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 two kilometers. 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 colorful 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.
Suggested itinerary featuring Kakunodate
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Kakunodate, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Kakunodate
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Kakunodate
- Tazawako 16 kilometers away
- Nyuto Onsen 26 kilometers away
- Tohoku 74 kilometers away
- Towadako & Hirosaki 103 kilometers away
- Dewa-sanzan 127 kilometers away
- Matsushima 148 kilometers away
- Hakodate 247 kilometers away
- Nikko 328 kilometers away
- Noto Peninsula 367 kilometers away
- Yudanaka 369 kilometers away
- Sapporo 392 kilometers away
- Hakuba 400 kilometers away
- The Japanese Alps 412 kilometers away
- Tateyama 432 kilometers away
- Matsumoto 438 kilometers away
- Tokyo 441 kilometers away
- Kamikochi 448 kilometers away
- Hokkaido 472 kilometers away
- Kanazawa 481 kilometers away
- Takayama 483 kilometers away
- Kamakura 483 kilometers away