Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to the Attractions around Akita Station

Akita Prefecture (秋田県) is one of the six prefectures in Northeastern Japan. It is a heaven for those who enjoy nature, with lush mountain landscapes and pristine beaches. The prefecture has abundant natural resources, including several national parks and a long coastline. But let’s talk about Akita City (秋田市) first. Whether you are only transiting at Akita or plan to use the city as a base for several day trips to other parts of the prefecture, you might not want to miss some attractions around JR Akita Station (秋田駅)!

Within a 15-minute walk from the station, there are quite a few spots that are filled with Akita’s local traditions as well as restaurants that serve mouth-watering food (=゚ω゚)ノ. Below is a list of attractions for you to consider!

Click HERE to skip to how to get to Akita City.

Akita Dog Station (秋田犬ステーション)

For all dog lovers, as soon as you get to JR Akita Station, you might be able to meet one of the breeds of dog native to Akita Prefecture!

Akitas look similar to Shibas, except they are much bigger. They used to be faithful hunters and the guard dogs of the Japanese Imperial Family. But nowadays, most of them are just fluffy house pets.

Around a 1-minute walk from JR Akita Station’s west exit, you should be able to meet these cute dogs on Sundays between 11:40 am to 12:00 pm and 2:10 pm to 2:30 pm at Akita Inu Satellite Station.

If you can’t be at JR Akita Station during that specific interval, another spot for you to meet the Akita dogs is just 10 minutes away from the station! You can meet the dogs at this dog station between:

  • 11 am – 11:30 am
  • 12:10 pm to 1 pm
  • 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm
  • 2:40 pm to 3 pm.

Note that it is possible that you won’t be able to meet them during the times mentioned above if the dogs are tired, as their well-being takes priority.

And if you are traveling by yourself, don’t worry; you will still be able to get lots of photos with those cute Akitas. The staff and dog trainers there are really nice and will help you with your photo with the dogs and answer any questions you might have about them (*´ω`).

You can check out their photos HERE on the official website!

Akita Dog Station at JR Akita Station

Akita Dog Station, a 10-Minute Walk from JR Akita Station

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

Senshū Park (千秋公園)

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

Just a few minutes from JR Akita Station, Senshu Park isn’t just another park you can find in Japan. In the park, you will find a castle, a tea ceremony tea house, three shrines, a museum, an art gallery, and even a library!

 Even more awesome is that the castle has been recognized as one of the Best 100 Castles in Japan, and the cherry blossom scenery in the park is also one of Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots!

Refer to our article Senshū Park to find out more information about this stunning park (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center (Neburinagashi-Kan, 秋田市民俗芸能伝承館(ねぶり流し館))

Have you heard of Kantō Matsuri Festival (竿燈まつり)? Also known as the pole lantern festival, it is Akita’s representative festival held from the 3rd to the 6th of August each year.

In this center, the biggest pole lantern (Kantō, 竿燈) has 46 lanterns attached to the pole and has a length of 12 meters, and weighs 50 kgs! Not only can you see the Kantōs used in the festival, but there is also a corner for you to play with the poles (see whether you can do one of those tricks the guys do at the festival)!

Important: Please notify the staff if you plan to hold one of those pole lanterns.

Also, if you happen to visit the center on weekends and public holidays between April to October, don’t miss out on their Kantō Demonstration from 1:30 pm to 2:10 pm and 1:55 pm to 2:10 pm (=゚ω゚)ノ.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

Of course, other things are on display in this art heritage center.

The first floor is all about festival-related stuff. You will find Akita folk performing arts introductory material and videos on the second and third floors.

On a side note, if you are thinking about how long you might spend at the center, we recommend one to two hours as a rough guide.

Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The Centre is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily except from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January
  • The admission fee is
    • 100 yen for university students and above
    • Free otherwise
  • If you also plan to visit Redbrick Local Museum (秋田市立赤れんが郷土館), get a combo ticket for 260 yen and save yourself 50 yen
  • The center is around a 15-minute walk from JR Akita Station

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

Old Kaneko Residence (旧金子家住宅)

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

This old residential house with a shopfront is just next to the Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Center. The city-designated cultural heritage property retains the architectural style of the townhouses of the late Edo period.

The Kaneko family used to own a pawnshop and second-hand clothes business. As the era changed from Edo to Meiji, the family’s business became kimono and fabric dealers. The family business ceased in 1975, and in 1996 the residence was gifted to Akita City.

The storage area is probably the most valuable part of the house.

Back in 1886, the whole property was destroyed due to a fire hazard except for the storage area. Since then, the family has treated the storage as a guardian god and has taken good care of it.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation
© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

Most people might spend around 40 minutes here. But this probably wouldn’t apply to you if you are an antique lover. The number of details you can pore over, such as the old utensils displayed in the house, might make you forget about the time (´▽`*).

The opening hours, admission fees, and access information are the same as Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Centre. Refer to the above if required.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

Redbrick Local Museum (秋田市赤れんが郷土館)

This Renaissance-style National Important Cultural Property was built as Akita Bank’s headquarters in 1912.

The first floor’s exterior is covered by white tiles, with the second floor made of red bricks. The contrast between the white tiles covering the first floor’s exterior and the red bricks on the second floor is quite striking.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

Tip: If you have time to drop by the museum after sunset, you will find the building even more splendid as the modern buildings nearby disappear into the night’s darkness (^_-)-☆.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

It took Akita Bank around 50 thousand yen back then (around 5 million dollars now) and over three years to complete this lavish building Σ(゚Д゚).

The building was used as a banking facility until 1969. It was then re-opened as a local museum in 1985 after the building was gifted to Akita City in 1981.

As soon as you enter the building, you will be amazed by the Baroque-style bank teller area. The intricate gypsum relief on the ceiling, the stucco, wood carving decoration, and various types of marble create a magnificent atmosphere for its visitors.

When you are there, don’t forget to explore the VIP room. The decorations in the room are even more luxurious than in the teller area. The safe room is another part of the building that you won’t want to miss out on.

Various exhibitions are worth checking out in the area that used to be Akita Bank’s meeting room.

Whilst the display area isn’t too big, it has all the crafts in the prefecture gathered in one place (which saves us, tourists, a lot of time and money).

© Tohoku Kanko

Redbrick Local Museum’s Access Information, Opening Hours, and Admission Fees

  • The museum is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily except from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January.
  • The admission fee is
    • 210 yen for university students and above
    • Free otherwise
  • If you also plan to visit Akita City Folk Performing Arts Heritage Centre, get a combo ticket for 260 yen and save yourself 50 yen.
  • The museum is within a 20-minute walk from JR Akita Station.
  • The required time to explore is 30 minutes.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

Akita Citizen’s Market (秋田市民市場)

Just a 3-minute walk from JR Akita Station, there is this indoor market you might want to visit if you have extra time to kill.

This market, known as Akita’s Kitchen, isn’t as lively as before, but it is still a great place to gain a good knowledge of Akita’s locally produced food that lets you experience the food culture of Akita up close.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

In the market, you will find everything starting from fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, and pickles, to Akita-made souvenirs, clothing, and daily necessities.

© Akita Prefectural Tourism Federation

There is also a corner of the market that is selling side dishes. If you are unsure what to have for lunch or dinner, get some side dishes and cooked rice, and your problem is solved! Of course, some dishes aren’t vegetarian, so if you have special dietary requirements, you can always refer to our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarian article (=゚ω゚)ノ.

If you are interested in something that can be eaten straight away, you can kindly check with the shop’s owner if you can try it out first before you pull out your wallet (^_-)-☆.

One thing to note is that the price here isn’t as cheap as we expected. It is possible to find similar products elsewhere with a cheaper price tag. But if you just want to get everything in one go from one spot, then Akita Citizen’s Market is the place to go!

The market is open from 5 am daily except Sundays. But we would recommend going a bit later as not many shops would be open if you arrived at 5 am. You will find most of the shops are still in the preparation stage.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

Akita Museum of Art (秋田県立美術館)

Just opposite Senshu Park, you will find a modern and sophisticated building. If you were the museum staff, you might notice that some visitors show no interest in the arts on display. Instead, they head straight to the staircases leading to the second floor and start taking photos.

These people are only here because the museum was designed by the famous Japanese architect – Tadao Ando (安藤忠雄). The building IS a work of art in itself!

Check out the photos of the staircases in the Instagram post; with the right angle, you will get yourself a picture-perfect photo – like the ones on postcards that cost money (^_-)-☆.

Another spot that those Tadao Ando fans won’t miss is the museum lounge over the water garden on the second floor. Overlooking the scenic Senshu Park, the view from the large glass window is a masterpiece!

The other must-see (if you are lucky) is the large mural “Events in Akita (秋田の行事)” drawn by Tsuguharu Foujita (藤田嗣治). Many people come to the museum just to see this piece of art as well. If this is also what you come to the museum for, check out what the exhibition is on before you come because this masterpiece isn’t permanently displayed in the museum.

Tip: if you don’t want to carry your bag around during your time in the museum, there are coin lockers on the first floor. Your 100 yen will be returned to you when you retrieve your bag. Also, prams and wheelchairs can be rented out for free from the reception on the first floor.

Akita Museum of Art’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The museum is a 10-minute walk from JR Akita Station
  • It is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily usually, but the opening hours may be extended when special events, such as Kantō Festival, are on
    • Refer to the museum’s schedule HERE for the days that it is closed for maintenance
    • You can translate the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar
  • The admission fee is
    • 310 yen for adults
    • 210 yen for university students
    • Free otherwise

Tip: The museum itself isn’t that big, so if you don’t plan to rest in the museum lounge, 1 – 1.5 hours in the museum should be enough for most people

Important: Food and drinks, including lollies and chewing gum, aren’t allowed to be consumed in the museum except in the café area. If you have a water bottle, please leave it in your bag. Also, please reframe from making phone calls with your mobile phone in the museum.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Akita City!

How to Get to Akita City

  • From Tokyo, it takes around 4 hours by Shinkansen – Komachi to get to JR Akita Station.
  • From Sendai Airport, depending on what trains you are taking, it takes around 2 – 3 hours to get to JR Akita Station.
  • You can also fly to Akita Airport from airports around Japan, such as Haneda Airport (羽田空港) in Tokyo, Osaka International Airport (大阪国際空港) in Osaka, New Chitose Airport (新千歲機場) in Hokkaido, and Chubu Centrair International Airport (中部国際空港 セントレア) in Nagoya.
    • From Akita Airport, the limousine bus will bring you to Akita City in around 40 minutes.
      • You can refer to the timetable HERE and translate it using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
    • You can also utilize reservation-based shared taxi services. Albeit it is more expensive, it might suit your itinerary better. For more information about the price and timetable and to make a booking, please refer to the Akita Airportliner’s English website HERE.
      • Note reservation through the internet needs to be made by 5 pm 2 days in advance. If you are booking through a phone call, please do so by 5 pm the day before

Akita Inner City Looping Bus – Gururu (中心市街地循環バス – ぐるる)

For the above attractions in Akita City, you can access them with the Akita Inner City Looping Bus – Gururu.

  • The bus operates from 9 am to 5:15 pm.
  • It costs
    • 100 yen per ride
    • Free elementary school students and younger
  • HERE is the timetable for the service. Please use the facility’s Japanese name to read it.
  • If you plan to board the bus more than three times a day, get one of the one-day free passes (1日乗り放題乗車券) for 300 yen from Akita Station West/East Entrance Information Center (秋田駅バス案内所) located outside of the west or east exit of JR Akita Station.
    • Or, if you have one of the below three transportation IC cards, you can add the one-day pass to your card on the bus.

Tip: If you plan to explore most of the attractions stated above, then get a Miruka Net Kururrin Tour Pass (共通観覧券「みるかネット・くるりん周遊パス」) for just 500 yen from one of the ticket offices of the nine attractions. This pass allows you to enter (once only) nine cultural attractions in Akita City that the Looping Bus stops at. The maximum saving for this pass is 840 yen. The best thing about this pass is you have one year before the pass expires from the day you buy the pass (^_-)-☆.

For more information about the Lopping Bus, please refer to Akita City’s website HERE and translate it using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

Visit Akita City by the Joyful Train – Resort Shirakami

Resort-Shirakami-Buna-Joyful-Train-Japan
Learn more about the joyful train with our article!

There are plenty of “joyful trains” in Japan but have you ever boarded one with live performances? Resort Shirakami (リゾート白神) is the only joyful train in Japan with live performances that includes shamisen (Japanese guitar), puppet play, and Japanese folk tales told in the Tsugaru dialect (津軽弁)!

The beautifully designed joyful train that connects Hirosaki City and Akita will bring you from the vast Tsugaru Plain (津軽平野) to Mt. Shirakami – the home to the world’s greatest beech virgin forest. Before reaching the shore of the Sea of Japan, you will be able to find one of the world’s most fascinating sunsets (*’▽’).

Exploring Ōdate City

Anyone who has been to or even heard of Shibuya Station (渋谷駅) knows about the Hachikō statue there. Hachikō wasn’t just another Akita. Due to his fierce loyalty to his first owner, he gained the deepest respect from the community that even a statue of him was made and then placed in front of the station (where he used to wait for his deceased owner’s return).

Odate–Kosaka-Railway-Railbike-Odate-Akita-Japan
© Akita Tourism Federation

Ōdate City (大館市) is where Hachikō came from. Although most of his life was spent in Tokyo, you can find Hachikō’s statues all over the city! Ōdate city isn’t just about Hachikō and Akitas, of course! Read on and find out where to go and what to do in Hachikō’s hometown (^_-)-☆.

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