’s unique and delicious cuisine.

    If you wish to know more about Akita, get off at the Akita Station and take this opportunity to visit its surroundings.

    Some of the place you can travel to are Shirakami- Sanchi, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, that runs along the Gono Line on the seacoast.

    An interesting event you can also participate in or simply go and observe it is the Namahage Festival, a ritual of the Oga Peninsula that is worth watching.

    In the Tazawa Lake, the deepest one in Japan, you can try out skiing, or discover a charming district around Tsuru no Yu located in Towada where several traditional samurai residences are set in a beautiful serene area.

    I’m sure a Japan you didn’t know will be unveiling its beauty under your eyes.

    ※ The article was made in cooperation with JR East Japan