Even after After Corona, there were not many events held in April, and although some cherry blossom festivals were held in Tokyo, they were quite small in scale and the nighttime cherry blossoms were unsatisfactory, so I went to Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture, which I happened to be able to visit with my accumulated viewpoints.
It was my first time hearing about Kakunodate, but I was really satisfied. So I would like to introduce about Kakunodate Sakura Festival.
is considering to come Akita prefecture for sightseeing
loves Japanese history
wants to enjoy Sakura
Kakunodate Sakura Festival
This festival is a wonderful event where visitors can enjoy sakura spreading all over the area as spring arrives.
The Kakunodate Sakura Festival is held every year from mid-April to early May. At this time of year, Kakunodate Park and the surrounding rows of sakura trees are in full bloom, and sakura cover the entire area. In particular, sakura along the Hinokinai River creates a beautiful sakura tunnel about 2 km long. The sight of sakura leaves falling and swaying in the wind is sure to soothe the soul.
During the Sakura Festival, a variety of events and entertainment will be held. For example, visitors can enjoy local traditional performing arts, musical performances, and festival stalls. Also, during the Sakura Festival, the area will be illuminated at night to create a fantastic sight. The illuminated cherry trees glow fantastically, creating a romantic atmosphere. There will also be fireworks at the light-up ceremony on the first day of the festival.
At the Sakura Festival, there will also be local restaurants and stalls where you can taste local specialties and gourmet foods. Enjoying delicious local food and drinks while viewing the sakura will be an exceptional experience. The stalls are located in Hinokinai River Park, and there are tented tables and chairs around them so that you can eat at your leisure after purchasing.
In addition to the charm of the sakura festival, you can also enjoy Kakunodate’s samurai residences and beautiful natural environment. In the following pages, we would like to introduce other attractions of Kakunodate besides the sakura festival.
A town where history and nature are in harmony Kakunodate
Since the title states sakura, the main attraction will be sakura, but here in Kakunodate, there are some of the biggest attractions regardless of the season.
First, let us introduce the biggest attraction of Kakunodate, the Kakunodate Buke Yashiki (samura residence) . Here, many samurai residences from the Edo period remain, and visitors can feel the atmosphere of those days. Beautiful wooden buildings, stone-paved streets, and gardens make visitors feel as if they are stepping back in time. This samurai street seems to be the same width of the road as it was in those days, and most of the things are still in their original state.
Kakunodate Buke Yashiki is a historical area where tasteful buildings where samurai lived in the Edo period still remain. The Buke Yashiki area is still used as a residential area where local people live, and the tasteful streets remain intact. When you visit the samurai residences, you will feel the old-fashioned appearance and traditional atmosphere, and be enveloped in an air of tranquility as if time has stood still.
As you stroll around and visit each samurai residence, you can catch a glimpse of the life of the samurai and their families in those days. Inside the buildings, you will see gorgeous decorations and beautiful gardens, and feel the breath of the life of the samurai of that time. Some of the samurai residences also offer tours and hands-on experience programs to give visitors a deeper insight into samurai culture.
Firstly, the Aoyanagi House, the largest one that can be visited. An admission fee of 500 yen per adult is required.
The Aoyanagi House is a samurai residence built in the mid-Edo period and is now designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The spacious grounds are filled with gorgeous buildings and beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the prestigious lifestyle of the samurai of the time.
The Aoyanagi house building is a beautiful wooden structure that harmonizes dignity and elegance. The tiles on the roof, the carvings on the eaves, and the workmanship of the shoji screens show the attention to detail. Once inside, the splendor of a samurai’s residence spreads out through the tatami-matted hall, sliding door paintings, and ornate ceilings. Inside the building, visitors can learn about the history and culture of the samurai family through exhibits and explanatory panels. Firstly, the Aoyanagi House, the largest one that can be visited. An admission fee of 500 yen per adult is required. The Aoyanagi House is a samurai residence built in the mid-Edo period and is now designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The spacious grounds are filled with gorgeous buildings and beautiful gardens, offering a glimpse into the prestigious lifestyle of the samurai of the time. The Aoyanagi Family building is a beautiful wooden structure that harmonizes dignity and elegance. The tiles on the roof, the carvings on the eaves, and the workmanship of the shoji screens show the attention to detail. Once inside, the splendor of a samurai’s residence spreads out through the tatami-matted hall, sliding door paintings, and ornate ceilings. Inside the building, visitors can learn about the history and culture of the samurai family through exhibits and explanatory panels.
Tours and guided tours are offered at the Aoyanagi House, and professional guides provide detailed explanations of the history and features of the samurai residences. Special events and hands-on programs may also be offered. Therefore, when visiting the Aoyanagi house, it is recommended to check the information and make plans in advance.
This is a Japanese sword that any visitor can lift. There is also a spear next to it, so visitors can feel the weight of the actual thing.
The Aoyanagi house has an antique café called Haikarakan. The original coffee here is tasty and has little bitterness even when black. The cafes in Kakunodate at this time of the year are also full, so it is possible to relax here.
The Ishiguro house is a samurai residence built in the mid-Edo period and, like the Aoyanagi house, is now designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The building is a massive wooden structure that evokes the prestige and elegance of the samurai class of the time. The hall, guest rooms, and shoin (drawing room) are all covered with tatami mats, creating a beautiful and tranquil atmosphere of Japanese style. Inside the building, there are exhibits and materials related to the life and history of the samurai, giving visitors a glimpse into the history of the samurai.
Admission to this museum is also 500 yen per adult.
Visitors can take a guided tour (free of charge) of the Ishiguro House and hear detailed explanations of its history and culture from a professional guide. While gaining a deeper understanding of the structure and significance of samurai residences, visitors can learn about the lifestyle and customs of the samurai of the time.
When visiting Ishiguro House in Kakunodate, it is important to take off your shoes and walk respectfully on the traditional Japanese tatami mat floors. Please also note that taking pictures and touching the building may be restricted, so please follow the directions.
The gourmet cuisine of Kakunodate is also noteworthy! You can enjoy a wide variety of local cuisine using local ingredients. At Cafe Inaho, you can sit by the window and enjoy your meal while viewing sakura inside the restaurant during the spring season.
Here at Cafe Inaho, you can enjoy dishes using Kakunodate’s specialties, such as Gakko Kaiseki and Inaniwa Udon noodles. I ordered Inaniwa udon, a specialty of Inaho. It was cold, so it might have tasted better in summer than in spring when it was still chilly.
Restaurant Sakura No Sato
This restaurant is famous for the “original ultimate Hinai Jidori oyakodon,” the first of its kind in Kakunodate. The bowl of rice topped with three eggs and meat from Hinai Jidori chicken is limited to 30 servings a day, and a long line of customers forms even before the restaurant opens.
It was so delicious that it was the first time I was impressed with oyakodon myself. Don’t the eggs look shining?
By the way, this ultimate Hinai Jidori oyakodon was featured in Tetsuro Degawa’s “Let me recharge my batteries,” and “Tabi Salad. and “Tabi Salad” which is a Japanese tv program.
It is a stylish cafe. There are many customers because it faces a street with many tourists, but you can see weeping sakura from the terrace while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Nearby is the Kakunodate Kabazaiku Handicraft Museum (marked by weeping sakura), which also has a café space. There are only a handful of cafes in the area, so it is not unusual to have to wait for a café.
Special Mont Blanc shop REGAL RITZ
I learned for the first time that Kakunodate chestnuts are like a sweet that boasts a history of over 300 years.
They are very particular about the chestnuts they offer because they have their own unique production method, and their freshly squeezed Mont Blanc, which is available in limited quantities, is made on the spot after ordering and looks and tastes first class, sure to be Instagram-worthy!
When I went there in the afternoon, this freshly squeezed Mont Blanc was sold out, so I went the next day just in time for opening time. However, even at that point, there were already dozens of people in line, which shows how popular it is.
Montblanc to-go is also available, so if you want to enjoy Kakunodate’s sweets, this place is a must.
It was raining unfortunately that day, but I was glad to be able to see the beauty of the sakura even from the pictures I was able to take when it stopped for a short while. If you missed the sakura in Kanto, why don’t you come to Tohoku?
Tohoku is famous for sake. I am not a sake drinker, but if you like sake, there are other elements to enjoy such as locally brewed sake.