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Odate / AkitaLearn a 400-year-old local craft, ride open-air through the countryside, and share daily life with locals in Odate, Akita

Odate City in Akita Prefecture is surrounded by mountains and lush forests, making it perfect for those seeking a breath of country air. In addition to numerous scenic spots, must-try Odate experiences include creating a traditional magewappa bento box, staying overnight at a local farm, riding a disused railway line on a railbike, and visiting an Akita dog center. (Dog lovers may be interested to learn that Hachiko, the world-famous Akita pooch, was born here in 1923.)

Story 1Feel local tradition come to life by creating a magewappa bento box

Creating a magewappa bento box

Magewappa is a traditional craft with a long history in Odate. Local firm Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten will teach you how to make your very own magewappa bento box. The shop's owner, Yoshimasa Shibata, will talk you through each step, even making another box alongside you, which makes it easy to follow along visually.

The finished article

In addition to teaching visitors how to fashion their own creations, the shop sells completed pieces, including plates, cups, and bento boxes in various sizes.

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Story 2Get into the great outdoors, rustle up some soba noodles, and learn more about Akita dogs

An invigorating railbike ride in Odate

For an exhilarating countryside adventure, try riding the rails on a bicycle-like contraption known as a railbike. The trip along an unused railroad track passes through picturesque scenery and is a great way to get a taste of the local countryside.

Soft toys at the Akita Dog Visitor Center

Canine enthusiasts, meanwhile, will enjoy a visit to the Akita Dog Visitor Center, which focuses on Akita dogs. As a bonus, owners sometimes bring in their pooches for visitors to observe.

Get a taste for the local food, meanwhile, by browsing the shelves at The Cheerful Mother produce market. The facility, run by a happy-go-lucky owner, sells a variety of goods, including locally produced items such as apple juice and tanpo. The owner will even teach you how to make soba noodles, so it's best to arrive with an empty stomach.

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Story 3Enjoy a warm, welcoming farm stay at Sakekoshimai

Making tanpo for the evening meal

Located a little north of the city, Farm Inn Sakekoshimai offers a welcoming farm stay experience that allows visitors to get a taste of rural Japan. Head out to nearby natural hot springs, make tanpo (a local specialty consisting of rice on a stick, roasted on a fire), explore the neighbourhood, and learn more about local history.

Toasting each other's hard work while waiting for the tanpo to finish roasting

The most rewarding aspect of the trip, however, is getting to know the hosts while enjoying the refreshingly slow pace of life in rural Japan.

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Access information

Getting to Odate City, Akita Prefecture:

The flight from Haneda International Airport to Odate-Noshiro Airport takes around 70 minutes. Thereafter, renting a private vehicle will make life easier, as public transport in and around Odate is limited.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change. Unless stated otherwise, prices do not include tax.
*Unauthorized reproduction of material in this article is strictly prohibited.

About “Countryside Stays“

If you’re looking for a new way to experience Japan, sign up for a farm-stay experience through the Countryside Stays Japan program and participate in traditional rural-lifestyle activities in recommended countryside locations.

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Odate / AkitaLearn a 400-year-old local craft, ride open-air through the countryside, and share daily life with locals in Odate, Akita

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