Visiting Kakunodate and its Samurai Residences

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Written by Editorial department

Within Kakunodate-cho of Akita Prefecture are the remnants of a flourishing castle town from about 400 years ago. This district has been designated as protected in an effort to conserve traditional buildings.
This area has what are known as “samurai residence streets,” where there are rows of residencies formerly owned by samurai, including ones that can be visited. History rests thick in the air here, with exhibitions of precious weapons and armor, and giant trees that stand proud in the gardens.
This article will introduce our recommended samurai residences for you to visit.

First, visit “Kakunodate Ekimae Kura,” the Semboku City Tourist Information Center

Your first stop should be “Kakunodate Ekimae Kura,” the tourist information center, located in a white-walled building in front of JR Kakunodate Station. Here you’ll find tourist pamphlets and maps of the samurai residences, as well as many services geared toward travelers, making it a convenient hub to gather information.

Kakunodate Ekimae Kura
Kakunodate Ekimae Kura
Address
394-2 kamisugazawa, Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita
Official Website
Official Website (Japanese)

Ishiguro House

Ishiguro House is a Designated Cultural Property of Semboku City. It is the oldest samurai residence in Kakunodate, and it is the only residence where visitors can enter the rooms and tour the inside of the building. It is still used by descendants of the Ishiguro family as their residence, so about half of the house is open to the public.
Weapons, armor, and ancient documents that have been passed down through the family for generations are set up on display.

Yakuimon Gate
Yakuimon Gate
Tours of the building’s interior are also available
Tours of the building’s interior are also available
Address
1 Omotemachi-shimocho, Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita
Admission
Adults 400 yen. Children 200 yen.
Official Website
Official Website (Japanese)

Kakunodate Historical Village Aoyagi House

The Aoyagi family once served as samurai retainers for the Ashina Clan. The grounds are expansive, and visitors can tour areas like the main house, armory, and samurai equipment storage. Inside the building are over 30,000 pieces of art and armor that have been protected and cherished for generations.
The entryway, known as Yakuimon Gate, is a prestigious landmark.

Yakuimon Gate
Yakuimon Gate
The Akita Kyodokan located on the premises
The Akita Kyodokan located on the premises
Address
3 Omotemachi-shimocho, Kakunodate-machi, Semboku City, Akita
Admission
Adults 500 yen. Students ages12-17 300 yen. Children ages 6-11 200 yen, Under age 5 Free
Official Website
Official Website (English)

There are also many other wonderful samurai residences to visit! We hope that you visit and enjoy your journey through this historic location!