Semboku City in Akita is a series of rural districts located in the northern part of Tohoku, Japan. It is a region blessed with mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, and a sea of rice fields. Winter brings with it snow, turning the region into a winter wonderland. It is only a three hour JR shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo to Semboku, and there are two conveniently-placed stops within the city.
Semboku is famous for its numerous sightseeing spots, such as Kakunodate’s samurai mansions, Nyuto Onsen (hot spring), Lake Tazawa, as well as its Cherry Blossom Festival and the autumn leaves of Dakigaeri Valley. Eight such spots have been published in the Tohoku Edition of the Michelin Green Guide Japan. Here visitors can also enjoy an abundance of winter snow festivals and traditional festivals that have been designated Intangible Cultural Heritages by UNESCO.
The Tohoku region has much to offer visitors to Semboku City year-round, thanks to its clearly defined four seasons.
In spring, you can see cherry blossoms, skunk cabbage and dogtooth violet flower fields, alpine plants, and the planting of rice.
From spring to autumn, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing and camping.
With autumn come the vivid colors of autumn leaves and rice plants.
During winter, visitors can go skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoe hiking in beautiful powder snow.
Though there are about 100 different accommodations available in Semboku, which include hotels, ryokan inns, lodges, bed and breakfasts and about twenty farm-inns. Many tour groups come to visit this area not just for sightseeing, but also to take part in farm stays and educational experiences.
Between the months of May and November, visitors can experience a variety of different activities alongside the farmers, (their hosts), including the planting and harvesting of rice, harvesting seasonal vegetables, and making local dishes with freshly harvested produce. There are also farm stays that offer unique experiences other than farm work, such as opportunities to wear kimono. For those that want to get away from hotel and ryokan inn style accommodations and really experience regional Japanese life, farm stays are highly recommended.
As Akita is well known for its rice cultivation, Akita is also famous for its sake, or rice wine. There are numerous varieties of rice wine available here, and visitors can take part in sake distillery tours as well.
Kabazaiku is an especially popular souvenir item in Kakunodate. Kabazaiku is a traditional art where everyday items are crafted from the bark of the cherry tree, and is a tradition that has been passed down since the days of the samurai that once lived in Kakunodate.
Unspoiled rural landscapes and nature, sightseeing, farmstays and much more can all be enjoyed in the historical city of Semboku.
For more on Semboku City
For Sightseeing Inquiries
Tazawako Tourist Information Center (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kakunodate Tourist Information Center (Email: email@example.com)
For Farmstay Inquiries
Semboku City, Akita Prefecture Rural Experience Design Office