In Akita, on the Sea of Japan coast in the northern Tohoku region, visitors can revel in Japan’s natural beauty. You can climb mountains, look over beautiful lakes and visit coastal towns. Soak in hot springs and experience the Edo era in the preserved samurai town of Kakunodate. Akita is leading the way in eco-industries. Though the region may seem remote to those in Tokyo and Osaka, Akita embraces diversity and welcomes the world. While you are there don’t forget to try the local ‘Kiritanpo-Nabe’ stew made with rice and ‘jizake’ or locally brewed sake (rice wine). If you are visiting in summer, check out the Kanto Matsuri (竿燈まつり “pole lantern festival”) held every year from August 3rd to the 6th.