Located in the northern Tohoku region of Japan, Akita is a captivating destination that offers a perfect blend of relaxation, cultural immersion, and historical exploration. This picturesque prefecture is renowned for its serene landscapes, ranging from lush green forests and majestic mountains to pristine lakes and hot springs. Visitors to Akita can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Japanese culture, with opportunities to experience traditional festivals, sample local delicacies, and explore ancient temples and shrines that tell the story of Japan’s storied past.

For those who have a penchant for adventure and a love of history, Akita provides an abundance of outdoor activities and historical sites to discover. The region’s natural beauty serves as a stunning backdrop for hiking, skiing, and hot spring bathing, while its historical landmarks, such as the well-preserved samurai residences in Kakunodate and the ancient temples of Dewa Sanzan, offer a glimpse into Japan’s feudal era. Whether you are looking to unwind in a tranquil setting or embark on an exciting journey through time, Akita is a destination that promises to leave a lasting impression on every traveller.

Fun Facts About Akita

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  • Akita is Japan’s sixth-largest prefecture.
  • The summers of Akita prefecture are cooler than that of other prefectures in Japan. This also means Akita has far colder winters and it is not uncommon to see Akita being covered in more than a meter of snow.
  • Akita is comparatively a much quieter and rural prefecture than other livelier prefectures and is largely known as a farming prefecture with many rice paddies.
  • On top of its rural and quiet nature, Akita’s also known for being a historical city steeped in culture; with the Kakunodate city and samurai district being a popular attraction of culture.
  • Akita’s scenic mountain ranges and forests make it a popular place of travel for outdoor lovers.

What To Do in Akita

Nyuto Onsen

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park and above the caldera lake Tazawako, Nyuto Onsen offers several hot spring baths at eight different ryokan. All the baths at Nyuto Onsen are available to staying guests and day-trippers during certain hours.

Mount Chokai

Mount Chokai is an active volcano situated between Akita and Yamagata. The shape of Mount Chokai is similar to Mount Fuji, but its pattern and appearance are astonishing.

Mount Hachimantai

At 1,613 metres above sea level, this flat-topped mountain is perfect for a hike. Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery, numerous ponds, and evergreen trees.

Kakunodate – Samurai District & Merchant District

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Kakunodate, apart from the no longer existing castle, has remained unchanged since 1620. Feel like going back in time while exploring the samurai district and the merchant district. If you visit during cherry blossom season, you’ll experience a special combination of pink blossoms and historic homes.

Shirakami Sanchi

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the border between Aomori and Akita, is home to the last virgin beech forests in Japan. Take one of the popular hiking trails through the forests to waterfalls, mountain peaks, and lakes.

Kamakura Festival

The Yokote Kamakura Festival is held every year in mid-February at Yokote city. With a history spanning 450 years, the festival features igloo-like snow houses built across the city.

Kanto Matsuri

Held every year in early August, the Kanto Matsuri is a Tanabata celebration and one of the three great festivals of the Tohoku Region. The highlight of the festival is the display of skilled performers who balance Kanto with arrays of paper lanterns attached to the end.

Akita Museum of Art

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Designed by Ando Tadao, this museum exhibits a large collection of works by Fujita Tsuguharu, Japan’s most famous Western-style painter. The museum itself, with its unique architecture, is also considered a piece of art.

Akita Senshu Park

Senshu Park is one of the must-visit places in Akita, located on a hill that offers visitors a great view. The park features a temple and a castle, and it is filled with trees and various flowers.

What to Eat in Akita

Kiritanpo (Grilled Rice Sticks)

Kiritanpo is a local cuisine of Akita Prefecture. Freshly cooked rice is pounded, wrapped around skewers to form a cylindrical shape, and then grilled. Kiritanpo-nabe, where kiritanpo is placed in a hotpot, and misotanpo, where sweet miso paste is spread over the rice, are both famous dishes.

Inaniwa Udon

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Inaniwa udon, said to be one of the three most famous types of udon in Japan, has a history of more than 300 years. Created by Ichibe Sato and improved by Kichizaemon Inaniwa in the mid-Edo era, it has been presented to the Ministry of the Imperial Household since the Meiji era and has won numerous awards in regional food exhibitions.

Yokote Yakisoba 

With a history of more than 60 years, Yokote yakisoba is now proudly known throughout Japan. Yokote yakisoba has a springy and slippery texture of the boiled noodles in an original sauce, cooked with cabbage, minced pork, a softly-fried egg, and pickled vegetables.

Jumonji Ramen 

This ramen features a light soup base, made from dried sardines and bonito stock, bringing out the Japanese flavour of high-quality soy sauce created from fine-quality Akita soybeans and wheat.

Akita Kayaki 

“Akita kayaki” is a delicious and inexpensive food centred around Akita city. “Kayaki” is a hotpot where the shellfish is eaten on its shell. The term “kayaki” slowly derived from the local dialect word “kaiyaki,” meaning “grilled shellfish.”

Omagari Miso Soup with Natto

Full of mountain vegetables such as wild plants and mushrooms, together with natto grated until thick and sticky, and tailored miso, this is traditional home cooking of the Omagari region. Each household has an inherited way of cooking it, and it can be enjoyed at restaurants in the city.

Honjo Ham Fry 

Honjo ham fry is pressed ham coated in wheat flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then deep-fried. This dish was eaten as a snack in Honjo city in the 1950s and 1960s. It can now be bought at butchers and supermarkets and eaten at restaurants in Yurihonjo City.

Oga Shottsuru Yakisoba

A specialty noodle kneaded with brown seaweed and kelp soup. The sauce base is Shottsuru (one of Japan’s three major fish sauces), with either a salt flavour or soy sauce flavour. No meat is used in this dish, and each restaurant has its own original ingredients and recipe.

Aigake Shindai Curry

Much loved as a local dish from long ago, “himokawa udon” is unique for its noodles, which are wider and thinner than normal udon. Some stores offer noodles up to 10 cm wide, making quite a sight to see!


Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

The Japanese characters for hatahata consist of 魚 (fish) and 神 (god). As hatahata gather along the coast during winter thunderstorms at night, they are also known as “kaminari-uo,” meaning “thunder fish.” The fish is extremely popular with the people of Akita Prefecture. Due to overfishing, a ban was enforced several decades ago, but fruitful efforts have allowed hatahata to slowly return to dinner tables. Hatahata can be enjoyed in a hotpot, grilled, or even as sushi, and the roe, known as “buriko,” is especially delicious.

Where to Stay in Akita

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Akita View Hotel

Akita View Hotel is conveniently located, only a 3-minute walk from JR Akita Train Station and Seibu Department Store, and a 10-minute walk from Senshu Park and Kubota Castle. The hotel features comfortable yet functional rooms, four restaurants, a bar, and a café, as well as fitness centres, massage and sauna facilities. It is popular among solo travellers.

Akita Onsen Plaza

Akita Onsen Plaza is a ryokan boasting various high-quality hot spring baths and saunas, with amenities such as flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and vending machines. The ryokan also features the Shun-no-Sakana restaurant, which offers international dishes including Chinese and Western cuisine, alongside Japanese food.


The historical hot spring hotel Syohoen is a ryokan that breathes a historical atmosphere with surrounding natural views. Its history dates back to 1917 as a registered historical building, and it features high-quality and traditional kaiseki meals and dishes. The ryokan is a 20-minute drive from Akita Airport and an hour from the historical site of Bukeyashiki in Kakunodate.

Unique Things To Do In Akita

Odate Candy Festival

The Candy (Amekko) Festival is held on the second Saturday of February every year in the northern part of Akita. Visitors can try a variety of traditional and local candies and experience events and performances.

Akita Kanto Festival

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

This festival is held from the 3rd to 6th of August every year. Local people perform the Kanto during the festival and pray for a good harvest of rice.

Akita Port Selion Tower

This tower is designed with modern design elements and offers panoramic views of Akita.

Experience the Charm of Akita

Akita: Why This Japanese Lovely Prefecture Should Be on Your Travel List

Akita, with its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and unique cultural experiences, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From the serene hot springs of Nyuto Onsen and the majestic peaks of Mount Chokai to the historic samurai district of Kakunodate and the untouched beauty of Shirakami Sanchi, this prefecture offers something for every traveller. Akita’s vibrant festivals, like the Kamakura Festival and Kanto Matsuri, bring its traditions to life, while its culinary delights, such as kiritanpo and Inaniwa udon, tantalise the taste buds. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or a deep dive into Japan’s cultural heritage, Akita is a destination that promises unforgettable memories.

Staying in Akita is equally rewarding, with accommodations ranging from the modern comforts of Akita View Hotel to the traditional charm of ryokans like Syohoen. Each offers a unique way to experience the region’s hospitality. The combination of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural history, and warm hospitality makes Akita a must-visit for anyone looking to experience a different side of Japan. As you plan your travels, let Akita’s unique attractions and experiences guide your journey to this enchanting part of the world.