Kakunodate (角館) is an old samurai town with a rich history and lots to see. Near Lake Tazawa in Tohoku, Kakunodate has plenty of traditional samurai and merchant houses, as well as museums, cherry blossom spots and lots of free samples!
Budget travel tips
- There is a really helpful Tourist Information Center next to the station. Head there and get a free map. Everything is within walking distance and shown clearly on the map.
- Just like Lake Tazawa, check train times before coming, as there are not many cheap local trains.
- It’s great anytime of the year, but the cherry blossom season is particularly famous.
- Head to the convenience stores or river side for affordable food.
Main places of interest
The main tourist attraction in Kakunodate. It’s best to walk down these two streets and head into any open buildings that look of interest. Most charge a bit, but one or two samurai homes is enough! Some of the best in Japan.
Cherry blossoms along the river
Stunning cherry blossom trees all along the river. Lots of great festival food and a lovely place for a walk.
Lots of free tea, sake, miso soup and more to try out. Staff are super helpful and will explain about the items while you try them out.
West side art and slippers shop
Lots of little Japanese arts and crafts, so a good place for a bit of window shopping. Go to the back to see someone making Japanese traditional straw slippers.
Get away from the crowds at this quiet shrine area up an easy to climb hill.
Bark Ornament Shops
Hundreds of amazing items made using bark from the local area, with all sorts of interesting designs. You can also enjoy free tea and Japanese sweets at the front. Follow the red Merchants area route on the map below.
Provides a nice view over the town and another nice place to relax away from all the crowds. At the end of the samurai road, take a right and walk forward. Next take a left just before the petrol station and walk up.
How to get there
With the Japan Rail Pass
From Tokyo station, take the JR Akita Shinkansen (JR bullet train) to Kakunodate Station station (about 3 hours).
Without the Japan Rail Pass
Get an overnight bus with Willer Express (click link at the top for English) to Omagari or Morioka, then take the local train from there. You can also get a bus to/from Lake Tazawa.
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