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 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.
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 10 miles away
- Nyuto Onsen 16 miles away
- Tohoku 46 miles away
- Towadako & Hirosaki 64 miles away
- Dewa-sanzan 79 miles away
- Matsushima 92 miles away
- Hakodate 154 miles away
- Nikko 204 miles away
- Noto Peninsula 228 miles away
- Yudanaka 229 miles away
- Sapporo 244 miles away
- Hakuba 249 miles away
- The Japanese Alps 256 miles away
- Tateyama 268 miles away
- Matsumoto 272 miles away
- Tokyo 274 miles away
- Kamikochi 278 miles away
- Hokkaido 294 miles away
- Kanazawa 299 miles away
- Takayama 300 miles away
- Kamakura 300 miles away