Top things to do

Cultural in Akita

Akita Kantō Matsuri

At summer's height, Akita celebrates its visually stunning pole lantern festival. As evening falls more than 160 performers skilfully balance giant poles, weighing 60kg and hung with illuminated lanterns, on their h…
Park in Akita

Senshū-kōen

Locals flock to this lush, leafy oasis on sunny days. The grounds were originally home to Akita's castle, built in 1604, which was destroyed with other feudal relics during the Meiji Restoration. A picturesque, wate…
Izakaya in Akita

Nagaya Sakaba

Rebuilt after a 2017 fire, Nagaya Sakaba is easy to spot due to the massive Namahage demons above the entrance. Sake flows freely once you've negotiated the Japanese-only menu. If in doubt, just shout 'osusume' (rec…
Udon in Akita

Kanbun Gonendō

This bright, well-regarded shop specialises in inaniwa udon, a thin chewy wheat noodle that originated in Akita Prefecture in the 1600s. Locals seek out the chewy delicacy, often served cold with various sauces, whi…
Museum in Akita

Akita Museum of Art

Akita's most famous artwork, Tsuguharu Foujita's Events of Akita, is reputed to be the world's largest canvas painting, measuring 3.65m by 20.5m and depicting traditional Akita life through the seasons. It's the cle…
Museum in Akita

Neburi Nagashi Kan

If you can't make it to town for the Kantō Matsuri pole lantern festival, this small museum is the next best thing. The highlight is a large hall with displays of sky-high poles adorned with dozens of paper lanterns…
Cafe in Akita

Cafe Pamplemousse

This peculiar concept cafe enjoys a lovely riverside locale and is run by a busy young team of foodies who specialise in desserts, fancy teas and organic produce. The cafe's signature dish is an enormous fluffy panc…
Japanese in Akita

Hinai Jidoriya

Yummy oyako-don (chicken and egg on rice) set meals are the pick of this busy train station restaurant, plus a decent crack at the local hotpot speciality (kani; crab) often sold for far more yen elsewhere in town. …
Tonkatsu in Akita

Tonkatsu Ichiban-tei

Finding a decent tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) joint can be a transcendental – or at least rather comforting – Japanese culinary moment. Ichiban is number one in town and has a picture menu. Look for the pig sta…
Museum in Akita

Akarenga-kan Museum

Once the opulent headquarters of Akita Bank, this brick structure built in 1912 is now a local history museum. On the top floor you'll find beautiful woodblock prints of traditional Akita life by self-taught artist …