Akita is known for refreshing sake, delicious food, vibrant festivals and the Akita Inu.
Akita Prefecture, a mountainous area along the Sea of Japan, gives its name to the Akita Inu. This large breed of dog was made famous by Hachiko, a faithful Akita Inu born near Akita's northern city of Odate.
Hachiko became the pet of Hidesaburo Ueno and was brought to Tokyo, where he would meet his master at Shibuya Station every day after work. Even after his master died, Hachiko waited for him in their usual place, every day, until Hachiko's death 10 years later.
During his lifetime, the dog became a symbol of loyalty, and continues to be remembered in popular culture. Today, a statute to Hachiko stands in front of Shibuya Station in Tokyo.
The Akita Dog Visitor Center in Odate is one of the many facilities in the prefecture where you can meet and greet these friendly dogs. Some of the Akita Inu have even been chosen as animal ambassadors of Akita. Guests can also find out more about them and pick up cute souvenirs.
Culinary and cultural delights
Akita is one of Japan's top sake producers and has a rich array of traditional foods including a wide variety of fish and vegetables.
Look out for the very succulent kiritanpo-nabe, a stew featuring chicken, mushrooms, Japanese parsley and roasted rice. The dish is best enjoyed during the winters, which tend to be extremely cold and snowy, yet beautiful.
Summers, on the other hand, are hot and humid. Many communities enjoy lively festivals.
Akita City hosts the annual Kanto Festival, held in early August. It features night-time lantern-lit parades through the streets and dates back many hundreds of years.
The Omagari National Fireworks Competition, a major event that attracts the attention of fireworks enthusiasts nationwide, is held in Daisen City every August. It typically features fireworks made by specialists from all over Japan who display their pyrotechnical mastery in spectacularly creative displays.
Find out more
Learn more about the Akita Inu at the Akita Inu Tourism website.