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Akita Kanto Festival

106 Reviews
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Akita Kanto Festival

106 Reviews
Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Please choose a different date.
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Kyokuhokusakae-machi, Akita 010-0922 Akita Prefecture
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Akita/Kakunodate Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide
Historical & Heritage Tours

Akita/Kakunodate Full-Day Private Tour with Nationally-Licensed Guide

This value-packed trip with a nationally-licensed and experienced multilingual tour guide is a fantastic and efficient way to explore Akita!<br><br>Akita is a busy and compact industrial city which serves as a transport hub for travel along the west coast. It is also perfect as a base for trips to visit samurai houses in Kakunodate or the hot springs and the ski area of Lake Tazawa. The city itself boasts a fine public museum and park complex, as well as a worthy entertainment district.<br><br>Let us know what you would like to experience and we will customize a six-hour tour that's best for you!<br><br>Note*1: Please select your must-see spots from a list in the tour information to create your customized itinerary.<br>Note*2: The Nationally-licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires a good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.
$121.16 per adult
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scubamammaMilton wrote a review Aug 2019
Milton, Canada163 contributions126 helpful votes
This festival was exhilarating and amazing to watch! We went without any reservations and staked out a spot about an hour before the parade with all the locals. (we were on a cruise)- I would recommend "borrowing" a towel to sit on during the parade as that cement was still HOT at dusk! There is absolutely no need to reserve a seat in the middle of the route- in fact it was lovely to be able to see the performance from different vantage points. You need to see it to experience it - the drums beating, the lanterns being hoisted... and even falling ! Truly breathtaking to behold.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Alice m wrote a review Aug 2019
63 contributions23 helpful votes
Wonderful festival display as they marched slowly around the circular street route. Via a cruise tour, I had booked tickets in the central area which gave a good view on both sides as the parade came around. Only trouble is if you're on the large side, the seating is neither spacious or comfortable (just benches), and I think we only had room to sit as two people didn't turn up! To be honest, now I know how it works, I'd probably advise finding your own (free) spot on the outside of the route, as all the locals do. Just perhaps bring a fold out chair if you can, and get your spot early. The parade goes around the route twice so quite a number of people vacated the central area at the halfway point which isn't a bad idea if you have children or comfort issues.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Sarah B wrote a review Aug 2019
Tacoma, Washington51 contributions15 helpful votes
The Akita Kanto was the key reason I planned an extended Tohoku trip with my sister this year. That said, getting festival tickets and a hotel were NOT easy... and I began a year ahead of time - with my sister (who speaks Japanese) calling multiple hotels and both of us writing and calling the Kanto Festival directly. In April, we booked the Daiwa Roynet in Akita for the night before the festival began - but the closest hotel we were able to book for the night of the festival was called the Oganoya (about $120), which is one hour north of Akita in the city of Oga. In early July, we finally received word that we would get official seating for the festival (about $20/person). We drove to Akita on Aug 2 from the Dewa Sanzan area (which we hiked and highly recommend also) and got our bearings at the Daiwa Roynet - in particular: researching where to move/park our car the next day. In the end, parking was super-easy; we moved the car to a small lot about 4 blocks from the festival route and paid about $10/day. The Kanto festival has a lot of things to do all day and we recommend visiting the Agora Plaza starting around 11 because there are all-day performances - the best of which was the daytime bamboo pole demonstration by about 6 groups, and some great taiko. Even though it was crazy hot out, we could readily duck into AC'd malls all day and everything was bearable. We were not as crazy about the organized gourmet food stall area; it was too crowded and there wasn't enough seating when we arrived at 5. At around 6:30, we were able to access our assigned seat - which was only OK (we were assigned a flat set of bench-style seats where they definitely crammed you in - not the stair-like bleacher seating that seemed to be the most ideal). Official seating is down the middle of the avenue; the sidewalks are free-for-all areas that people started claiming early in the day and were super-crammed come parade-time. The actual Kanto began a little before 7:30 and ran until just before 9. The route runs a circle around the avenue/central seating - with 30-40 groups (group = taiko drummers, flute-players, and a dozen or more bamboo pole balancers). Over 200 poles are raised at any time during the parade - probably 5 per group. The line-up of groups shift positions 3 times during the parade - but, sitting in the middle, you feel as though you are surrounded by the rice-like lantern displays. Definitely one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen. The festival ended very promptly and there was an orderly exodus such that we were on the road by 9:30 - no problems driving out of the city whatsoever. So - here is where things get interesting: The afternoon of the festival, the Oganoya called us around 1 p.m. and said they were moving us to the Hotel Lemon Tea (5 minutes away) because of an overbooking problem. They did not tell us over the phone this was an adults only Love Hotel - but my sister knew instantly they were trying to move the gaijin, hoping we would miss the adult-only part. We were also asked to stop at the Oganoya on our way there so the owner could guide us to the Lemon Tea; when we did so, we were clear that we fully understood this was a Love Hotel move and the desk attendant did seem rather embarrassed. I personally don't have big history with Japan or the Love Hotel concept - so, for me, all I saw was the relative room size and great cost savings of the Lemon Tea ($60). It was sort of seedy feeling coming in - the parking garage has panels you can move in front of your license plate, the front desk has a panel hiding your face from the attendant's (i.e. all interactions are by hand through a 4-inch space), and there are "sexy" costumes on display by the front desk (most were sort of school uniformy). Our room - called "the royal room" - was massive... probably 3-5X bigger than all hotels we stayed at during our 2+ weeks in Tohoku. There were 2 queen beds; both were clean in terms of bedding - only the sort of carpet padding around the frame made me want to pull out a blacklight. There was a full-body massage chair, which was sort of nice to have after a long day. The bathroom had a big tub that was surrounded by pillars and what looked like old no-longer-functioning disco/spotlights or something. There was good AC (except in the bathroom). The breakfast was minimal but filling - a tray with grilled ham/cheese on very white crustless bread with chicken broth and yogurt was delivered (again - you never saw the staff... they rang the bell, dropped the tray, and ran). There was even a nice view of the sea from the window. In contrast, my sister hated the place and felt it had a strong negative vibe/atmosphere because of its association with people having affairs. Both my sister and I have attempted to submit reviews but have been rejected. In my case, tripadvisor has stated that the Lemon Tea does not meet their hotel criteria (even though it - and other Love Hotels - are now appearing on several mainstream booking sites). We've also tried to submit reviews for Oganoya (who poorly managed the booking) but because we didn't stay there, those reviews have also been rejected. The bottom line for me is: It is insanely hard to get accommodations for the Akita Kanto. Given that the Lemon Tea is an astoundingly cheap and roomy hotel that is easy to get to after the festival, I feel very strongly tripadvisor needs to add it to its roster so travelers can better access this resource.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Yan C wrote a review May 2019
Hong Kong, China800 contributions162 helpful votes
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A small museum focusing on the Kanto Festival, which is held annually in summer. During the Festival, participants carry a huge pole to which are attached dozens of paper lanterns by their hand, their head, their shoulder or even the hip. It takes a lot of balancing skills. The pole and the lanterns together may weigh up to 50 kg. Other participants hit large drums as the background. The Centre shows a video describing these activities. On display are also different examples of the paper lanterns. Visitors can also try their hands at the huge drums. It is a great place to visit especially for those interested in Japanese folk culture.
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Date of experience: April 2019
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Alan B wrote a review Oct 2018
Akita, Japan10 contributions1 helpful vote
Akita Kanto Festival gets crowded, but no where near the level of Tokyo and Kyoto. And that makes it much easier to enjoy the festival.
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Date of experience: August 2018
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