Experience Japan's four seasons in Akita
Cherry blossoms in the Spring and bright greens in the summer, colorful autumn leaves and the snowy winter. Akita is an epitome of the four seasons Japans, embracing majestic nature with Shirakami Sanchi listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Property. Here are 5 landscapes of Akita selected from timeless beauty of landscapes to spots that had recently been put on the map.
Time travel to the 17th century seeing cherry blossoms in the old town
The Akita Shinkansen stop JR Kakunodate station area is famous for its cherry blossoms, with some 400 cherry trees in the town, among which were planted 300 years ago along the "Bukeyashiki Dori" where samurai mansions from the 17th century are preserved to this day. The Hinokinai River flowing nearby transforms into a pink tunnel expanding to around 2km. Every year around the end of April until the beginning of May, at the peak of the blooming season, cherry trees are lit up in the night time for a mesmerizing night hanami.
A Stunning Blue Hydrangea Field Grown From Just One Shrub
In Unshoji Temple in Oga Peninsula jutted into the Sea of Japan in the northeastern part of Akita, a stunning carpet of blue hydrangeas are in full bloom from around mid-June to the beginning of July every year. The flowers were divided from just one shrub over the course of more than 15 years by the deputy chief priest, Shuun Konaka and planted by hand. The view with the Sea of Japan in the background is a breathtaking scenery found nowhere else.
The 8,000 years-old Beech Woods, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Shirakami Sanchi expands to a 130,000 hectacres from the northwestern part of Akita to the southwestern part of Aomori. Parts of the beech forest have remained untouched for more than 8,000 years, earning them a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. There are expert leveled hiking trails requiring entry procedures, but others are routes beginners can go on with sneakers. Walk through the virgin beech in bright green or autumn colors, around the emerald green lake to see vibrant wild birds and other rare fauna.
Autumn Leaves from the Local Train Windows
The local train called "Nairiku Sen (Railway)" by locals start at Kakunodate station of the "Bukeyashiki Dori" and runs northward through Akita. Recently, more foreign tourists have come to visit there, because they are attracted by the pictures of Nairiku Railway, which is a beautiful landscape view from the train's window, on the internet. In fall, the train slows down at selected points for the passengers to take in the beautiful autumn leaves. You can also stop by one of the onsen facilities along the line to get some relaxation time.
Meet the "Snow Monster" in the pristine snow
Juhyo(Snow Monster) are trees completely covered in snow, grown by the strong wind which freezes the leaves and branches of these trees, allowing them to collect layers of ice and snow. Thus, the trees form turn into "monstrous" shapes. The best time to see them is from mid-January to the beginning of March every year. After riding on the gondola to the summit for 20 minutes and walking for 5 minutes, visitors must be overwhelmed by the spectacular Snow Monsters as far as the eye can see. It is about 30 minutes walk around Snow Monster's field. During the season, snow boots and ski poles can be rented so you can go there without gear and enjoy the tour of the magical white world.