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October 18, 2018 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)

This travel report is a continuing series highlighting the various destinations of the Tohoku Region. In this report I traveled to a town called Kakunodate, located in Akita Prefecture.

Kakunodate is known as the Kyoto of Tohoku due to its picturesque streetscape with its distinctive black board fence along the entire street to its cherry blossoms in the Spring. The town has two important districts: Samurai and Merchant Districts. The Samurai District is probably the more famous of the two due to its history and numerous museum, whereas the Merchant District is smaller and have fewer things to see and do.

The day started early after breakfast by walking to Akita Station and taking the Akita Shinkansen. Remember all seats are reserved!

The ride from Akita Station is through the Mini Shinkansen
Store selling miso and soy sauce

Focusing on the Samurai District, there are two important former villas that are open to the public. Ishiguro House (Ishiguro-ke) is the smaller of the two well-known museums but to me is more interesting because a direct descendant of a samurai gave an amazing English tour of his former home. It was such a personal touch and he was very well informed. The photos below are just a small number that I took.

Entrance to Ishiguro House
Calligraphy
Use of light to imprint art on a blank wall
The actual wood carving above the sliding doors

The second, and much larger museum is Aoyagi House (Aoyagi-ke), located immediately next door to the museum above and consist of multiple buildings all placed within a courtyard and garden setting. This museum has an extensive display of Samurai artifacts and storehouse collections.

Map showing the Aoyagi House property
A haunting display of Samurai gear
Private transportation back in the day

There are other smaller museums in the district and is worth exploring. Another section of Kakunodate is the Merchant district. This district is less cohesive in its museum lineup but still worth visiting.

One such location is the Nishinomiya House, owned by a successful family. This large compound included the main residential dwelling, storehouse, and several other buildings. The compound includes a museum, cafe, and store.

Map showing Nishinomiya House

Overall Kakunodate is well worth the trip and a good day trip from Akita City. You get to see how the Samurai lived and see some rare artifacts owned by real Samurai clans.

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List of Posts:
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (bcR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (c)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (Hcs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium