Travel Thru’ The Lens: Princess Cruises – Akita with Canon 760D

After a day of sailing on the ship, leaving Hakodate in the late evening, we reached the city of Akita in the morning. Akita (秋田県, Akita-ken) is a prefecture in the northern region of Tohoku. Its main attraction is its natural beauty found at Lake Tazawa and the town of Kokunodate.

Kokunodate (角館) is a famed Samurai village that is at its most beautiful during the Cherry Blossoms (Shidarezakura) and Autumn months. Founded in 1620, the town has remained untouched and that is why for those who are into history and culture, Kokunodate provides the visitors a look into how the warriors and their families lived in the days of Samurai. For someone like me who loves to shoot street, landscape and culture, Kokunodate attracts me more than the natural beauty.

In order to reach Kokunodate, we have to take a fairly expensive JR Bullet train ride from Akita train station to Kokunodate. Just go to the station ticketing office and get the tickets along the JR Akita Shinkansen (if you travel from Tokyo it will take around  6 hours for a round trip hence it is better to stay at the town overnight). From Akita it took us around 45minutes. Why is it expensive? It is the only train line that needs a reserve seat. It costs us about 3000 JPY in total per person (around S$35).

Despite the language barrier, one do get the train tickets fairly easily. Pity that their kiosk are basically Japanese and will be a brain-ful for those who don’t know a bit of chinese characters. Good thing the service desks are around.
Akita Shinkansen train.
Okay they are fake Sakura but you get the idea. Kakunodate is also know as the Little Kyoto.
Here’s a walking map in Korean (taken from akita.or.kf). The cherry blossoms here should be awesome if they cater to the Koreans too!
Interesting conversation we have with the shopkeeper who used to work in Yaohan in Plaza Singapura. If you don’t remember Yaohan, that means you are too young…lol.
Summer’s sun getting to us but at least it is comfortable due to the drier conditions. There are small little shops while we walk the route.
You can immediately sense the relaxed atmosphere in Kakunodate. High school student on the way back from school.
There’s a lot of motorcycles here. Seems like a nice place to ride past.
There are road signs that points to the Samurai district (武家屋敷)so getting around is not difficult.
The surprise of the trip. You can see red maple leaved trees still around so late into Spring (or it is meant to be this way?) But it gives you an idea how the place would look during Autumn.
Something I thought I couldn’t shoot in April. Induced sun star flare.
Canon 760D did well with the kit lens. Sharp and clear.
Interior of the Samurai House.
In the interior of the house, you could even see some talisman being stuck on the pillars of the house. The bamboo is there for hanging laundry (I supposed).
Some interior decorations using the traditional japanese fans.
Here’s the main road of the Samurai District where all the Samurai Houses congregate.
The houses here are just magnificent even though they are considered middle class. Here is the Kawarada house which is connected to the Odano House.
The interior. This is where the fireplace is.
Rickshaws or known in Japan as Jinrikisha can be seen at Kakunodate. The pullers are also guides who tells you about the history of the area. Didn’t have a chance to try it.
Walking in Kakunodate is pretty easy but still need some rest. Stopped over at Sakuramaru Coffee at the end of the District and is just next to the bus park just by the river. Nice place!
Very cosy. Imagine visiting Kakunodate during winter time!
Thanks for the coffee!! Yums!!!
This is where all the weeping cherry blossoms are. Now they are so green and imagine them being pink during the sakura season (should be early November).
Nice walk along the river banks with the trees.
Here’s our ride back to Akita City
…and back on our ship. Taken with the Fisheye 8-15mm F4 L Lens

For more information about Kakunodate’s Samurai Houses you can check this link.

Next Stop: Toyama + Alpine Route.


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