Odate is a city in the northern Akita prefecture, has small tranquil towns dotted along the river running through the mountains. The city center is located in a wide-spread basin, has two stations Odate Station and Higashi-odate Station.
Odate is the home of Akita dog or Akita-inu, a Japanese dog has been bred there. The Akita dog is known for "Hachi" which statue stands in front of the Shibuya station in central Tokyo. Hachi was a dog kept waiting everyday for its owner to come back at the station even after the owner had passed away.
In Odate City, there are places where visitors can meet Akita dogs. In fact, the highlight of visiting Odate is definitely to meet Akita dogs.
Furusawa Onsen (Koyokan) ふるさわ温泉 is an inn with hot springs spa. Akita-inu lovers visit and stay there to meet the "idol".
The Akita dog Hana and her daughter Haru at Furusawa Onsen. They are "literally" bright eyed and bushy tailed, and welcome guests with a smile.
Hana and Haru and their owner at Furusawa Onsen. Akita dog is characterized for its friendly loyal attitude as well as fluffy, cute looking.
The places where to meet Akita dogs can be found on the official website of Akita Inu Tourism (https://visitakita.com/en/). In May 2019, a tourist facility Akitainu-no Sato (https://akitainunosato.jp/) opened in front of Odate Station, where you can meet Akita dogs. The facility includes a museum of Akita dogs, souvenir shop, and tourist information office.
Other Odate Attractions
Although it is worth visiting Odate just to meet Akita dogs, visitors may as well take the chance of exploring the northern Akita region.
Nipro Hachiko Dome
A baseball stadium where various large events are also held.
Furusawa Onsen is just near the dome.
Local Delicacy - Kiritanpo
Kiritanpo is a roasted rice stick, has been favored by locals young and old alike. Being popular across Japan, Kiritanpo is sold at supermarkets even in Tokyo, but Odate is the place to enjoy the authentic taste of Kiritanpo dishes.
Hokushu Kurabu 北秋くらぶ, a long-established restaurant founded over 125 years ago, has served authentic Kiritanpo cuisine.
Kiritanpo is often cooked in a stew which is called Kiritanpo-nabe. The authentic Kiritanpo-nabe in Odate usually comes with chicken soup made with Hinai-jidori, the special chicken grown in northern Akita region.
Magewappa is the traditional craft created with thin strips of cedar. Since Odate is in Akita Prefecture, famous for quality cedar growing in the region, the locals have developed specific techniques to create unique woodcraft.
Local cuisine on the Mage-wappa dishes served at Hokushu Kurabu restaurant.
The wood dishes can help keep the meal warm, and the cedar-made material brings an antibacterial effect.
Magewappa handcraft lessons are available in Odate. Visitors can choose one of the crafts to make; a lunchbox, serving tray, and saucer, and take home as a souvenir. The material used in the lesson is precious Akitasugi wood over 150 years old. The cedar wood has a soothing scent.
Drum Museum in Kitaakita City (next to Odate)
Odaiko no Yakata is a museum exhibiting more than 140 drums from 40 countries across the world. This museum is basically a place to house the large drums played at a local festival. The largest drum measures 3.8 meters in diameter, and the skin is seamless.
The large drums are played during a festival held at Hachiman Tsuzureko Shrine, has a history over 700 years. The festival is annually held on June 14th and 15th.