Kakunodate is a former castle and samurai town in Akita Prefecture. It’s located in a remote area of northern Honshu, the main island of Japan. Though the castle no longer remains, its samurai and merchant districts are relatively unchanged from its founding in 1620. At one time about 80 families lived in Kakunodate’s samurai district. Several well-preserved houses dating back to the town’s early years provide a glimpse into the life of a samurai. The Aoyagi House, with its thatched roof, is one of the most interesting. Part of an estate, its warehouses have been turned into museums that contain historical artifacts such as old bicycles, farm equipment, and samurai armor. The cherry tree in its garden is almost 300 years old. The Ishiguro House has a collection of samurai armor and clothing on display.
Weeping cherry trees were imported from Kyoto to Kakunodate during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868). Cherry blossoms are symbolic within the Japanese culture and are often depicted in various art forms. Their short-lived beauty is a reminder of the ephemeral quality of life. Somei Yoshino, Japan’s most popular variety of cherry tree, has white flowers tinged with pale pink. Hundreds of these were planted along the Hinokinai River, which runs through Kakunodate. In Japan, hanami refers to the national pastime of viewing cherry blossoms. Kakunodate is one of the region’s most popular places to enjoy these spring flowers.
The art of kabazaiku originated in Kakunodate more than 200 years ago. Kabazaiku uses cherry bark as a veneer for a variety of items such as storage containers for tea and tobacco, decorative boxes, and furniture. The craft has been carried on by local artisans, and visitors can see kabazaiku demonstrations as well as exhibits of other regional crafts at the Denshokan Museum.
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It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Years after years we have selected the best specialists about Japan. They have at least lived a minimum of 10 years in the country. They are here to answer all your questions and to make your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training & teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Noriko was born in Nagoya. During her childhood she moved around Japan following her father’s office transfer. She especially liked her time in Shizuoka, facing Mt Fuji. She now lives in Minoo (in the suburb of Osaka). Noriko graduated from Hiroshima university. She’s been to Malaysia, Thailand and Europe (Germany and Bulgaria). Her hobbies are hiking, reading and surfing.
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