Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture
After spending the morning in Akita City’s Senshu Park, I was off to Kakunodate in the afternoon.
If you just go to the Senshu Park in Akita and do nothing else, then you can easily also visit Kakunodate and enjoy everything there is to see! No need to hurry! ^__^
In front of Kakunodate Station there were some cute Totoro figures. There were also coin lockers available which was great!
Kakunodate is mostly famous for cherry blossoms and old samurai houses.
The street that led from the station to the houses was decorated. Colorful!
There were also a few smaller shrines and temples on the way. I was impressed by this huge statue.
Thanks to all the trees there was a pretty colorful graveyard on the temple grounds.
I loved this tiny pink house. If I remember correctly it was some kind of shop.
I have to admit that I mainly went because of the cherry blossoms and NOT because of the samurai houses.
I’ve seen so many old samurai residences already … and while they can be interesting, it’s not something I’m hunting for (unlike castles).
Furthermore Kakunodate is known as one of the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in the Tohoku region!
Hanami Dango! Of course I couldn’t resist and bought a few for myself to eat later while doing hanami (flower viewing).
On my way to the samurai houses I ran into a few spider webs that caught nothing but cherry blossom petals. I wonder if spiders like eating them? Just kidding …
Along the main tourist road, Bukeyashiki Dori, the samurai houses are lined up on the left and on the right.
Kakunodate flourished as a castle town and the seat of power in Akita during the feudal period. In the present day, Bukeyashiki (warrior mansions) with their deep groves of trees and dignified facades retain the face of the feudal period and are designated as a Historically Significant Traditional Buildings Preservation Area.
On top of that Kakunodate is most famous for the sight you see in the photo above with the weeping cherry blossom trees (Shidarezakura, 枝垂桜).
Unfoturnately the petals had already fallen down and green leaves were growing instead by the time I visited!
Inside the Ishiguro House.
In front of the “Aoyagi House“. I recommend visiting!
Photos were allowed and there were a lot of interesting and beautiful exhibits.
Old Japanese money. I love the one with Mt. Fuji and the purple 100yen note the best.
Some awesome old medals and a beautiful folding divider wall.
I loved those. Too bad you weren’t allowed to open them. I’m curious what was inside!
Latin anyone? In Japan you’ll actually find a lot of medical books written in German.
I think I mentioned before that Japan has a lot of its medical knowledge from Germany, so I was surprised to find a book in Latin instead.
The museum had everything from old times up to modern times! There were also clocks, cameras and gramophone records.
A bit scary, but somehow beautiful at the same time.
I left the samurai residence and was back on the street again.
There are many smaller cafés and restaurants where people can rest and enjoy the atmosphere!
Besides the samurai houses and restaurants there are also various souvenir shops.
When I suddenly spotted a cat related shop, I couldn’t resist any longer! ^__^;
A woman wearing traditional clothes is posing for the tourists.
You could also enjoy Kakunodate using a rickshaw! ^-^
There’s also a merchant district besides the former samurai district, but I wasn’t very interested and wanted to enjoy the cherry blossoms some more.
Kakunodate is actually a former castle town, but the castle doesn’t exist anymore.
Yet I wanted to go to the spot where the castle used to stand … because as you know I love castles (even if they’re already gone, I guess *g*).
And so I walked towards the cherry blossom paradise.
While the weeping sakura trees have already turned green, the standard cherry blossom trees were in full bloom!
Tons of trees line up along the Hinokinai River. A great spot to take hanafubuki photos.
The landscape with the pink cherry blossoms, the blue river and all the green was just breathtaking!
And as if this wasn’t enough already the mountains in the background had snow on top.
There was even some snow left next to the river although it was already May, but that’s Tohoku!
I decided to climb that hill to see the castle ruins. I also assumed that I might have an awesome view from up there.
Not many tourists there. I only met like 4 or 5 people.
I guess it’s not a main attraction. I also couldn’t find any details in my pamphlets.
And I was right! The view from up there was absolutely awesome!!!
All the tourists who didn’t come up definitely missed something!
As it was quiet up there (no people) and I had such a great view I decided that it was time to eat the Hanami Dango I bought earlier.
I discovered this old well as part of the castle ruins.
Up at the top where the castle once used to stand. It’s a bit of a hike up, but totally worth it!!
It doesn’t take too long. I’d say about 20 minutes one-way.
On my way back I was able to enjoy the cherry blossoms some more.
I totally liked the color combination of the house and the pink blossoms!
I went back to the river and decided to stay there until it would get dark.
For me that was the most beautiful spot in Kakunodate anyways!
And cherry blossoms just kept falling down! (*__*)b
There were a lot of people having hanami picnics or just enjoying the romantic atmosphere.
It got darker and fewer people were around. I could fully enjoy the landscape that way!
The black poster says: “I made nama morokoshi.”
The origin of morokoshi dates back to the Edo period. It is a refined and aromatic confectionery made from azuki beans and a popular souvenir to bring back from Kakunodate!
Back at JR Kakunodate Station that was decorated nicely especially for the tourists. Of course you can see posters of the beautiful weeping cherry blossom trees, the koi flags for Children’s Day in May and the rickshaw that you can use as means of transportation as we saw in one of the photos earlier.
I got to see a lot in just one day without rushing, so I’m sure you can do the same if you like to.
The next day I had a rather busy day. I visited Hachinohe in the morning and then moved on to the Shimokita Peninsula to go to one of the most sacred places in Japan: Mt. Osore. On my way there we were hit by a typhoon, though.
Stay tuned to read the whole story soon!
Thanks for reading.