Akita is the largest city in the prefecture, and as such is the hub for transportation, sports, and shopping. Its longitude is about the middle of the prefecture, and so is reachable from both the north and south.
In Akita, late June to late July is the rainy season. The spring and summer before and after that tend to have fairly moderate amounts of rain, and are good for outdoor activities. In November, it is common for some cold weather thunder storms to occur -- this is said to mark the end of fall and the beginning of hatahata (a local fish) season. In the winter, Akita sees some snow, though certainly inland areas get more.
Akita has an airport, with domestic flights coming in from such places as Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Sapporo. Buses connect the airport with Akita Station (秋田駅) -- a ride costs ¥980 and takes 40 minutes.
Akita Shinkansen service from Tokyo to Akita resumed on April 29, but trains have to slow down around areas where repairs are being made. Allow an extra hour or so if traveling between these two cities.}}
The Akita Shinkansen provides hourly service from Tokyo station to Akita station. These trains, called the Komachi (こまち) trains, have only reserved seating. The Komachi stops at Ueno, Omiya, Sendai, Morioka before slowing down to travel to Shizukuishi, Tazawako, Kakunodate, Omagari, and finally Akita over conventional rail lines. Trains also reverse direction once at Omagari, the stop before Akita. Komachi trains from Tokyo reach Akita in four hours and cost ¥16,800 each way. Beware that the Komachi trains are coupled to Aomori-bound Hayate trains, which split at Morioka, but as all seats are reserved the chance of getting in the wrong car is minimal at best. For foreign tourists traveling from Tokyo, the better deal is to purchase a JR East Rail Pass or the national Japan Rail Pass.
The Akebono overnight sleeper train from Tokyo's Ueno station, and the Nihonkai from Osaka and Kyoto, stop in Akita before terminating in Aomori.
JR Bus operates the Dream Akita-Yokohama overnight bus to Akita from the bus terminal at Yokohama Station (9 3/4 hours, ¥9,500) and from Tokyo Station (8 3/4 hours, ¥9,100).
Odakyu and Akita Chuo Kotsu run the Flora overnight bus from Shinjuku (8 hours, ¥9,450).
The Senshuu daytime bus runs from Sendai with multiple departures (3 1/2 hours, ¥4,000).
Shin Nihonkai Ferry (新日本海フェリー秋田フェリーターミナル), ☎ +81 018-880-2600, . SNF has ferries going north and south. Two ferries go to Hokkaido -- one to Otaru, and the other to Tomakomai. Both of those towns are relatively close to Sapporo. To the south the ferries go to Niigata, and also to Tsuruga and Maizuru (which are roughly near Kyoto). Reservations can be made in English by email. For Golden Week and busy times, ferries fill up weeks or months in advance. These ferries accommodate passengers with or without vehicles, though the ferry terminals may be inconveniently located for passengers on foot.(39.755088,140.058509)
You can get around by bus, taxi, car, or bike. Many bus routes start in front of Akita Station. In the winter, there can be snow and ice, so drivers should decrease their speed.
Senshū Park (千秋公園; Senshū Kōen). Senshū Park is a beautiful place to take a walk, especially during the spring season when the cherry blossoms are blooming. The park hosts a replica of Akita Castle, the original having been constructed in 733 AD. For a small admission fee, the lower floors of the castle contain a small museum, and the upper floor provides a panoramic view of the city.
Akarenga-kan Museum (赤れんが郷土館), 大町３丁目３−２１, ☎ +81 018 864-6851. This museum, built in 1912, hosts various exhibitions of arts, crafts, and historical materials.(39.716744,140.115651)
Senshū Museum of Art (千秋美術館; Senshū Bijutsukan), 中通２丁目３−８ (In Atorion Music Hall, south of Senshū Park and west of Akita Station.), ☎ +81 018 836-7860. This museum has Akita-related art on display year-round. From time to time, various exhibitions are here, too.(39.717532,140.12458)
Akita Prefectural Museum (秋田県立博物館; Akita Kenritsu Hakubutsukan), 金足鳰崎字後山５２ (NE of Oiwake Station, east of Kanaashi Agricultural High School.), ☎ +81 018 873-4121. This museum has hands-on exhibits on science and history.(39.817453,140.066103)
Masakichi Hirano Museum of Fine Art (平野政吉美術館; Hirano Masakichi Bijutsukan), 千秋明徳町３−７ (South of Senshū Park, next to the Prefectural Art Museum.), ☎ +81 018 833-5809, . May-Sep 10AM-5:30PM, Oct-Apr 10AM-5PM, closed Mondays, closed Dec 28-Jan 3. This museum, built in 1967, focuses on the works of Tsuguji Foujita.Adults ¥610. (39.719187,140.123014)
Round One (ラウンドワンスタジアム秋田店), 卸町１丁目１−２ (From the brown JA Building, follow Highway 13 south. Round One is on the corner next to McDonald's.), ☎ +81 018 896-6711, . Open 24 hours. Round One is a kind of indoor amusement park. You pay by how long you want inside. Once you're inside, there are basketball courts, roller skates, a soccer turf, lots of video games, and similar things.(39.701976,140.109426)
Aeon Mall (イオンモール秋田), 御所野地蔵田1-1-1 (Near the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 61, 4km south of the Akita Red Cross Hospital.), ☎ +81 018 889-6500, . This is the largest mall in Akita. There are many chain stores. In particular, there's a foreign foods store, and also a movie theater showing many movies in English.(39.662816,140.16072)
TOHO CINEMAS Akita (TOHOシネマズ秋田), 御所野地蔵田1-1-1 (Located in Aeon Mall.), ☎ +81 018-889-8500, . This theater is the largest in the prefecture. Some of its foreign films are in English with Japanese subs. See the website for details.Regular price ¥2000; seniors, students, ladies on Wednesday, men on Thursday, morning shows, late shows, one's birthday, first day of the month ¥1000. (39.662816,140.16072)
Cheese & Wine Abe (チーズ＆ワインアベ), 千秋明徳町2-6, ☎ +81 018 884-0093, . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6:30PM, excepting occasional days off. This store sells wine, beer, cheese, and scotch.
105 (イチマルゴ), 1F Fonte Building, Nakadori 2-8-1 (A block SW of Akita Station.), ☎ +81 018 832-5767. This store has a small selection of cigars. The owner can do special orders, if you ask.(39.716458,140.127617)
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. Of course, there are many non-local styles of food available in Akita City, including a wide variety of ramen and Indian restaurants.
Ebiya (えびや), 山王２丁目４−６ (From the Akita Prefectural Office, go a block east and a half block north.), ☎ +81 018 863-5856. M-Sa 11AM-2:30PM, 5PM-8PM. Serves tasty tantanmen. Several Japanese magazines rank Ebiya as the second best ramen shop in Akita.¥500-1,000. (39.72007,140.107339)
Kumari (枸茉梨), 広面字蓮沼９０−１ (From Senshū Park, take Highway 28 east for 2km. From the Lawson, go south 1 block. The restaurant is on the corner at the traffic light.), ☎ +81 018 825-2010, . 11AM-11PM daily. An Indian restaurant.Main dishes ¥1,000-2,000. (39.725576,140.149688)
Peacock (ピーコック), 八橋新川向４−１７ (From the intersection between Yabase Park and the Akita Prefectural Office, go two traffic lights north and 1 block east. Peacock is on the corner.), ☎ +81 018 824-6114. One of the top Indian restaurants in Akita. Vegetarian options available.(39.727395,140.102052)
Rakusumi (インド料理ラクスミ), 外旭川八幡田１２１−１ (On Highway 233, several kilometers NW of Akita University. Across from Sunkus.), ☎ +81 018 868-1777. M-F 11AM-3PM, 5PM-10PM; Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. This is a small Indian restaurant. The nan is all you can eat, and quite tasty. The curry selection is rather large, and tasty too.Main dishes ¥1,000-1,500. (39.743313,140.109914)
Ramen Nishiki (Akita Main Shop) (らーめん錦秋田本店), 外旭川字待合１６−１ (By car, go north from the large post office on Highway 56. After about 6 kilometers, turn right on Highway 72. The ramen shop is on the left after about 2 kilometers.), ☎ +81 018-853 4129. This is a branch of Odate's famous Ramen Nishiki. That ramen shop is ranked as the best in Akita, and this branch is also quite good. Another branch is located south of Yabase Park.(39.75124,140.096074)
Ramen Nishiki (Akita Branch Shop) (らーめん錦秋田分店), 川尻若葉町4-46 1F (From the Prefectural Library, go south. The shop is on the right, between the 3rd and 4th traffic light. It's the second building on a side street, so look carefully.), ☎ +81 018 874-7525. This is a branch of Odate's famous Ramen Nishiki. That ramen shop is ranked as the best in Akita, and this branch is also quite good. Another branch is in northern Akita City.(39.710488,140.092463)
Suehiro (Sanno Branch) (末廣ラーメン本舗秋田山王店), 山王２丁目２−４ (Just east of the Akita City Office, a block north of Sanno Odori.), ☎ +81 018 865-7373. 10:30AM-3PM, 5PM-2AM, closed Tuesdays, closed the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Delicious ramen. Another branch is near Akita Station.¥500-1,000. (39.720156,140.104335)
Suehiro (Station Branch) (末廣ラーメン本舗秋田駅前店), 中通４丁目１５−１ (SE of Akita Station, just west of Hotel Alpha One.), ☎ +81 018 825-1118. Delicious ramen. Another branch is near the Akita City Office.¥500-1,000. (39.715725,140.127249)
Taisho (大将), 旭南２丁目３−４０ (5 blocks south of the Akita Sky Hotel on Sanno Odori.), ☎ +81 018-862-5948. This restaurant is known for its tsukemen.(39.710164,140.113693)
Me~GO (ミ〜ゴ), 中通3丁目4-6, OMC Bldg (On the south side of eastbound Chuo Dori, 5 traffic lights west of Akita Station.), ☎ +81 050 1182-0103. 11:30AM-11PM. This Mexican restaurant has tacos, enchiladas, other Mexican food, and a large selection of alcohol. The tacos are made with corn tortillas.¥500-1,500. (39.716098,140.121337)
Cafe Brugge (カフェ・ブルージュ), 南通築地６－１７ (A 15 minute walk from Akita Station.), ☎ +81 018-825-0888 (fax: +81 018 887-5120), . Tu-Sa 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM. This is a Belgium-themed cafe. Sometimes it has live music in the evening.Main dishes ¥500-1,000. (39.710835,140.12678)
Restaurant Platz (レストランプラッツ), Omachi 1-2-40 (A block NE of Hotel Pearl City, 2 blocks SW of Senshu Park.), ☎ +1 018 883-4366. A restaurant and microbrewery. The portions are small, and the drinks are large.(39.719304,140.117837)
As one of Japan's most famous rice-growing regions, Akita has some of the best local sake in all of Japan. A great place to find many different bottles for sale (and usually free samples) is in the Prefectural Goods Shop in the basement of the Atorion Concert Hall.
Some travelers sleep in their cars, and if you can find a quiet area, this is typically not a problem. However, if you drink in the evening and sleep in your car, it is a good to use a personal breathalyzer before driving the next morning ‐ even a small amount of alcohol in your system makes driving illegal, and the police are known to watch for people who have slept in their cars.
Hotel Kenkoland Komachi (ホテル・健康ランドこまち), 卸町一丁目2-3, ☎ +81 018 865-0001 (fax: +81 018 865-0002), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. Single for ¥3500.
Hotel Pearl City (ホテルパールシティ秋田竿燈大通り), Omachi 2-2-3 (On Chuo Odori just west of the canal.), ☎ +81 018 862-0501, . checkin: 5PM. A nice business hotel in central Akita City.Single without meals ¥3400. (39.717974,140.116909)
Kakunodate, one of Japan's last true historical towns and filled with old samurai houses open to the public, is only about an hour away by shinkansen.
Lake Towada, a beautiful blue lake, is several hours away.
Lake Tazawa, with great hiking and skiing, is several hours away.