Kakunodate 角館

Sakura tunnel

The Sakura Tunnel by the River

Kakunodate Tourist Office

The Little Kyoto in the North of Japan

Each spring in this city in the north of Tohoku, the cherry blossoms bloom at the bottom of the black palisades hiding secret houses. Discover the history of feudal Japan through the lanes of traditional wooden houses of the magnificent samurai districts and traders of Kakunodate, some of the most well-preserved in Japan.

Immersion in feudal Japan

In the north of the main island, Honshu, Kakunodate, nicknamed “the little Kyoto of Tohoku”, is tucked away,  yet quite accessible thanks to the Shinkansen’s Akita line.

Ancient samurai houses have been well-preserved and inhabited since the Edo period (1603-1868). They’re not influenced by the westernisation which took place in the Meiji era (1868-1912).

It has kept the same pace for 400 years, its quiet streets, its residential area with mysterious charm. In 1620, the Daimyo Ashina (feudal governor from the twelfth to the nineteenth century) ordered the building of a citadel north of the Senboku plain, a place surrounded by mountains, perfect for staying protected. Yet in 1656, the Satake family took the reins of the citadel and did not let them go for 200 years. 

A blessing, because Kakunodate enjoyed great prosperity, becoming the political, economic and cultural centre of the Senboku region.

Cherry blossoms in Kakunodate

Kakunodate Weeping Cherry Trees

Jerome Laborde

Samurai from another Kyoto

Tomachi, at the time inhabited by traders and artisans, is now a neighbourhood that mixes modernity and nostalgia.

Here you must try local specialities: kiritanpo (grilled rice paste), shoyu (soy sauce) ice cream and sake from pure sources in the surrounding mountains.

Artisans also make art from cherry blossom bark or kaba zaiku (see photo).

Kaiba zaku

Uchimachi district

Address, timetable & access

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