Akita Prefecture

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Akita Prefecture

Japanese transcription(s)
   Japanese 秋田県
   Rōmaji Akita-ken
Flag of Akita Prefecture.svg
Emblem of Akita Prefecture.svg
Map of Japan with highlight on 05 Akita prefecture.svg
CountryFlag of Japan.svg  Japan
Region Tōhoku
Island Honshu
Capital Akita (city)
Subdivisions Districts: 6, Municipalities: 25
   Governor Norihisa Satake
  Total11,637.52 km2 (4,493.27 sq mi)
Area rank 6th
 (October 1, 2019)
  Rank 38th
  Density83/km2 (210/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-05
Website Akita Prefecture Official page of English
Bird Copper pheasant (Phasianus soemmerringii)
Flower Fuki (a kind of butterbur, Petasites japonicus)
Tree Akita-sugi (Cryptomeria japonica)

Akita Prefecture (秋田県, Akita-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tōhoku region of Honshu. [1] Its population is approximately 966,000 (as of 1 October 2019) and its geographic area is 11,637 km² (4,493 sq mi). Akita Prefecture borders Aomori Prefecture to the north, Iwate Prefecture to the east, Miyagi Prefecture to the southeast, and Yamagata Prefecture to the south.


Akita is the capital and largest city of Akita Prefecture. Other major cities include Yokote, Daisen, and Yurihonjō. [2] Akita Prefecture is located on the coast of the Sea of Japan and extends east to the Ōu Mountains, the longest mountain range in Japan, at the border with Iwate Prefecture. Akita Prefecture formed the northern half of the historic Dewa Province with Yamagata Prefecture.


The region of Akita was 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 by 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.[ citation needed ]

The first historical record of what is now Akita Prefecture dates to 658, when Abe no Hirafu conquered the native Ezo tribes at what are now the cities of Akita and Noshiro. Abe, then governor of Koshi Province (the northwestern 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 was is now the Takashimizu area of Akita, 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.

Governance of the region shifted hands several times. During the Tokugawa shogunate it was appropriated to the Satake clan, who ruled the region for 260 years and developed 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.


Map of Akita Prefecture
City Town Village Map of Akita Prefecture, Ja.svg
Map of Akita Prefecture
     City     Town     Village
Mount Chokai MtChokaiFromOkojoland.jpg
Mount Chōkai
Akita City View of Akita city from Kubota Castle 01.jpg
Akita City
Yokote View of Yokote City from Akita Museum of Modern Art.jpg
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
source: [4]

Located on the north-western side of Honshu, Akita Prefecture is adjacent to the Sea of Japan to the west and borders four other prefectures: Aomori in the north, Iwate in the east, Miyagi in the southeast, and Yamagata in the south.

The borders of Akita Prefecture roughly form a rectangle that is 169 kilometres (105 miles) from north to south and 86 kilometres (54 miles) from west to east. The Oga Peninsula is a prominent feature of the western edge, while the Ōu Mountains mark the eastern border and the higher Dewa Mountains run parallel through the center. Like much of northern Japan, the prefecture has cold winters, particularly in areas farther from the sea.

As of 31 March 2019, 11% of the total land area of the prefecture is 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 governors of Akita Prefecture (from 1947)

NameTerm startTerm endNotes (political party)
1Kosaku Hasuike (蓮池公咲)12 April 19474 April 1951Akita Prefecture Democratic Party (秋田県民主党)
2Tokuji Ikeda (池田徳治)30 April 195129 April 1955Independent (無所属)
3Yujiro Obata (小畑勇二郎)30 April 195529 April 1979Independent
4Kikuji Sasaki (佐々木喜久治)30 April 197931 March 1997Independent
5 Sukeshiro Terata (寺田典城)20 April 199719 April 2009Independent
6 Norihisa Satake (佐竹敬久)20 April 2009PresentIndependent

Economy and population

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%. Akita City New Residents.jpg
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%.

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 has seen some of the most severe population decline in Japan: it is one of four prefectures in Japan registering declines in population since 1955. Its population also has the lowest percentage of children, at 11.2%. [8] As of October 1, 2019, it has a population of approximately 966,000 people. [9]

The high rate of depopulation in Akita Prefecture has led smaller communities to merge with each other, which has affected the smallest of these merged communities. As depopulation in these communities continues, educational and health facilities have closed in some areas, encouraging families to migrate to larger cities for better access to health and educational opportunities and perpetuating the decline in population. This decline, combined with an aging population, has been concerning for rural communities. [7]


Akita, 秋田, meaning autumn rice paddy, 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 is 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):


Akigin Stadium. Akita Football Stadium 1.JPG
Akigin Stadium.


Samurai house in Kakunodate Kakunodate.jpg
Samurai house in Kakunodate

Recently there have been efforts to revitalize rural communities facing depopulation with different forms of green tourism and agritourism. [15] These efforts are primarily aimed at attracting urbanites and foreign tourists to Akita Prefecture, advertising its pristine forests, sprawling rice fields, and range of cultures. [7] There has been a push for home stays, farmers markets for locally produced foods, and the integration of outsiders into local cultural practices. The Namahage ritual in Oga on New Year's Eve draws a large number of tourists to Akita Prefecture every year. [16]

Near Lake Tazawa, there are a number of hot springs resorts ( onsen ). These are popular with tourists from all over Japan. In addition, 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, known as the little Kyoto, features many preserved samurai houses. The Aoyagi house is the former residence of Odano Naotake, who illustrated Japan's first modern guide to 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. [17]

Famous festival and events

Yokote Kamakura Festival in February Yokote Kamakura Festival 2015-1.jpg
Yokote Kamakura Festival in February
A night view of Akita Kanto Festival in August Akita Kanto Festival 2017.jpg
A night view of Akita Kanto Festival in August





National highways


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


Universities in Akita Prefecture




  1. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 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. Population Estimates / Annual Report (Report). e-Stat. April 14, 2020. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  10. Omura, Mika (November 6, 2009). "Weekend: Sake breweries go with the flow to survive" . Retrieved December 29, 2009.[ dead link ]
  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. http://www.blaublitz.jp/
  15. Sznajder, Michal, Przezborska, Lucyna, Scrimgeour, Frank, et al. “Agritourism.” AbeBooks, CABI, 1 Jan. 1970, www.abebooks.com/book-search/isbn/9781845934828/.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. "刈和野の大綱引き" (PDF) (in Japanese). Daisen City. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  19. "大館アメッコ市 - 秋田県大館市" (in Japanese). Odate City. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  20. "(冬)横手のかまくら|横手市" (in Japanese). Yokote City. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  21. "総合案内|羽後町" (in Japanese). Ugo Town. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  22. "English|羽後町". Ugo Town. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  23. "毛馬内の盆踊" (in Japanese). Kazuno City. Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  24. "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.

Related Research Articles

Akita (city) Core city in Tōhoku, Japan

Akita is the capital city of Akita Prefecture, Japan, and has been designated a core city since 1 April 1997. As of 1 January 2020, the city has an estimated population of 305,625, 136,628 households and a population density of 340 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 906.07 square kilometres (349.84 sq mi).

Tōhoku region Region

The Tōhoku region, Northeast region, or Northeast Japan consists of the northeastern portion of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. This traditional region consists of six prefectures (ken): Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and Yamagata.

Yokote, Akita City in Tōhoku, Japan

Yokote is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 December 2019, the city had an estimated population of 89,574 in 34,240 households, and a population density of 130 persons per km². The total area of the city is 693.04 km2 (267.58 sq mi).

Ōdate City in Tōhoku, Japan

Ōdate is a city in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 January 2020, the city has an estimated population of 71,558 in 31,634 households, and a population density of 82 persons per km². The total area of the city is 913.22 square kilometres (352.60 sq mi).

Dewa Province Former province of Japan

Dewa Province was a province of Japan comprising modern-day Yamagata Prefecture and Akita Prefecture, except for the city of Kazuno and the town of Kosaka. Dewa bordered on Mutsu and Echigō Provinces. Its abbreviated form name was Ushū (羽州).

Ugo Province Former province of Japan

Ugo Province is an old province of Japan in the area of Akita Prefecture and some parts of Yamagata Prefecture. It was sometimes called Ushū (羽州), with Uzen Province.

Kitaakita District, Akita

Kitaakita District is a rural district located in Akita Prefecture, Japan.

Semboku, Akita City in Tōhoku, Japan

Semboku is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 December 2019, the city had an estimated population of 25,857 in 10,584 households, and a population density of 24 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 1,093.64 square kilometers (422 sq mi).

Ugo, Akita Town in Tōhoku, Japan

Ugo is a town located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 January 2020, the town had an estimated population of 14,639 in 5311 households, and a population density of 65 persons per km².. The total area of the town is 230.75 square kilometres (89.09 sq mi).

Daisen, Akita City in Tōhoku, Japan

Daisen is a city in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 April 2019, the city had an estimated population of 81,133 in 31,457 households, and a population density of 94 persons per km². The total area of the city is 866.77 square kilometres (334.66 sq mi).

Kitaakita City in Tōhoku, Japan

Kitaakita is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 30 November 2019, the city had an estimated population of 31,504 in 14,021 households, and a population density of 27 persons per km². The total area of the city is 1,152.76 square kilometres (445.08 sq mi).

Yurihonjō City in Tōhoku, Japan

Yurihonjō is a city located in Akita Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 January 2020, the city has an estimated population of 76,077 in 30,639 households, and a population density of 63 inhabitants per square kilometre (160/sq mi). The total area of the city is 1,209.60 square kilometres (467.03 sq mi).

Ōu Main Line

The Ōu Main Line is a railway line in Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company. It connects Fukushima Station through Akita Station to Aomori Station. Since the opening of the Yamagata Shinkansen on July 1, 1992, the Fukushima–Yamagata section is sometimes referred to as the Yamagata Line. The name of the line as a whole refers to the ancient provinces of Mutsu (陸) and Dewa (出), as it connects both ends of Mutsu by passing north–south through Dewa.

Odate–Noshiro Airport

Odate–Noshiro Airport is an airport in Kitaakita, Akita, Japan and is 8.3 NM west of Ōdate at 276 ft (84 m) above sea level. It is also informally known as Akita North Airport.

The Ushū Kaidō (羽州街道) was a subroute of the Ōshū Kaidō and the Sendaidō in Japan. It breaks off from the Sendaidō at Kōri-juku in the modern-day Koori in Fukushima Prefecture. It connects to Aburakawa-juku along Matsumaedō, the other subroute of the Ōshū Kaidō. It is traced by National Routes 13 and 7. It was established after Tokugawa Ieyasu called for the construction of routes connecting the capital of Edo with other parts of Japan.

Akita Expressway Expressway in Iwate and Akita prefectures in Japan

The Akita Expressway is a national expressway in the Tōhoku region of Japan. The 229.2-kilometer-long (142.4 mi) expressway begins at an interchange with the Tōhoku Expressway in Kitakami, Iwate from where it proceeds northwest towards the capital of Akita Prefecture, Akita. From there, it travels northeast back to another interchange along the Tōhoku Expressway in the town of Kosaka. It is jointly owned and operated by East Nippon Expressway Company and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). The Akita Expressway is numbered E7 between Kosaka and Kitakami Junctions and E46 between Kitakami and Kawabe Junctions under the MLIT's "2016 Proposal for Realization of Expressway Numbering."

National Route 105 is a national highway of Japan that traverses the prefecture of Akita in a southwest–northeast routing. It connects the city of Kitaakita in north-central Akita Prefecture and Yurihonjō on the prefecture's southwestern coast. It has a total length of 170.0 kilometers (105.6 mi).

<i>Akita Sakigake Shimpō</i>

Akita Sakigake Shimpo is a Japanese daily newspaper published mainly in Akita prefecture. The company is based in Akita, Akita. The newspaper is dominant in its region, with a market penetration approaching 54 percent of Akita Prefecture households.


Commons-logo.svg Media related to Akita prefecture at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 39°43′7″N140°6′9″E / 39.71861°N 140.10250°E / 39.71861; 140.10250