Akita Prefecture

Akita Prefecture (秋田県 Akita-ken) is a prefecture located in the Tōhoku region of Japan.[1] The capital is the city of Akita.[2]

Akita Prefecture

Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese秋田県
 • RōmajiAkita-ken
Flag of Akita Prefecture

Official logo of Akita Prefecture

Location of Akita Prefecture
CapitalAkita (city)
SubdivisionsDistricts: 6, Municipalities: 25
 • GovernorNorihisa Satake
 • Total11,637.52 km2 (4,493.27 sq mi)
Area rank6th
 (June 1, 2019)
 • Total969,462
 • Rank38th
 • Density83/km2 (220/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-05
WebsiteAkita Prefecture Official page of English
BirdCopper pheasant (Phasianus soemmerringii)
FlowerFuki (a kind of butterbur, Petasites japonicus)
TreeAkita-sugi (Cryptomeria japonica)


The area of Akita has been created from the ancient provinces of Dewa and Mutsu.[3]

Separated from the principal Japanese centres of commerce, politics, and population by several hundred kilometres and the Ōu and Dewa mountain ranges to the east, Akita remained largely isolated from Japanese society until after the year 600. Akita was a region of hunter-gatherers and principally nomadic tribes.

The first historical record of what is now Akita Prefecture dates to 658, when the Abe no Hirafu conquered the native Ezo tribes at what are now the cities of Akita and Noshiro. Hirafu, then governor of Koshi Province (the northwest part of Honshū bordering the Sea of Japan), established a fort on the Mogami River, and thus began the Japanese settlement of the region.

In 733, a new military settlement—later renamed Akita Castle—was built in modern-day Akita city at Takashimizu, and more permanent roads and structures were developed. The region was used as a base of operations for the Japanese empire as it drove the native Ezo people from northern Honshū.

It shifted hands several times. During the Tokugawa shogunate it was appropriated to the Satake clan, who ruled the region for 260 years, developing the agriculture and mining industries that are still predominant today. Throughout this period, it was classified as part of Dewa Province.[1] In 1871, during the Meiji Restoration, Dewa Province was reshaped and the old daimyō domains were abolished and administratively reconstructed, resulting in the modern-day borders of Akita.

The famous Heian period waka poet, Ono no Komachi, is said to have been born in Yuzawa City, Ogachi Town, located in the southeast of the prefecture.


Akita Prefecture cities and towns
Map of Akita Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
View of Akita city from Kubota Castle 01
Akita City
View of Yokote City from Akita Museum of Modern Art
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

Located in the north of Honshu, Akita Prefecture faces the Sea of Japan in the west and is bordered by four other prefectures: Aomori in the north, Iwate in the east, Miyagi in the southeast, and Yamagata in the south.

Akita Prefecture is rectangular in shape, roughly 181 km from north to south and 111 km from west to east. The Ōu Mountains mark the eastern border of the prefecture, and the higher Dewa Mountains run parallel through the center of the prefecture. Like much of northern Japan, the prefecture has cold winters, particularly away from the sea.

The Oga Peninsula is a prominent feature of the coastline.

As of 31 March 2019, 11% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Towada-Hachimantai National Park; Chōkai, Kurikoma, and Oga Quasi-National Parks; and Akita Shirakami, Hachimori Iwadate, Kimimachizaka, Magi Mahiru, Moriyoshizan, Taiheizan, Tashirodake, and Tazawako Dakigaeri Prefectural Natural Parks.[5][6]


Thirteen cities are located in Akita Prefecture:

Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district:


List of governor of Akita Prefecture (from 1947)

Name Term start Term end Notes (political party)
1 Kosaku Hasuike (蓮池公咲) 12 April, 1947 4 April, 1951 Akita Prefecture Democratic Party (秋田県民主党)
2 Tokuji Ikeda (池田徳治) 30 April, 1951 29 April, 1955 Independent (無所属)
3 Yujiro Obata (小畑勇二郎) 30 April, 1955 29 April, 1979 Independent
4 Kikuji Sasaki (佐々木喜久治) 30 April, 1979 31 March, 1997 Independent
5 Sukeshiro Terata (寺田典城) 20 April, 1997 19 April, 2009 Independent
6 Norihisa Satake (佐竹敬久) 20 April, 2009 Present Independent


Akita City New Residents
Note: Data in the chart above was taken over the course of five years (2003-2008). The graph shows how many people migrated to Akita City from other prefectures. Overall the net gain of new residents was 4,981 people, or 1.5%.[7]

Like much of the Tōhoku Region, Akita's economy remains dominated by traditional industries, such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry. This has led many young people to migrate to Tokyo and other large cities. Akita Prefecture is where declines in population are most severe in Japan; it is one of four prefectures in Japan registering declines in population since 1945. It also has the lowest number of children as a percentage of the population, at 11.2%.[8] As of 2010, it has a population of just over 1 million people.[9]

The high rate of depopulation in Akita Prefecture has led to the merging of smaller communities, which has affected the smallest of the merged communities. As depopulation in these communities and the migration to larger communities continues, educational and health facilities have closed in some areas, leading to the continuation of the migration of families to larger cities for better access to health and educational opportunities. The decline in younger generations has led to concerns for sustaining rural communities facing issues of aging and depopulation.[7]


Akita is famous for rice farming and its sake breweries.[10] It is well known for having the highest consumption of sake in Japan,[11] and thought to be the origin of the Akita breed of dog which carries the prefecture's name. The women of the region, referred to as Akita bijin (秋田美人 'beauties of Akita'), have also gained widespread renown for their white skin, rounded faces and high voices, all of which are considered highly desirable.[12] Ono no Komachi is a famous example of an Akita bijin.


Akita is known for the following regional specialties (tokusanhin):


Samurai house in Kakunodate

Recently there have been efforts to revitalize rural communities facing depopulation with different forms of green tourism as well as agritourism.[14] These efforts primarily aim at urbanites and in some cases foreign tourists, advertising the pristine forests of Akita prefecture as well as its many intangible cultures and sprawling rice fields.[7] In Akita there has been a push for home stays, farmers markets for locally produced foods, and the integration of outsiders into local cultural practices, for example the Namahage ritual on New Year's Eve, which draws a large number of tourists to Akita Prefecture every year.[15]

Near Lake Tazawa, there are a number of hot springs resorts (onsen). These are popular with tourists from all over Japan. In addition, its numerous seasonal festivals (matsuri) offer a glimpse of rural or traditional Japan. Some famous examples are the Akita Kantō, the Omagari Fireworks, Namahage Festival, and the Yokote Kamakura Festivals.

Kakunodate is a particularly charming old town, known as the little Kyoto, full of preserved samurai houses. The Aoyagi house is the former residence of Odano Naotake, the man who illustrated Japan's first modern guide to the human anatomy. The house is now a museum and gallery of medical illustrations and traditional crafts.

Starting in 2009, Akita began experiencing a huge surge in Korean tourism after the airing of the popular drama Iris, which featured several scenes shot in Akita, most notably at Lake Tazawa and Oga's GAO Aquarium.[16]

Famous festival and events

Yokote Kamakura Festival 2015-1
Yokote Kamakura Festival on February
Akita Kanto Festival 2017
A night view of Akita Kanto Festival in August
  • Kariwano Big Tug Festival, Daisen (February[17])
  • Amekko Festival, Odate (February[18])
  • Kamakura Snow Statue Event, Yokote (February[19])
  • Tsuchizaki Shinmei Festival, Akita (July)
  • Akita Kanto Festival, Akita (August)
  • Nishimonai Bon Dancing Festival, Ugo (August[20][21])
  • Kemanai Bon Dancing Festival, Daisen (August[22])
  • All Japan Firework Competition, Daisen (August[23])
  • Kakunodate Festival, Semboku (September)





National Highway


High-angle view of the Akita Station 20170401
JR Akita Station
Odate Noshiro Airport Passenger Terminal
Odate Noshiro Airport


Universities in Akita Prefecture




  1. ^ a b Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books; "Tōhoku" in p. 970, p. 970, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Akita" in p. 20, p. 20, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  4. ^ Statistics Bureau of Japan
  5. ^ 自然公園都道府県別面積総括 [General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  6. ^ 秋田の自然マップ [Akita Nature Map] (in Japanese). Akita Prefecture. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Quinones, C. Kenneth. “Chapter 2: Akita City.” Akita-Beyond the Road's Narrow End, Mineo Nakajima, 2011, pp. 26–27.
  8. ^ "Number of children in Japan falls to record low for 29th year in row". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. May 4, 2010. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  9. ^ 県人口108万5845人に減少 落ち込み幅最大、国勢調査速報 (in Japanese). December 28, 2010. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Omura, Mika (November 6, 2009). "Weekend: Sake breweries go with the flow to survive". Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  11. ^ The Appellation System for Sake in Akita Prefecture and Development Program for Akita Shun-ginjo, Kyuichi Saito, Journal of the Brewing Society of Japan; Vol. 87, No.11, 1992 Archived June 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Akita Prefecture - Culture, Sightseeing and History -". nihonscope.com. August 24, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Akita Prefectural Guide, AKITA Prefecture Archived January 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Sznajder, Michal, Przezborska, Lucyna, Scrimgeour, Frank, et al. “Agritourism.” AbeBooks, CABI, 1 Jan. 1970, www.abebooks.com/book-search/isbn/9781845934828/.
  15. ^ Foster, Michael Dylan. “Inviting the Uninvited Guest: Ritual, Festival, Tourism, and the Namahage of Japan.” Journal of American Folklore, American Folklore Society, 1 Aug. 2013, muse.jhu.edu/article/515294/pdf.
  16. ^ 笠井 (Kasai), 哲也 (Tetsuya); 矢島大輔 (Yajima Daisuke) (April 21, 2010). 韓国人ファン、秋田に殺到 ドラマ「アイリス」効果. Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. Archived from the original on April 23, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "刈和野の大綱引き" (pdf) (in Japanese). Daisen City. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  18. ^ "大館アメッコ市 - 秋田県大館市" (in Japanese). Odate City. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "(冬)横手のかまくら|横手市" (in Japanese). Yokote City. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  20. ^ "総合案内|羽後町" (in Japanese). Ugo Town. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  21. ^ "English|羽後町". Ugo Town. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  22. ^ "毛馬内の盆踊" (in Japanese). Kazuno City. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  23. ^ "全国花火競技大会「大曲の花火」オフィシャルサイト|大曲商工会議所" (in Japanese). Omagari Entrepreneurs Group. Retrieved November 26, 2015.


External links

Media related to Akita prefecture at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 39°43′7″N 140°6′9″E / 39.71861°N 140.10250°E

Akita (city)

Akita (秋田市, Akita-shi, Japanese: [aꜜki̥ta]) is the capital city of Akita Prefecture, Japan, and has been designated a core city since 1 April 1997.

The city, which covers an area of 906.07 square kilometres (349.84 sq mi), had an estimated population of 306,668 in 1 June 2019, giving a population density of 338 persons per km².

Akita Airport

Akita Airport (秋田空港, Akita Kūkō) (IATA: AXT, ICAO: RJSK), is a regional/second class airport located 14 km (8.7 mi) southeast of Akita Station in the city of Akita, in Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Daigo Station (Akita)

Daigo Station (醍醐駅, Daigo-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Gosannen Station

Gosannen Station (後三年駅, Gosannen-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Misato, Akita Prefecture, Japan. The station name origins from the historic battlefield of Gosannen War in the area.

Iizume Station

Iizume Station (飯詰駅, Iizume-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Misato, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Japan National Route 103

National Route 103 is a national highway of Japan connecting the capital of Aomori Prefecture, Aomori to Ōdate in northeastern Akita Prefecture. It has a total length of 133.6 km (83.02 mi).

Kita-Kanaoka Station

Kita-Kanaoka Station (北金岡駅, Kita-Kanaoka-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Mitane, Yamamoto District, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Koikawa Station (Akita)

Koikawa Station (鯉川駅, Koikawa-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Mitane, Yamamoto District, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Koyoshi River

Koyoshi River (Japanese: 子吉川(こよしがわ), Hepburn: koyoshigawa) is a river in Akita Prefecture, Japan. It originates from Mount Chōkai, where the border of Akita Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture is located, and flows through Yurihonjō and finally into Sea of Japan. The headstream of the river is called Chōkai River (鳥海川, chōkaigawa). It has the third largest drainage area of the class A rivers that flow through Akita Prefecture, after Omono River and Yoneshiro River.


Namahage (生剥) in traditional Japanese folklore is a demonlike being, portrayed by men wearing hefty oni (ogre) masks and traditional straw capes (mino) during a New Year's ritual of the Oga Peninsula area of Akita Prefecture in northern Honshū, Japan.The frightfully dressed men, armed with deba knives (albeit wooden fakes or made of papier-mâché) and toting a teoke (手桶, "hand pail" made of wood), march in pairs or threes going door-to-door making rounds of people's homes, admonishing children who may be guilty of laziness or bad behavior, yelling phrases like "Are there any crybabies around?" (泣く子はいねがぁ, Nakuko wa inee gā?) or "Are naughty kids around?" (悪い子はいねえか, Waruiko wa inee ka?) in the pronunciation and accent of the local dialect.

Odate–Noshiro Airport

Odate–Noshiro Airport (大館能代空港, Odate-Noshiro Kūkō) (IATA: ONJ, ICAO: RJSR) is an airport in Kitaakita, Akita, Japan and is 8.3 NM (15.4 km; 9.6 mi) west of Ōdate at 276 ft (84 m) above sea level. It is also informally known as Akita North Airport (あきた北空港 Akita Kita Kūkō).

Omono River

The Omono River (雄物川, Omono-gawa) is located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. The river flows from Mount Daisen on the border of Akita Prefecture with Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures in the city of Yuzawa and drains into the Sea of Japan at the city of Akita. The river's drainage basin is essentially the entire southern half of Akita Prefecture. The river is free of dams for its entire length. It is regarded as a "first class river" in the Japanese river classification system.

Rina Ikoma

Rina Ikoma (生駒 里奈, Ikoma Rina, born December 29, 1995 in Yurihonjō, Akita Prefecture) is a Japanese idol singer and actress. She is a former member of the girl group Nogizaka46, and a former member of AKB48's Team B. She was a first generation member of Nogizaka46, and was first appointed to be the center position in the group. In the Nogizaka46 single title track, she took the center position 6 times in total, for Nogizaka46 first 5 singles and their 12th single.She played a leading role in the film Corpse Party as Naomi Nakashima.

Shimo-Yuzawa Station

Shimo-Yuzawa Station (下湯沢駅, Shimo-Yuzawa-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Shirasawa Station (Akita)

Shirasawa Station (白沢駅, Shirasawa-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Tomine Station

Tomine Station (富根駅, Tomine-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Tsurugata Station

Tsurugata Station (鶴形駅, Tsurugata-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Yoneshiro River

The Yoneshiro River (米代川, Yoneshirogawa) is a river in Tōhoku region of the northern portion of the island of Honshū in Japan. It is 136 kilometres (85 mi) long and has a watershed of 4,100 square kilometres (1,600 sq mi). The river rises from Mount Nakadake and Mount Shikakudake in the Ōu Mountains and Mount Hachimantai near the border of Akita Prefecture with Iwate and Aomori Prefectures, and flows to the west through northern Akita Prefecture into the Sea of Japan at Noshiro, Akita.

Yuzawa Station

Yuzawa Station (湯沢駅, Yuzawa-eki) is a JR East railway station located in Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Shadow picture of Akita PrefectureAkita Prefecture
Core city
47 Prefectures


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