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Akita is the original home of the Akita dog (Akita inu), the famously loyal dog of Hachiko fame. In 2010, the prefecture's population was just over 1 million people.
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Few people speak English in Akita. If you don't speak Japanese well, factor this into consideration when planning.
The dialect of Japanese spoken in Akita is called Akita-ben. In rural areas, Akita-ben can be very heavily used, and consequently incomprehensible even to native Japanese speakers. On the other hand, in most of Akita, the dialect is not so strong.
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Akita's weather and clean water are said to be ideal for growing rice, and the local komachi variety is sought after throughout the country.
Perhaps the most well-known Akita dish is kiritanpo. Kiritanpo is essentially a tube made of rice, generally formed around a disposable chopstick. It is often roasted, sometimes after being smothered in miso paste. It is also eaten in kiritanpo nabe, a stew of sliced kiritanpo, vegetables, and chicken or fish, most commonly eaten during the winter.
Though consumed throughout Japan, Akita's Oga Peninsula is known for inago, a sweet teriyaki-like dish made of grasshoppers cooked in sake, soy sauce, and sugar.
In late winter, hata hata, or sailfin sunfish is popular, usually cooked in a stew. It has a strong flavor, and females with intact egg pouches are most prized.
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Akita's famed komachi rice is used to brew many different varieties of sake, some of which are popular throughout Japan. Many of Akita's towns have a local sake brewery, some of which offer tours.
On the outskirts of Kakunodate is the Tazawako Brewery. This microbrewery brews a handful of craft beers, and contains a restaurant with all the brewery's beers on tap.
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