Just minutes from JR Akita Station, Senshū Park (千秋公園) 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! What is 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 the country’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots!
A List of Contents
- Kubota Castle (久保田城)
- Yojiroinari Shrine (与次郎稲荷神社)
- Hachiman Akita Shrine (八幡秋田神社)
- Iyataka Shrine (彌高神社)
- Lotus Flowers at Senshū Park
- Meet Akita’s Native Dog Akita Dogs
- Senshū Park Cherry Blossom Festival (千秋公園桜まつり)
- Senshū Park Azalea Festival (千秋公園つつじまつり)
- Fall Foliage at Senshū Park
Kubota Castle (久保田城)
This 16.29-hectare-wide park is less than a 10-minute walk from JR Akita Station. The park is where Kubota Castle was and still is located. From 1602 to 1869, the Kubota Castle was the residence of the Satake (佐竹) family, the head of the Kubota Domain (also known as the Akita Domain).
In 1896, the ground of the castle was transformed into a park and was named “Senshū”, which has a meaning of long prosperity.
Although the castle we see today isn’t original (the original castle was burnt down during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912)), it still exudes a heroic atmosphere and was chosen to be one of the Top 100 Castles in Japan!
Yojiroinari Shrine (与次郎稲荷神社)
This shrine was built to commemorate a 300-year-old fox by the first head of the Akita Domain – Satake Yoshinobu (佐竹義宣).
Just after Satake Yoshinobu moved into the newly built castle, the fox appeared in front of him because the construction made the fox lose his home. Satake Yoshinobu granted the fox a piece of land, and in exchange, the fox delivered important and urgent messages to Edo Castle and would faithfully bring back the response in 6 days.
Cutting a long story short, the fox lost its life during his last mission, and when Satake Yoshinobu heard the news, the shrine was erected on the land given to him.
So, you will find a lot of fox statues in the shrine’s precinct. Each of them has a different appearance and pose. It could be great fun to check them out one by one!
Hachiman Akita Shrine (八幡秋田神社)
Hachiman Akita Shrine is where the head of the Akita Domain was enshrined. The shrine was burnt down in 2005. But it is still a place admired by the locals and tourists after it was restored.
The most special thing about this shrine is its fortune slips.
Apart from the standard fortune slips, there is also a pigeon version (the 1st photo in the IG post) and an umbrella version (the 3rd photo in the IG post). How about getting yourself one for a special memory when you visit Akita (^_-)-☆?
Iyataka Shrine (彌高神社)
Iyataka Shrine is probably the most popular during the high school/university exam season in January and February. That is right. The shrine is known as a great spot to pray for success in academic achievement!
So why Iyataka Shrine? It is because, at this shrine, two people who were called the gods of academics are enshrined here.
Both Atsutane Hirata (平田篤胤) and Nobuhiro Sato (佐藤信淵) were highly regarded scholars who had a wealth of knowledge in various fields.
At Iyataka Shrine, not only can you make a wish at the shrine, but with 3,000 yen, you will get a special set of items for students about to sit their exams, and they will also pray for you on your exam day!
The cheering set includes a pencil for you to use in the exam, a headband (the Japanese tie this around their head to cheer themselves on and not give up), a charm, an ema (a wooden plaque that people write their prayers or wishes on), and an Omifuda (a talisman made of paper or wood that is usually considered to be imbued with the power of the deities, but another type of Omifuda can be submitted to the god with your prayers)
Lotus Flowers at Senshū Park
If you are coming to Senshū Park between late July and early September from JR Akita Station, the thousands of lotus flowers in the castle’s moat will be the first thing you will see when you approach the park.
Although the weather is quite warm around this time of the year, we are sure those gorgeous flowers will cool you down a bit (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Apart from the moat, there are also lotus flowers in the Kogetsu Pond (湖月池), another scenic spot in the park for great photos! Please refer to the park’s map HERE for the pond location. There is currently no English map, so please try to find the spot on the right-hand side of the map using Japanese words.
The flowers usually peak in mid-August during the Obon Festival. So book your accommodations as early as possible if you plan to stay a night around the park (^_-)-☆.
Meet Akita’s Native Dog – The Akitas
From early May to early November, at Senshū Park’s Ninomaru (二の丸), there is a corner where you get to meet these cute dogs!
The Akitas come in different colors. At this corner of the park, the color of the Akitas that people meet rotates daily. So if you want a photo with all the different colors of Akitas, you might need to stay around the park for more than one day (≧▽≦).
Please refer to the park’s map HERE for where Ninomaru is located. There is currently no English map, so please try to find the spot on the right-hand side of the map.
Tip: The Akitas will be waiting for you from 11 am to 3 pm daily except for their 30-minute break, which happens at 12 pm and 1:30 pm.
Senshū Park Cherry Blossom Festival (千秋公園桜まつり)
With around 700 cherry blossom trees, Senshū Park was chosen to be one of Japan’s top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.
During the Cherry Blossom Festivals from mid to late April, various temporary stalls are there for you to grab delicious food from. At night, the park is lit up for visitors to enjoy a romantic atmosphere (*´ω｀).
If you want to plan your visit by knowing which part of the park has cherry blossom trips, refer to the park’s map HERE. The trees are marked by the pink stamp with a cherry blossom flower image and the words “さくら”.
Senshū Park Azalea Festival (千秋公園つつじまつり)
Besides the cherry blossom festival, the park also has an Azalea Festival from mid to late May.
During this time of the year, around 2,600 Azalea trees bloom in one go at the different parts of the park.
There are no temporary stalls, but the beautiful Azalea flowers make a visit worthwhile (^_-)-☆.
Refer to the park’s map HERE. The Azalea trees are marked by the orange stamp with the image of the Azalea flower and the words “つつじ”.
Fall Foliage at Senshū Park
While there is no autumn festival held at Senshū Park, the autumn foliage is definitely something to enjoy from the end of October to early November (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Refer to the park’s map HERE. The areas with fall foliage are marked by the orange stamp with a maple leaf image and the words “紅葉”.
Senshū Park’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information
- Shenshu Park is open 24/7 in general.
- Kubota Castle is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm daily except from December to March.
- The opening hours are extended to 7 pm during the summer school holiday.
- The admission fee is 100 yen.
- From JR Akita Station, it is less than a 10-minute walk to the park.
Find Out More About All the Great Attractions Close by
If you want to learn more about Akita’s local culture and unique festivals, spend half a day strolling around the attractions within walking distance from JR Akita Station!
Our article on Akita City will provide you with a detailed guide on where to go and what to do (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.