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Namahage mask, traditional giant mask - ancient culture of Akita perfecture, Tohoku, Japan

Namahage mask, traditional giant mask - ancient culture of Akita perfecture, Tohoku, Japan

Akita Prefecture! Best Attractions and Things to do

There are many "old Japanese" in Akita Prefecture! For example, in the rural villages of the Oga Peninsula, annual events that men dressed as giant demons called Namahage fear the arrogant children are still inherited. A wonderful samurai residence is left in the Kakunodan. Why do not you enjoy old Japan on the country side of Akita?

Outline of Akita

Rice field with a rural township in Akita, Japan. Japan is the ninth largest producer of rice in the world = shutterstock

Rice field with a rural township in Akita, Japan. Japan is the ninth largest producer of rice in the world = shutterstock

Map of Akita

Map of Akita

Akita prefecture is located in the northern part of the Tohoku region on the Sea of ​​Japan side. The population is about 980,000 people. In this area rice production is thriving and vast rice field spreads. Rice named "Akitakomachi" produced in this area is very delicious.

On the east side of Akita Prefecture, the Ou Mountains range from north to south. In addition to the plains like the Akita plain and the Noshiro plain, there are basins such as the Odate basin and the Yokote basin.

Climate and weather in Akita Prefecture

Akita prefecture is located in the northern part of the Tohoku region on the Sea of ​​Japan side. In the winter, moist air comes from the Sea of ​​Japan, hit the inland mountain ranges and snow. In winter, cloudy days continue. There are many heavy snowy areas in the inland area. In the summer, the "Fern phenomenon" which relatively hot wind descends from the inland mountain range may occur. At that time, the maximum temperature during the day exceeds 35 degrees Celsius.

Access

airport

There are two airports in Akita Prefecture. The main airport is Akita Airport. At this airport, regular flights are operated between Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo. It is approximately 35 minutes by bus to this Akita station from this airport. In the northern part of Akita Prefecture there is Odate-Noshiro Airpor. This airport is small, but Tokyo flights are operating.

Shinkansen (Bullet train)

Akita prefecture is connected to Tokyo by Shinkansen network. In Akita Prefecture there are Akita, Omagari, Kakunoda and Tazawako stations. The time required depends on each train, but it is around 4 hours from Tokyo station to Akita station.

 

Oga Peninsula and "Namahage"

Nyudosaki in the Oga peninsula, Akita prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

Nyudosaki in the Oga peninsula, Akita prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

The Oga Peninsula in the northwest of Akita City is famous for "Namahage". It is a folk-cultural event held in winter every year. Men dressed as daemons and visit the village houses. They repeat the next phrase loudly.

"Are there any any crybabies around?"
"Are naughty kids around?"

When Namahage come to the house, the children are very scared. By experiencing this fear, children feel that they should never do bad things.

Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum

Foreign tourist with Namahage costume in Oga city of Akita Prefecture,Japan. The Namahage is name of giant demon in traditional Japanese folklore and becomes symbol of Akita = shutterstock

Foreign tourist with Namahage costume in Oga city of Akita Prefecture,Japan. The Namahage is name of giant demon in traditional Japanese folklore and becomes symbol of Akita = shutterstock

Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum is located in the Shinzan district of the Oga Peninsula. There are more than 100 nymphs displayed at here. Next to this museum, there is Namahage museum which looks like a typical L-shaped traditional farmhouse (Magariya) of the Oga area.

You can see the demonstration of Namahage at these museums. In addition, you can also transform into Namahage as seen in the picture above!

>> Please see the official website for details of Namahage

Oga Peninsula

The Oga Peninsula is about 40 minutes by car from JR Akita Station and 1 hour by car from Akita Airport. From Akita city there are bus tours around Oga Peninsula.

The Sea of Japan seen from the cliffs of this peninsula is rough. Previously, I have covered about Namahage. At that time, local men said that "a long time ago, bad groups that kidnap children from the Sea of Japan might have come." I felt the dreadful life in this peninsula as a background of Namahage's custom.

>> For details on the Oga Peninsula please visit the official website

 

Kakunodate and Samurai village

Samurai House in spring, Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, Japan

Samurai House in spring, Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, Japan = Shutterstock

Japanese Samurai tradition antique armor in Samurai house, Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, Japan

Japanese Samurai tradition antique armor in Samurai house, Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, Japan = Shutterstock

Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture, autumn leaves

Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture, autumn leaves = Shutterstock

Kakunodate Samurai village, one of the best examples of samurai architecture and housing, Akita prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

Kakunodate Samurai village, one of the best examples of samurai architecture and housing, Akita prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

Kakunodan is an old town on the inland side of Akita Prefecture. Here, the residential town of the Samurai in the era of the Tokugawa shogunate is preserved. If you walk here, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the samurai's era.

There is a square between the section where the samurai lived and the section where the townspeople lived. This square was set up so that fire could not reach the town of the Samurai even if a fire occurred in the streets of townspeople. Cherry blossoms will bloom here and there in the late April in the town of Samurai.

There are a lot of snow in Kakunodate in winter. If you go to the Kakunodate in winter, you can see the beautiful snow scene as seen in the picture above.

There is a Shinkansen station in Kakunodate. The fastest way from Tokyo station to Kakunoda station is about 3 hours and 15 minutes. It is approximately 40 minutes by Shinkansen from Kakunodate station to Akita station.

Samurai residence in Kakunodate, Akita = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture -The samurai residences are a must-see

Towns which have the flavor of ancient Kyoto are called “Little Kyoto(小京都).” There are many towns which are referred to as “Little Kyoto” in Japan. One of my favorite “Little Kyoto” is Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture. Samurai residences are left in this traditional city. Please refer to the following articles for ...

Kakunodate in spring and summer = AdobeStock 1
Photos: Kakunodate in spring and summer, Akita Pfrefecture

In Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, there are some very fine samurai residences that still remain. The scenery of these samurai residences changes beautifully as the seasons change. In this page, I would like to introduce the scenery of spring and summer. Table of ContentsPhotos of Kakunodate in spring and summerMap of Kakunodate ...

Kakunodate in autumn, Akita Pfrefecture = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Kakunodate in autumn, Akita Pfrefecture

In Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, there are some very fine samurai residences that still remain. Especially in autumn, you can enjoy the amazing autumn colors in these samurai residences. In this page, I am going to introduce Kakunodate in autumn. Table of ContentsPhotos of Kakunodate in autumnMap of Kakunodate Photos of Kakunodate ...

Kakunodate in winter, Akita Prefecture = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Kakunodate in winter, Akita Pfrefecture

The samurai residences of Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture, are buried under snow in winter. Walking through this quiet, white world, you will feel as if you have been transported back to the time of the samurai. Here, I would like to introduce Kakunodate in winter. Table of ContentsPhotos of Kakunodate in winterMap ...

>> For details about Kakunodate please see the official website

 

Nyuto Onsen

Nyuto Onsen in Akita Prefecture

Nyuto Onsen in Akita Prefecture = Shutterstock

Nyuto Onsen covered with snow in winter, Akita Prefecture 1
Photos: Nyuto Onsen in Akita Prefecture

If you're looking for a quieter way to enjoy an onsen, I would first recommend Nyuto Onsen in Akita Prefecture. Among Nyuto Onsen, the Tsurunoyu on this page is especially highly rated by tourists from abroad. Tsurunoyu is an onsen that was used by feudal lords of the Akita clan in ...

Japanese woman in an open air hot onsen bath = Shutterstock
Japanese Onsen especially recommended for foreign tourists

Because Japan is a country with so many volcanoes, groundwater is heated by the magma of the volcano, Onsen (Hot springs) springs out here and there. Currently, it is said that there are more than 3000 spa areas in Japan. Among them, there are many places popular among foreign tourists. On ...

 

Festivals

Winter: Yokote Snow Festival

A landscape of the "Yokote Kamakura Festival" held in Yokote, Akita Prefecture every year = AdobeStock

In Akita prefecture, a number of traditional festivals are inherited. Among them, I particularly recommend "Yokote Snow Festival" held in mid-February every year in Yokote city.

About Yokote Snow Festival, I introduced in the following articles. Please drop in on this article as well.

"Kamakura" at Yokote Snow Festival, Yokote City, Akita Prefecture = AdobeStock 1
Photos: Snow Dome "Kamakura" in Akita Prefecure

In Japan, when snow falls in winter, children make snow domes and play. The snow dome is called "Kamakura". When I was a kid, I played with my friends in Kamakura. Recently, in Akita Prefecture in the northern part of Honshu Island, many large and small Kamakuras are made in the ...

Snow wall, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Japan - Shutterstock
12 Best Snow Destinations in Japan: Shirakawago, Jigokudani, Niseko, Sapporo snow festival ...

On this page, I would like to introduce about the wonderful snow scene in Japan. There are many snow areas in Japan, so it is difficult to decide the best Snow Destinations. On this page, I summarized the best areas, mainly in places popular among foreign tourists. I will share it ...

 

Akita Dog

red Akita inu dog playing in the snow = shutterstock

red Akita inu dog playing in the snow = shutterstock

Do you know Akita dog (Akita-inu)?

Akita dog is a large dog kept as a hunting dog in the Ou mountain range in the eastern part of Akita prefecture. They are very faithful to their master. In Akita prefecture there are several facilities in Odate City where you can meet Akita dog. For details, please refer to this site.

In Japan, Akita dog named "Hachi" is famous. He was born in 1923 and was kept in Tokyo by a university professor. The professor died suddenly. But for ten years Hachi has been waiting for the professor to return at Shibuya station which the professor frequently used. You can see the statue of this dog in Shibuya, Tokyo. A movie about Hachi was also produced.

Akita dog is gaining popularity worldwide = Shutterstock 3
Photos: Akita Dog (Akita-inu) -Do you know "Hachi" in Shibuya?

Do you know Akita dog (Akita-inu)? The Akita Dog is a large dog that has been kept for a long time by people hunting in the Tohoku region of Japan. Akita Dog is famous for being extremely loyal. In front of the scramble crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo, there is a statue ...

 

 

I appreciate you reading to the end.

 

About me

Bon KUROSAWA  I have long worked as a senior editor for Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI) and currently work as an independent web writer. At NIKKEI, I was the editor-in-chief of the media on Japanese culture. Let me introduce a lot of fun and interesting things about Japan. Please refer to this article for more details.

2018-05-28

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