Kakunodate sometimes referred as ‘the little Kyoto of Tōhoku’, looks today much as it did back in 1620 when the city was founded.
Kakunodate boasts authentic Edo-period architecture in two distinct areas; the samurai district and the merchant district. Once home to 80 families, the samurai district still has some of the best examples of samurai architecture in all of Japan.
A couple of the houses are still lived in by the descendants of their samurai, so you may even get the chance to meet a modern-day samurai in the flesh! These houses show how middle-class and wealthy samurai families lived. Six are open to the public, including Aoyagi, which is impressive for its size, layout, and collection of historical artifacts.
The countless weeping cherry trees in the samurai district were planted in the 17th century, brought back from Kyoto by local samurai families. Nowadays, more than a million people journey to see Kakunodate’s thousands of cherry trees bloom, making it one of the country’s most famous hanami or cherry blossom viewing spots.
Take advantage of the commanding views looking over the town from the former castle site. Explore Japan’s feudal past & shop at 400-year-old stores. The impressive brick structure of the Ando Jozo Miso storehouse stocks miso and soy sauce, which have been produced using the same method for over 150 years. Buy some to take home a taste of history. Before you leave, be sure to grab some of the town’s traditional sweets, called morokoshi. Made from refined adzuki beans, they make a delicious souvenir.