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.
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.
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.
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.