Akita Prefecture, the birthplace of the Japanese dog breed of the same name, has a distinct cuisine comprised of hearty comfort foods, from Kiritanpo (grilled rice skewers) to dishes made with their local Hinai Jidori chicken, such as Oyakodon. Bear and horse stews are also available for the adventurous eaters, though the classic Akita hot pot dish is, without a doubt, Kiritanpo Nabe. Due to the low fermentation temperature of Akita’s freezing winters, Akita sake is also renowned for its gentle flavor and drinkability.
Akita is the perfect winter retreat for those who crave a white Christmas, as it is one of the snowiest prefectures. Lovers of winter sports can blaze trails through the snow at local ski resorts, while those who’d like a more relaxing vacation can bathe in the relaxing onsen hot spring. Visiting the Odate Candy Festival, held every February, might seem like a surefire way to throw a wrench in your healthy-eating New Year’s resolution, but legend has it that if you buy candy from one of the stalls here, you’ll be immune to the common cold for the rest of winter. Meanwhile, the Yokote Kamakura Festival, also held in February, features igloos where visitors can warm up with foods such as hot pot and mochi.
While Akita is a gorgeous winter wonderland, it is also a stunning springtime retreat. As spring approaches, the weeping cherry blossom trees of Kakunodate will bloom, showering the landscape in pink petals. Lake Tazawa, Japan’s deepest lake, is another awe-inspiring spot surrounded by snow-capped mountains and featuring the magnificent red torii gate of Goza no Ishi Shrine, dedicated to the lake’s dragon guardian. And, with geometric modern architecture featuring clean lines, the Akita Museum of Art will satisfy the aesthetes’ desire to gaze upon the incredible works of man.
Kiritanpo is a popular dish in Akita. It is made of pounded rice wrapped around a skewer, and often grilled over an open hearth. Kiritanpo is enjoyed in hotpot dishes or glazed with miso sauce. Try this dish for yourself during this Farm Stay in Odate.
Located in Akita City, the grounds of Senshu Park are home to several different gardens for visitors to enjoy. Lake Tazawa, Japan’s deepest lake, has a gorgeous backdrop of mountain ranges, and is home to the bronze statue of lake-goddess Tatsuko, and a bright red torii gate on the edge of the water.
The Akita Kanto Festival (Pole Lantern Festival), takes place during August 3-6 and the Odate Candy Festival takes place on the second weekend of February every year.
Many come to Akita for its natural beauty. Enjoy bathing in an outdoor onsen during the winter and visit Kakunodate, which is known as a samurai district.