Samurai Street of Kakunodate is one of the popular sightseeing spots of Akita, Japan. Our hometown Akita has a lot of natural beauty, delicious foods and sake drinks. If you are thinking where to travel in Japan, Kakunodate is good to visit around April and early May. As other historic sites like Japanese castles, temples and shrines, I think Samurai District is one of the must-see sites in your trip to Japan!
Kakunodate is also known as a beautiful Sakura spot (cherry blossom viewing spot), but this year, they were in full bloom earlier than usual. So, when I visited there, most of the cherry trees were turning to green. They were also beautiful, though! Many tourists from both Japan and overseas seemed to enjoy sightseeing there.
In the Samurai District, there are former Samurai houses. Stunning!! Visitors can see inside depending on each house. This scenery reminds me of some Japanese anime and movies based on the ancient Samurai time! Can you imagine? (^^)
Also, you can learn about Kabazaiku, a traditional handicraft made of cherry trees, at Kabazaiku Denshokan Museum. They are luxurious and beautiful crafts, so I recommend them as gifts and souvenirs. At the edge of the district, there is a local artist’s art museum “Hirafuku Memorial Art Museum”, too. Please feel these Japanese arts as well as the Samurai history.
Now, let me introduce my favorite Samurai house, “Aoyagi Samurai Manor Museum” ! (Entrance fee of 500yen per adult / *As of April 2023)
First, I visited the Armory exhibiting a lot of ancient swords, armors, helmets, guns and so on. They are really cool!! Also, I could hold some of them. For example, a sword was so heavy that I couldn’t imagine using it to fight if I were there at that time… Armors and helmets were soooo heavy, too. I believe that Samurai must have been really tough… I’d like you to experience them when you visit Kakunodate!
Next, I went to Kaitaishinsho Gallery. I remember that I studied “Kaitaishinsho” in a history class at school. It’s the first translation of a Dutch anatomy book published in the 18th century. I was so surprised to know that it was the local artist, Odano Naotake, in Akita who drew such a historical book’s pictures!
Finally, this is “Haikara-kan”, a fancy cafe and gallery of antiques in 1800s and 1900s. On the 2nd floor, there is a collection of antiques from overseas. I was interested in those antique cameras, clocks and Victor Gramophone. They were so attractive! I think antique-lovers must be really excited!
My journey still goes on! Please check Part 2 of this blog, too! Thanks.
~~~ Facility Info ~~~
Kakunodate, Semboku City, Akita, Japan
＊About 10 minutes on foot or about 5 minutes by car・taxi from JR Kakunodate Station
＊By Bullet Train: About 3 hours from Tokyo
＊By Bullet Train: About 45 minutes from JR Akita Station
＊By Train: About 1 hour 20 minutes (Change lines at JR Omagari Station)
＊From Akita Expressway (Akita-chuo IC): About 1 hour 10 minutes by car・taxi
＊From Akita Airport: About 45 minutes by car・taxi
Written by Naomi in Ugo
＊As of April 2023.