Oct
11
2012

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! ^__^

smilie Visited: May 2nd 2012 smilie

Kakunodate

In front of Kakunodate Station there were some cute Totoro figures. There were also coin lockers available which was great!

 

Exploring Kakunodate

Kakunodate Kakunodate

Kakunodate is mostly famous for cherry blossoms and old samurai houses.
The street that led from the station to the houses was decorated. Colorful!

statue in akita prefecture statue in akita prefecture

There were also a few smaller shrines and temples on the way. I was impressed by this huge statue.

japan temple in spring

Thanks to all the trees there was a pretty colorful graveyard on the temple grounds.

pink house in japan Kakunodate

I loved this tiny pink house. If I remember correctly it was some kind of shop.

Cherry blossoms Japan Cherry blossoms in Japan

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!

Kakunodate Cherry blossoms Japan

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 …

Kakunodate

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!

Kakunodate

The two biggest and most impressive warrior mansions are: “Aoyagi House” and “Ishiguro House“.

Kakunodate

Inside the Ishiguro House.

Kakunodate

In front of the “Aoyagi House“. I recommend visiting!

Kakunodate

Photos were allowed and there were a lot of interesting and beautiful exhibits.

Kakunodate

Old Japanese money. I love the one with Mt. Fuji and the purple 100yen note the best.

Kakunodate Kakunodate

Some awesome old medals and a beautiful folding divider wall.

Kakunodate Aoyagi House

I loved those. Too bad you weren’t allowed to open them. I’m curious what was inside!

Kakunodate Aoyagi House

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.

Kakunodate Aoyagi House Kakunodate Aoyagi House

The museum had everything from old times up to modern times! There were also clocks, cameras and gramophone records.

Kakunodate

Kakunodate

A bit scary, but somehow beautiful at the same time.

I left the samurai residence and was back on the street again.

Kakunodate

There are many smaller cafés and restaurants where people can rest and enjoy the atmosphere!

Kakunodate Kakunodate

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! ^__^;

 

Kakunodate

A woman wearing traditional clothes is posing for the tourists.

Kakunodate rickshaw

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*).

Cherry blossoms Japan

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!

Cherry blossoms Japan

Tons of trees line up along the Hinokinai River. A great spot to take hanafubuki photos.

Kakunodate

The landscape with the pink cherry blossoms, the blue river and all the green was just breathtaking!

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

And as if this wasn’t enough already the mountains in the background had snow on top.

Kakunodate

There was even some snow left next to the river although it was already May, but that’s Tohoku!

Kakunodate

I decided to climb that hill to see the castle ruins. I also assumed that I might have an awesome view from up there.

Kakunodate Kakunodate

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.

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

And I was right! The view from up there was absolutely awesome!!!
All the tourists who didn’t come up definitely missed something!

Kakunodate Kakunodate

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.

Kakunodate Castle Ruins

I discovered this old well as part of the castle ruins.

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

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.

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita Kakunodate

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!

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

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!

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

And cherry blossoms just kept falling down! (*__*)b

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

There were a lot of people having hanami picnics or just enjoying the romantic atmosphere.

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate, Akita

It got darker and fewer people were around. I could fully enjoy the landscape that way!

Kakunodate nama morokoshi

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!

Kakunodate JR Station decoration for spring and Children Day

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. smilie

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