Kakunodate is a quiet town in the east of Akita prefecture. The town is enclosed on three sides by mountains, and the Hinokinai-gawa River runs southwards through it. It has a smart, elegant feel and is called the Little Kyoto of Michinoku.
Kakunodate is a quiet town in the east of Akita prefecture. The town is enclosed on three sides by mountains, and the Hinokinai-gawa River runs southwards through it.
Underneath its Tohoku (the northeastern region) appearance, the town has a smart, elegant feel and is called the Little Kyoto of Michinoku (the old name of Tohoku).
A large number of samurai houses remain in Kakunodate, making it one of the best places in Japan for viewing this old style of house. Some of the most impressive are the houses of Ishiguro, Aoyagi and Nishimiya.
There are also shrines, temples and merchants' storehouses, which seem to surround the town and give visitors the feeling that the history of Kakunodate is still alive today.
Landscape and scenery
Hinokinai-gawa River is lined with cherry trees for 2 kilometres. The tunnel of cherry blossoms that forms along the riverbanks in spring is beautiful, and has been designated a national beauty spot.
Even after the flower season, the banks are loved by the townspeople as a pleasant place to walk - after the cherry leaves come summer's green shades followed by the colourful hues of autumn.
Many traditional events are held throughout the four seasons in Kakunodate. If you come at the right time you can enjoy some of these: the Sakura-matsuri Festival (cherry blossom festival) in spring; the Sasara-mai (dance) in summer, in which people dance while they rhythmically rub two sasara (bamboo whisks) together; the stirring Oyama-matsuri Festival in autumn, in which floats collide with one another; and the Hiburi Kamakura in winter, in which a straw bag on the end of a rope is set afire and swung around to pray for good health.