With its numerous local festivals and hot spring resorts, Akita Prefecture is becoming a favourite destination for tourists.
I was in Japan for two weeks for work-related meetings and it was an enriching experience to know about their culture and traditions. I visited Tokyo and Akita prefecture. Home to hot springs, Akita is a mountainous northern prefecture on Honshu, Japan’s main island. It has a unique topography and climate and is surrounded by Shirakami mountains, a world natural heritage site, Mt.Chokai, a beautiful volcanic peak and Lake Tazawa, Japan’s deepest lake.
A popular vacation area, you can find several hot spring resorts in the hills above the Lake Tazawa. At the western end of the lake, there is a famous golden statue of a woman named Tatsuko that has become a local symbol. This is a must-visit place in winter. Akita is also famous for Hachiko breed dogs and Sake. Sake is a beer made of rice and the locals say that it is the secret behind their long life and clear skin!
One cannot take eyes off from Akita’s beautiful snowfalls during winters. We can see a lot of tourists skiing. If you want to experience snowfall, visit Akita during February and March. Another interesting thing about Akita is the hot water springs — Onsen. There are both natural and artificial Onsens. Being a volcanically active country, the chilled icy water is heated by lava from volcanoes. Traditionally, onsens (hot springs) were located outdoors and both men and women bathed together.
One should also go for the Shinkansen ride. It is a bullet train with high-speed railway lines and travels at 300 kmph.
The locals are very friendly, helpful and eager to share their history with the tourists. I can’t forget my stay with them — they also introduced me to their traditions and took me to various places including plowing fields and shopping malls in rural areas. Even the shopkeepers and employees were eager to help. It was like enacting dumb charades!
One should definitely try their local dish Kiritanpo — sweet dish made of rice and Sake, rice beer. I introduced some Indian delicacies like biriyani, bisi bele bath, payasam and filter coffee to Japanese friends.
If you are planning to visit Japan, try and learn a few Japanese words to interact with the locals. Carry an English-Japanese dictionary always and most importantly pack a lot of clothes if you are visiting the place during winter.