Kakunodate

 

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Step off the train and enter the “little Kyoto of the North”. It’s no surprise why people call it as such! Kakunodate has all the charm of Kyoto, but in a more compact less tourist-ridden package. Don’t let that fool you though. There is plenty to do and see in Kakunodate. The most famous sites in the area happen to be the samurai houses.  Only six of the many houses are open to the public, and two of them have an admission fee (Aoyagi and Ishiguro houses). For most of the houses, you are allowed to observe from the outside only, but it’s still a fascinating experience. The cherry blossom trees are another huge draw for tourists. Every year around late April to early May, the cherry blossoms in Kakunodate start to bloom. The most beautiful area to view these is around the Hinokinai river. Many people come here just to have picnics under the trees. There are also a few museums in the area, including the Samurai House Museum and the Denshokan, which houses many of Akitas famous handicrafts. The museums charge a small fee, so come prepared. You can get around Kakunodate on foot of course, but there is also a place where you can rent bikes for about 300 JPY per hour right outside of the station.There is also plenty of fun shopping and great food in the area. The most famous souvenir from Kakunodate are the beautiful woodcrafts made from cherry wood. Be sure to take in everything in this great historical town!