Famed for its Kanto Matsuri festival, Akita is a lively hub in the northern Tohoku region of Honshu. It’s home to fine-art museums and a picturesque castle park, while also being near hot springs and the rich samurai traditions of Kakunodate.
Things to do in Akita
Admire the works of Fujita Tsuguharu, one of Japan’s most famous Western-style painters, at the Akita Museum of Art, designed by renowned architect Ando Tadao. A highlight of the museum is the 20-metre-long mural “Annual Events in Akita” that illustrates city life throughout the four seasons, as well as temporary exhibitions by local contemporary artists.
Stroll through the green oasis of Senshū Park where a replica of the 8th-century Akita Castle is surrounded by cherry blossom trees. Learn about the castle’s history in the small museum, then soak up the panoramic views of Akita from the upper floor.
Make a day trip from Akita to relax in the hot springs of Nyuto Onsen, nestled in the mountains east of the city. Many of its traditional ryokans are open to day trippers and feature steaming outdoor baths overlooking the landscapes of Towada-Hachimantai National Park.
A visit to Nyuto Onsen can be combined with a stop in the former castle town of Kakunodate to learn about its strong samurai traditions. Its streets have seen little change since 1620, with beautifully-preserved architecture in its Samurai District juxtaposed against the historic homes of the Merchant District.
Getting around Akita
Akita is around four hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo, with overnight buses from the capital to Akita taking nine hours. Regular ferries travel north to Hokkaido and buses travel throughout Akita, while most of the city sights are within walking distance of the train station.