The day after Morioka’s Sansa Odori, we decided to visit Kakunodate (角館町) in Akita Prefecture. Kakunodate is an old castle town with a preserved Samurai district and is famous for its cherry blossoms in spring.
Since we were in Akita and none of the udon shops were yet open for lunch, we decided to head onto Akita City for lunch. Akita is famous for udon. Nothing hits the spot better than chilled udon on a hot summer day. It was excellent. Akita udon is Inaniwa style, which is thinner and less firm than the more popular Sanuki style udon.
All the major festivals of Tohoku (Akita’s Kanto, Sendai’s Tanabata, Aomori’s Nebuta, and Morioka’s Sansa) are held in the same week in August. At Akita City, the Kanto Festival (秋田竿燈まつり) was ongoing. The Kanto is 46 lanterns attached to bamboo poles weighing 60kg (132lbs) that is then balanced on various parts of the body.
The Kanto is balanced first on the palm, then the forehead, shoulder, and finally the hip to the music of taiko drums. Chiropractic care must be a booming business in Akita.
The kanto do fall frequently, especially on a windy day.
We couldn’t stay for the main procession of kanto held at night, since all hotels rooms in Akita and surrounding areas have been fully booked since last year. We headed back to Morioka and then onto Hachinohe. Hachinohe is currently the northern most stop of the bullet train until service to Aomori starts in a couple of years. Hachinohe is a harbor town…which sounded like good sushi…it was excellent especially the uni sushi with 2 types of uni.