Tokyobling's Blog

Kakunodate Old Town – Akita Prefecture

Posted in Places by tokyobling on June 4, 2014

Kakunodate town in southern Akita prefecture which is itself in northern Japan is lovely little town famous not only for its many cherry trees but also for its well preserved historic house district consisting of the old samurai quarters from when the town was a castle town. Being built of wood, these old style feudal houses are almost completely gone in the rest of Japan, making this town all the more important. There are few other towns in Japan that have even a handful of original samurai class residences left intact. The town has also managed to save quite a few old merchant’s houses and factories and most developments seems to have dropped off after the 1960s.

For me the most interesting photo in this post is the last one, which shows a humble town home where the owners haven’t removed the winter season’s protection! This is a common way of insulating homes in snow rich areas of the world, not only Japan. It creates an air pocket between the walls and the snow outside while also protecting the wall themselves from the damp. The outer layer is sacrificial and can easily be replaced when necessary. This far into spring all houses except this had already removed the winter boards. Maybe the owner hand’t been home for quite some time?

Kakunodate is extremely easy to reach and even possible as a (very) expensive day trip from Tokyo. First shinkansen in the morning, all day to explore and then back again in time for supper. If you are touristing in Japan and are lucky enough to have bought a JR rail pass you basically have no excuse no to visit Kakunodate even if you are based in Tokyo!













13 Responses

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  1. remszi said, on June 4, 2014 at 5:03 am

    what a lovely place!


  2. C said, on June 4, 2014 at 5:16 am

    The cat in pic #5 – OMG, so utterly badass! It kinda reminds me of a mural in Pyongyang, only with a woman in a university uniform, waving a semiautomatic in her hand…

    If you have a high-rez version, I want for desktop wallpaper. My poor hummingbird-being-fed-from-a-straw pic is getting way long in the tooth…


    • tokyobling said, on June 5, 2014 at 2:56 am

      Haha…. it is an artistic take on the classic Manekineko. I’ll see if I can dig up a high res short toothed version! (^-^)


      • C said, on June 7, 2014 at 3:48 am

        Yeah, I’ve seen the lucky cat all over the place — still hasn’t made me rich (yet!) — this is the awesome badass version for sure, with the psychotic eyes. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for spirals 🙂 Looking forward to cooler wallpaper soon!


  3. dragonlife said, on June 4, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Magnidficent Kura!


  4. pk1154 said, on June 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Ah, magnolias! Big, blousey, old-fashioned magnolias. *sigh*


    • pk1154 said, on June 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Right now I am also watching a program on NHK World about ayu fishing in Japan, and the grilled fish are making me hungry!


      • tokyobling said, on June 5, 2014 at 2:58 am

        Ayu is great! I have learned to eat all of it. The head is usually the tastiest part, but the stomach parts can be bitter. All good for you though, and quite ecological!


    • tokyobling said, on June 5, 2014 at 2:57 am

      There are quite a few of them all over Japan! (^-^)


  5. Timi said, on June 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    So pretty O_O I hope my magnolia I bought this spring will be as beautiful as this one.


    • tokyobling said, on June 5, 2014 at 2:59 am

      It might take a few years to bloom properly! Looking forward to seeing it on your blog Timi! (^-^) haha….


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