Akita offers a glimpse of traditional Japan. Dating back 658 AD, Akita is known for its numerous festivals that celebrate its history, nature and community. Among its most famous festivals are Akita Kanto, Omagari Fireworks and Namahage. Akita Prefecture offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. Favorites with locals are Lake Tazawa, soaking at the hot springs resorts, hiking in the Dewa mountains, skiing, biking and visiting the beautiful temples.
Japan is a unique country with contrasts of traditional and modern. Modern trends, anime and high-tech are juxtaposed with a culture that stretches back millennia. The characters that make up Japan’s name mean “sun-origin”, which is why Japan is often referred to as the “Land of the Rising Sun”.
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area.
Japan’s early history was heavily influenced by China, followed by periods of isolation, and later Western European expansion. From the 12th to the 17th century, Japan was ruled by feudal military shoguns. The Emperor was restored as head of state in 1868. Japan’s military expansion of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, ended in 1945 following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, Japan is a constitutional monarchy with an elected legislature.
Japan is a developed country and has the world’s third-largest economy. It is also the world’s fifth-largest exporter and fifth-largest importer. Japan ranks high in metrics of prosperity such as the Human Development Index, with the Japanese population enjoying the highest life expectancy of any country in the world.