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Yokote

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Yokote City
横手市
Yokote
Yokote in Akita
Location in Akita
Location
CountryJapan
RegionTōhoku
PrefectureAkita
Physical characteristics
Area693.04 km²
Population96,372 (as of 2012-04-01)
Symbols
TreeApple (りんご)
City emblem
City Hall
Address269 Maegō Aza
Shimosanmaibashi
Yokote, Akita 013-8601
(〒013-8601 秋田県横手市
条里一丁目1番1号)
Telephone☎ 0182-35-2111
WebsiteHomepage

Yokote (横手市; -shi) is the second-largest city in Akita. It was formed in October of 2005 by merging with 7 smaller towns, Hiraka (平鹿), Jūmonji (十文字), Masuda (増田), Omonogawa (雄物川), Ōmori (大森), Sannai (山内), Taiyū (大雄), and Central Yokote (旧横手).

Yokote is located in the Southeast of Akita prefecture. Its most famous event is the annual Kamakura Festival, held every February 14-16th. The wondrous thing about Yokote is that everyday there are new surprises and adventures to be had. Unfortunately, they do not just willingly appear on your door step.

Transportation

Roads and Highways

Yokote is connected to the Akita Toll Expressway (north towards Akita City and east to Iwate) and the Yuzawa Toll Expressway (south to Yuzawa) with interchanges in Yokote City and Jūmonji.

There are several main arteries in Yokote. Route 13 runs north to Daisen and Akita City and south to Yuzawa. Unlike the Toll Expressway it's free, but it also has more traffic and traffic lights and will take much longer to reach Akita City. Note that there is also a ROAD 13 that runs north to south. Routes are marked by blue triangles, whereas roads are marked by hexagons.

Route 107 cuts east to west through Akita. It can take you from one side of Japan to the other. But, in the winter, it's probably safer to take the expressway to Iwate, as the road goes through the mountains.

The Green Road (グリーンロード)is an alternative to Akita City from Yokote. It runs from Yuzawa to Akita City. This is a back country route with little traffic and few traffic lights. There are small rectangular signs that point the way (they say Green Road in katakana), or following the signs to the airport will also work (if you get to the airport though, you've gone too far...). Keep in mind, that it is not a straight route, and it can be difficult to navigate. It is best to have someone show you the way first. It is also poorly lit at night, has more wildlife and should be avoided in the winter.

The Mizuho no Sato Road (みずほの里ロード) is an alternative route to Kakunodate and Tazawako with few traffic lights. It starts near Seiryo school in Yokote and is labelled on Google Maps in both hiragana and romaji. Like the Green Road is NOT a straight route, but it is well-signed if you know the road name in hiragana - just follow the blue overhead signs. The route ends at Route 50: then take 257 for Kakunodate, or follow signs along 50 and 46 for Tazawako. Continue along 46 past Tazawako and you will reach Morioka. Just watch out for the hidden gaijin traps, and probably avoid it in winter.

Inaka Road is a slightly bumpy, narrow road that will transport you to/from Yokote City to/from Omonogawa in approx 15 min (wintertime requires 30min). It is also known as "Book Off Road" and "Happy Town Road" as these are the major landmarks on the start of this road in the City. In Omonogawa, this road's base is at the row of four vending machines (a cigarette, beer, and 2 non-alcoholic machines) and at the house where the garage door is always open (except in winter). This road has an official number assignment, but that takes all the fun out of it, doesn't it?

Trains

Yokote is located on the JR Ou line which runs north to south through Yokote. There is a station in Jūmonji and Yokote City, with smaller stations in between. From Yokote, it costs about 1300 yen to get to Akita City. A second train line also runs out of Yokote Station. The Kitakami line runs east to Iwate prefecture through the stations in Sannai.
Only local trains run through Yokote. To catch the Shinkansen, you will have to connect at Omagari Station to the north.

Hyperdia is a useful website that can help plan any trip on the public train lines. Some cities which are made up of several small towns, will not go by the small town name. Example, if you want to go to Yurihonjō, you have to search "ugohonjo".

If you don't know how much your ticket costs, buy the cheapest ticket. When you depart the train, the station master and/or robot turnstile, will make you pay the difference. If you don't know Japanese numbers just hand them like a 5000 yen bill, which should cover basically any local fare.

Night bus

Probably the cheapest way to Tokyo is by night bus. Tickets will sell out during holiday periods, so book early.

  • Ugokotsu (羽後交通観光). The most expensive option. Reservations can be made online, at JTB, or at the Ugokotsu office (behind the convenience store about a block from the Yokote Station). The bus leaves at 22:30 from the Yokote Bus Terminal and ends at Hamamatsuchou Station in Tokyo or Yokohama Station.
  • Orion Buses (オリオン) and Kira Kira Hot Dog Buses (キラキラホットドッグ). The buses board on the street in front of Yokote Station, next to the bus terminal. They usually leave early, so arrive before the given boarding time.
  • Willer Express Buses depart from the street in front of Yokote Station at 23:30 and reach Tokyo (Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Station, and Disneyland) around 7am. English website for timetables and booking.
  • Rakuten Search for tickets for all of these buses and more. Japanese only.

Festivals

Yokote

Kamakura line the streets of Futaba-Cho in Yokote
  • Kamakura Festival (かまくら祭り) February 14-16. Yokote's most famous festival. Townspeople build igloo-like snow structures about 1.5 meters wide and 2 meters tall. Against the back wall of the kamakura is a small shrine dedicated to the water god. People sit in the Kamakura and grill mochi and heat amazake over a small charcoal burner. Guests are invited in with calls of "Agattetanse" - a relic of old Akita-ben equivalent to today's "Irasshaimase." Children decorate the riverbanks with hundreds of mini-kamakura, each containing a candle.
  • Bonden Festival (ぼんでん) February 16-17. Bonden follows the Kamakura Festival every year. In the morning on February 16th, a parade is held in the downtown area where each neighborhood shows off its bonden, a long pole with a sculpture at the top, usually depicting some scene in Japanese mythology. On the 17th, the neighborhoods carry their bonden to a shrine at the top of the Asahiyama. Each neighborhood tries to force its bonden through the torii, while being pushed back by members of other neighborhoods. The first bonden team to break through the torii is said to have the blessing of a good harvest for the coming year.
  • Yokote Bon Dance (盆おどり) August 15. Held along the main street in front of the city hall. Participants perform a repertoire of between 2 and 3 dances over the course of 2 hours. The dances are repetitive, so anyone can join. ALTs in Yokote practice and perform with the staff of Vivid Hair, a local salon.
  • Okuribon Festival (送り盆まつり) August 16. Held on the day following the Yokote Bon Dance. Neighborhoods construct large Yagatabune, house-shaped boats, from wood and straw. The boats are carried on the shoulders of neighborhood men and crashed against each other repeatedly on a bridge over the Yokote River.

Omonogawa

  • HaHaHa Festival (ははは祭), on August 8th, is named not only for the sound of laughter, but also for the date of the festival. While it may not be a major festival, it is a very popular event for the neighbourhood. It offers the usual festival food, game stalls and live performances, including the inevitable "Tribute to Michael Jackson" dance routine performed by Omonogawa students.
  • Matsutake Festival (松茸祭) in October is actually a marathon event. It honors the matsutake mushroom. There are 3 distances, 5km, 20km and 27km offered and it starts in front of Omonogawa Junior High School. The winners are presented with a matsutake in a box and everyone celebrates by eating matsutake rice afterwards.

Since the city merger, Omonogawa has introduced its own small version of the Kamakura festival. Running concurrently with Yokote's festival, it is a more traditional, less tourist orientated festival and perfect for pictures. The kamakuras are located between the community center and Central Park. It is best to go in the evening when they've lit the candles. Just follow the path of small kamakuras from the parking lot.

Hiraka

  • Ayame Matsuri (あやめ祭り) takes place at Asamai Park Map every year and spans from the last weekend in June to the first weekend in July. Ayame means iris in Japanese, and some 50,000 irises are in bloom in the park during this time. Various events take place on both weekends, including a school band concert, a goldfish catching competition, pony rides, and a Neigar Show. The festival culminates in a marathon on the final Sunday.

Sightseeing Destinations

Yokote's Furusato Mura (location) or Kamakuland, has many spectacles to behold.

  • Art Museum - showcases both its own collection and traveling exhibits. The art museum is free of charge and appears to contain an escalator to "no where". Don't worry though, the escalator actually takes you to sweet, sweet art.
  • Wonder Castle - Advertisements might try to pass this off as an amusement park, but personally, i don't consider anything without a roller coaster an amusement park. This is better described as a children's museum. However, this place is fun for adults, too! The main attraction, if you are not five years old, is the optical illusions exhibit on the 3rd and 4th floors (great place for photo ops). If you are five years old, then you may be more interested in the ball pits on the first floor (or puppies, but they don't have puppies). All ages may ride the "Namahage Power Slide". Basically, it is a two story slide at about an 88 degree angle; you go down it sitting in a burlap sack. Be prepared to be laughed at by small children if you hesitate at the top! The slide is not staffed, so make sure to press the button by the mouth of the slide on the second floor for assistance (don't worry, if you don't speak Japanese, they know enough English to tell you how to ride; it is only a slide). Admission to the Wonder Castle is 500 yen (slide is free with admission).
    Teach the youngins the truth about foreigners: ALTs truly come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Theater - The theater hosts a variety of events such as talent shows, Chojin Neigar Show, Hello Kitty shows, or talent shows hosted by Chojin Neigar villains. Kamakuland doesn't advertise very well, so make sure to really keep a look out for cool events that may be stopping here.
  • Planetarium - The Planetarium is near Wonder Castle in one of the buildings that looks like a dome. They do laser light shows and star viewings. Worth a look!
  • Local craft promenade - features opportunities to learn about and try making Akita's local crafts.
  • Akita Museum - A permanent exhibit with a variety of artifacts of Akita. One will find many traditional items such as cherry wood crafts and silver jewelry.
  • Gift Shop Mall - Great for holiday shopping. Basically, Kamakuland has a gift shop from every town in Akita Centered within a small area. If you are unable to find a particular gift here, there is a 85% chance it doesn't exist. Insider's Tip: As of October 31st, 2008, Kamakuland does not sell any Komachi Hats. To get those, you must have them custom made.

Yokote Castle is located in Yokote Park (location). It is a reconstruction of a castle which stood from the 17th to 19th century. The park also contains a pond and rose garden, and a playground for children. Insider's Tip: If this is your first time in Japan, go to Yokote Castle before visiting Kyoto or someplace like Yama-Dera. Yokote Castle is tiny, so embrace what grandeur it has before your heart becomes jaded by large castles or shrines. And if you're looking for a great overlook of Yokote City, this is the place to go. Some would even call it a make out spot. Rumor has it that if you go there at night a put a light/candle on your dashboard, that is the signal that you are looking for a hook-up. Personally, I am not desperate like that, but hey, i guess winters in Akita can get pretty lonely. Maybe for your own good, you should give taiko or snowboarding a chance first.

Yokote Ski Area (location) is located near the park.

Do

Sports

  • Green Stadium Yokote (グリーンスタジアムよこて). The largest baseball stadium grounds in the city also has a skate park (skateboard), 2 outdoor basketball half courts, baseball diamond and washroom facilities.
  • Yokote Gym (横手市立体育館). A sports NGO runs different sports programmes at this gym, such as badminton and tennis. There are pamphlets available there with details on programmes and times.  There is an annual membership fee of 3000 yen, and a separate fee (300 yen for badminton and tennis) for each time you go. Some programmes are led by instructors, while others provide just the facilities and equipment.
  • Yokote Batting Center (横手バッティングセンタ). On route 13, but tucked away (look for the yellow sign), the batting center has coin operated batting cages as well as a table tennis table.

Karaoke

Aside from karaoke found at bars, there are 3 large karaoke only establishments.

  • Southern (サザンー). Located just east of route 13, near the Gaia, the large obnoxiousness looking orange Pachinko Parlor. Charges per person depending on room size. On weekdays from 1100 to 1800, they offer "all you can sing" (i.e. "song viking") with drink bar for around 1000 yen. Southern contains a variety of themed rooms such as a jail, and American dorm room, and mirrored 80's dance hall. In the Greek/Roman room, there is a stage perfect for that rock ballad you've been practicing. Be warned, the disco ball in the Greek/Roman room is broken and will probably stay broken indefinitely. Still go to the Greek/Roman Room; you will not be disappointed. Interesting new development. Some if not all rooms at Southern may now contain the song "Love Shack".
  • A.Q.A. On route 107 on your way to Sannai. This place charges a flat fee per room, so you can divide that by the amount of people you have and it works out to be a pretty good deal. Rooms vary in sizes from small group (4-6) to a gigantic party room (easily 15, 20+ if people don't mind standing) Rooms by comparison are pretty bland though seating is comfortable. No themes or stages, BUT this is the only place that features Love Shack by the B52's, so we love this place most! Insider's Tip: A.Q.A has a point card reward system. The card costs about 300 Yen. If you use the point card, you can get the 3 hours for the price of two; well worth the deal (even if you theoretically bought a new card each time). Also, with 2,000 A.Q.A. karaoke points you can get some stylish Sailor Moon wannabe cups.
  • Music Stadium. This place is called Music Stadium, but most ALTs call it "Space Whale". While their choice of marketing is questionable and/or awesome (there are many picture of whales and dolphins flying through outer space), Space Whale is by far the worst of the Yokote's Karaoke options. Not only does it have small cramped rooms, but music selection is poor, many songs have wrong lyrics (e.g. Beach Boy's Kokomo), and a large portion of their karaoke machines run on DVDs instead of a hard drive. The best thing about this karaoke establishment is its location. Located in the heart of Yokote City, Space Whale is within walking distance of a plethora of bars, eating establishments, or even city hall and is easy to get to. Also, in the same building as Space Whale is a number of hostess bars, one with women in prom dresses.

DVD rentals

There are 3 major DVD rental stores in Yokote; Tsutaya, GEO and Yamasa

  • Tsutaya is the largest brand of the three stores. It has a decent selection of movies and rental CDs. You will need to purchase a membership annually, but this card is probably what gives Tsutaya an edge over its competitors. The point card can be used at various stores (Family Mart, Gusto, Eneos, Kitamura, Gyu-gaku etc.). Tsutaya aside from the usually random half price sale days, has also started other promotion days (subject to change, of course). Tuesday is children's films, Wednesdays is ladies' night.
  • GEO (katakana pronunciation)has a smaller selection but it's still decent. It also has special sales days where prices can drop to 80 yen per rental. It is located on route 107 near Yokote Minami Junior High School.
  • Yamase probably has the smallest selection of the three. It does have a larger music section. It also has a large book section with the only English selection in the city. It's located in the back of the store.

Pachinko

Yokote is home to several pachinko places where you can enjoy amusement and relaxation. Winning means getting to trade your bucket of metal balls in for such prizes as laundry soap, a Dirt Devil, or a hair dryer with the ionizing feature. Although these prizes are by all means worthy, it is customary to go to the secret shed in back and sell your prize for cold, hard yen. Beware: Unlike the capsule machines at Heaven, you aren't guaranteed to always be a winner.

  • GAIA, which opened in December 2008, is the newest and greatest pachinko parlor in town. For weeks, there were 2 men stationed outside waving giant flags to lure customers from their usual pachinko hang-outs to this new, unfamiliar terrain. Their hard work's paid off and the GAIA parking lot's filling up. Now this may be secret strategy of new pachinko parlors to excite and enthuse the public, but it's been reported that a teacher recently won 20 man yen at GAIA! If you can get over the fact that the GAIA building once was the home of our only bowling alley within a 100 kilometer radius, we invite you to try your luck.
  • New York x 2 looks like a strip club straight out of Vegas, but don't be fooled. There's no fancy dancing going on in this place.
  • P-Zone stands for Pachinko Zone. Korean drama themed machines rule at P-Zone. When you win a round, pictures of your favorite cast members scroll by. So, not only do you get the glory of winning, you get the added joy of reliving some of your favorite K-drama memories... times before she lost her memory in that horrible car crash, before he went blind, before he switched his identity to hide that he really is the long lost brother of his true love.

Ōmori

  • Sakura-so (さくら荘)and Ōmori Resort Village (大森リソート村). This area has many different options. Sakura-so offers onsens and outdoor barbecue/yakiniku (you have to make a reservations for the lather). The resort village has many different sports facilities and programmes. There is also a golf club nearby.

Omonogawa

  • Riverside Park (河川公園). A large park next to the Omonogawa river. It has outdoor barbecue pits, children's play areas, and a large asphalt track for jogging, in-line skating, or skateboarding.
  • Omonogawa Central Park (雄物川中公園). This park has a jogging path, a pavilion, a few old samurai houses, and a shrine. It also is lit up a little in the evening so if you want to go play kick a ball around after work you can do that there. At the playground, there is a 50 foot tall rope jungle gym perfect for watching the sun rise or set. There is also a homeless cat that lives there so please pet him if you see him.

Onsens

Hiraka

Yupple (ゆっぷる) (location) is easily recognized by the enormous red-painted concrete apple in front of it. It has a few different baths, a sauna, and access to the outside, but no rotenburo.

Hours:
Jan-Feb 7:00-21:00
Mar-Dec 6:00-21:00
Closed Wednesdays
Price:
3 hours or less: ¥400
All day pass: ¥600

Masuda

Sawarabi (さわらび) and Yuraku (ゆーらく) are close to each other, but little else (location). They both draw from the same hot spring, but Sawarabi is larger and had a rotenburo.

Sawarabi:
Hours: 10:00-15:00
Price: ¥500

Yuraku:
Hours: 10:00-20:00
Price: ¥200

Omonogawa

Egao no Oka (えがおの丘), Yusenso (雄川荘) and San Kichi San So (三吉山荘) line the same street of Omonogawa but draw from different hot springs (location). All three offer a similar beautiful view of the surrounding area. San Kichi San So is the oldest and smallest, containing only one bath, but the local people rave about the quality of its water. Yusenso is next up in size and facilities. It also has hotel rooms if you wish to stay overnight. Egao no Oka is the largest and most modern. In addition to the onsen, it has a gym and pool and a few restaurants. To use the facilities at Egao no Oka, check in at the front desk. You will receive a barcoded bracelet for the gym, or a locker key for the pool. These tell the staff how much to charge you at the end. Return them when you are finished.

Egao no Oka:
Hours: 10:00-21:00
Closed Mondays and Holidays
Price:
Onsen/Pool: ¥420
Gym: ¥315

Yusenso:
Hours: 9:00-21:00
Price: ¥420

San Kichi San So:
Hours: 8:30-20:00
Closed Tuesdays
Price: ¥210

Ōmori

Sakuraso (さくら荘) (site)(location) sits on top of a hill and offers a lovely view of rural Ōmori.
Price: ¥300

Ōmori Kenko Onsen (大森健康温泉) (site)(location) is more modest in size with only one bath and no sauna.

Hours:

Mar-Nov: 6:00-20:00
Dec-Feb: 6:30-19:30
Closed Mondays, Obon, and New Year's
Price:
Up to 2 hours: ¥300
Over 2 hours: ¥600

Sannai

Tsuru ga Ike So(鶴ヶ池荘) (site) (location) has a number of different types of baths, indoor and outdoor. The men's and women's sides are very different and alternate daily.

Hours: 6:00-21:00
Price: ¥500


Kyorinso (共林荘) (location) is located far off the beaten track and has some of the best water in Yokote. Its facilities may leave something to be desired, but the water does not disappoint. It has a rotenburo and an outdoor utaseyu (a stream of water which is often used for massaging the neck and shoulders).

Hours:

Mar-Nov: 6:00-20:00
Dec-Feb: 6:30-19:30
Closed Mondays, Obon, and New Year's
Price:
Up to 2 hours: ¥300
Over 2 hours: ¥600

Taiyū

Yutorion Taiyū (ゆとりおん大雄) (location) claims its radioactively charged water will help prevent cancer. It also has a ganban'yoku, for an additional cost, where you are encouraged to sweat on a heated rock bed as a means of purification.

Hours: 9:00-21:00
Closed the first and third Thursdays of every month.
Onsen:
Less than 2 hours: ¥450
2-4 hours: ¥650
Day pass: ¥850

Ganbayoku:
30 minutes: ¥500
45 minutes: ¥750
1 hour: ¥1,000

Yokote

Yuyu Plaza (ゆうゆうプラザ) (location) is recently renovated and conveniently located near Yokote station.

Hours: 8:30-22:00
Before 17:00: ¥900
After 17:00 ¥700

Wholesome Inn (ホールサムイン) (location) is near Furusato Mura. It offers a wide variety of baths both indoor and out.

Kanpo no Yado (かんぽの宿) is part of an onsen hotel chain. Its Yokote branch offers saunas and various baths, including a rotenburo with a view of Yokote.

Restaurants

Chains

  • Daifuku (カルビ屋大福) (location) Yakiniku restaurant that can be pretty pricey EXCEPT for Friday's when BiBimBap is half price! Woo! You might even get a coupon for a Daifuku Rubic's cube.
  • Gusto (ガスト) (location) General family restaurant. Gusto offers basically a little of everything: Japanese foods, Chinese foods, and American foods. While Gusto is great, multifunctional,open till 5 AM, don’t be afraid to leave its average menu and venture off into the culinary realm of the unknown. Insider's Tip: The veggie juice is best mixed with Calpis soda or melon soda.
  • Coco's (ココス)(location) A more slightly more expensive version of Gusto, but with better division between the smoking and non-smoking sections. Located next to Tsutaya, in the same strip mall as Gusto. They have taco salad, quesadillas, and a club sandwich. Bad news: no gyoza. Even more bad news: the club sandwich is seasonal.
  • Sukiya (すき家) (location) A gyu-don (rice bowl with beef topping) restaurant. Fast and inexpensive. Open 24 hours.
  • Kappa Sushi (かっぱ寿司) (location)(located on Rt 13 across from GAIA) A kaiten (conveybelt) sushi place where most every plate is 105 yen. Exceptions to the 105 yen rule are clearly displayed and mostly include specialties like coffee jelly and karage chicken. Every now and then, the shinkansen will fly by. Resist the temptation to test your rapid-fire reflexes by grabbing at what the shink's transporting for, unless it stops in front of you, it's meant for another lucky customer. You, too, can get in on the shinkansen fun by ordering something from the computer stationed at your table. When you've reached your fill, just push the yellow/tan rectangle on the main screen of the computer and a friendly staff member will come survey the damage and give you your total. Insider's tip: You may be hesitant to grab that plate with the "Hello Kitty Fiber Juice Box", but do it. First, it's delicious. Second, just think off all that fiber you are getting (i mean you aren't getting it from your "forty dollars worth of vegetables" juice. Remember while Kappa is delicious, it isn't Gusto.
  • Mos Burger (モスバーガー) (location) is in the same shopping center as Culture Station (Rest In Peace, buddy) and Daifuku. Next time you're in the mood to ingest a day's worth of calories in one meal, screw Mac and think Mos. This upscale fast food joint offers all the temptations that ground beef/pork have to offer. The menu includes a satisfying chili burger, fried apple pie, and a side of french fries with one onion ring (expect one, be delighted with two). If you visit in the winter months, feel free to wear your favorite tube top and a pair of daisy dukes as Yokote's Mos is about as warm as a Honda Life with the heater on level 4. It is imperative to note that the coaster that your beverage is served on is not a souvenir.
  • Dohtonbori (道とん堀) (location) An okonomiyaki restaurant with a extensive menu. Prices are very reasonable too. Located in Jūmonji.
  • Kazan Ramen (火山ラーメン) (location) Watch as your ramen turns into a steaming volcano in front of your eyes! Staff will pour your soup into a piping hot stone bowl while you hide behind a paper sheet. Kazan (literally "Volcano Ramen") serves all the usual ramen bases plus other variations like white miso and tomato and cheese. Your ramen comes with rice to add to the leftover soup after you have eaten all the noodles and a small dessert (annin dofu). Free self-serve kakigori in summer. A little expensive, but great novelty value.

Local Restaurants

  • KuruKuru Sushi (location) also known as Eisuke Sushi (栄助寿し). This place is across from Gusto in the same parking lot as Mos. If you like your 100yen sushi, you have to check out this laid-back, no frills (conveyor belt) kaiten sushi spot. There's no shinkansen and definitely no touch screen ordering system, but who needs all that technology when you can chat with humans? Not only is the food better than Kappa Sushi's, going to KuruKuru means you support our meager locally owned business community. Another added bonus: I'm pretty sure one of food angel's friends works there. They are open till 9:30.
  • Suisha (水車) also known by some as Waterwheel (location) is located on 13 near the Softbank store. This family owned venture offers traditional Japanese dishes, such as soba, udon, and various 'dons. A former ALT/legend of Yokote translated their menu into English, so an English menu's available upon request. You can also order "yasai tendon," a meatless version of the tendon dish there. It's not on the menu, but they will be happy to make it for you.
  • Hokkaiya (北海屋) (location) 秋田県横手市前郷二番町1−21 0182-32-0200 Located just down from the station. Has a good selection of ramens, mostly variations on Miso, Shoyu, and Shio. All are quite good. I thoroughly recommend the gyoza ramen. However here you can also try the "Hottest Ramen in Yokote". Warning: hottest ramen in Yokote is really really difficult to finish. Gyoza is also quite good. If you go there often you will probably soon be rewarded with endless free pickled daikon! OPEN LATE!!!
  • Kamikura (神蔵) (location) is owned by the family of an Ōmori JHS student. It is also one of the greatest ramen and gyoza shops in all of Japan. Like gyoza? They have in forms such as age gyoza, yaki gyoza, gyoza soup. Their ramen is also top notch and a guaranteed hangover cure. You get to create your own ramen by choosing a base and adding different ingredients that are about a 50-80yen addition each, and you can add gyoza and salad sets. If you don't feel like ramen, their cha-han set on the back of the menu is huge and highly recommended. Kamikura is located next to the Happy Town shopping center, a block or two to the West.
  • J-Pizza Carnival (J・ピザカーニバル) (location) The best pizza in southern Yokote. Wide selection of toppings and sizes. Delivery is available, but eating at the restaurant is recommended as prices are reduced by half (and why wouldn't you want to spend some time in their American themed dining room?!). New discovery: certain items on the menu are available for take-out at half price, too. A recent review by a native New Yorker has her quoted as saying, "J Pizza Carnival is some of the best pizza I have ever had...outside of America."
  • Bar PaSaPorte (バル・パサポルテ) (location) Classy restaurant/bar. Includes many variations on Italian food. Very pleasant staff and service. Prices are a bit on the steep side.
  • Pokara (ポカラ or 歩空) (location) Located just off Route 107 in central Yokote. Look for the tiny building adorned with plastic snowmen and other madness. Feast on Indian and Thai curry in this tiny restaurant filled with souvenirs and memorabilia from an array of countries. The master and his wife are very friendly and will chat to you throughout your meal. If you time it right you may also get the chance to watch his band rehearsing, join in lively renditions of "You are My Sunshine", and appear on his blog. A set meal (including salad, dumplings, curry, rice, naan, dessert, coffee, and more) will set you back about 1,500-2,000 yen but is definitely worth it. Individual dishes are probably cheaper. Advance booking may be a good idea because there are only a few tables and random holiday days. ☎ 0182-32-5025
  • Stajoni (スタジョーニ) (location) Also known (for some reason) as "Pumpkin". Pasta, gratin and pizza. Very wide variety of pasta dishes. For an extra 100 yen you can request "nama pasta" or freshly-made pasta (either fettuccine or linguine) for any item.
  • Oysteria (location) The Magnifico Italian Restaurant. Oysteria is cool for a number of reasons. First, the restaurant is located in a bad part of town. Well, if anything was considered a bad part of town in Yokote, this is it. Second, the place serves Italian food and by Italian food, I mean actual good tasting Italian food. As a bonus, they serve you water with a slice of lemon in it. That may not seem like anything special, but the chef does leave the pitcher of water at your table and lemon water is delicious. Third, the owner/chef is really cool. Whatever his back story is, he is a nice man and a great chef. However, what makes the owner really cool is this: he’ll try to help you score with chicks. While this could have been an accident, I really don’t think that this cool, cool man would have been listening to “Endless Love” if he wasn’t the best chef/wingman ever. Finally, he can make basically anything Italian you want.
  • Cafe Ren (ダイニングカフェ蓮 ) (location) Quiet cafe with a garden located a short drive from central Yokote.
  • Yokote Yakisoba restaurants - many, many restaurants serve the infamous Yokote Yakisoba. Take a look at all 59 of them here!

Shopping

100 Yen Stores There are several options for this wonder of wonders. Selection varies slightly between stores.

  • Daiso- One of the more popular 100 yen store brands. There is one in Yokote and one in Jūmonji.
  • 100 Yen Shop- Usually found in Aeon/ Jusco centers. There is a small one in the Yokote Aeon on the second floor.
  • The 100 Yen Store- There is a large one next to the on the north part of town next to Cosmo gas station and a small one inside Happy.
  • Seria-Behind Saty

Yokote

Most of the major shops in Yokote City are located on or near route 13.

Aeon has a large supermarket section as well as clothing and household items on the first floor. There's also a separate bakery, a photo developer (Snaps!), KFC, Baskin Robbins, and McDonald's. You'll find a tailor/key cutter/ repair shop on the first floor near the rear entrance doors. The second floor is like entering a whole new world within the Aeon universe. The second floor boasts a musical instrument store where you might see a concert if you're lucky, a book store, a 100 yen store, 2 Gusto-like restaurants, a food court, and a gift shop that should be avoided by anyone who has an affinity for cuteness.

If you shop at Aeon (the main area on the first floor), keep in mind that they have 2 point cards. One is for using your own shopping bag or basket. The second, the "mechatoku stamp card" (メチャ得スタンプカード)is for spending a certain amount on Saturday. These cards will eventually entitle you to a discount. The bag card gives 100 yen off a Top Value brand product. The mechatoku card gives 500 yen off any purchase.

There is a dry cleaners and ATMs outside. There is also an English option photo booth outside the entrance closest to Trenta.

Aeon houses receptacles for cans, glass, plastic bottles, and milk cartons where you can deposit your recyclable goods.

Saty is affiliated with Aeon. There is even a shuttle bus that runs between the two stores. Saty is mostly clothing on the first floor and the second floor* is has hosiery, undies, children's goods, and fancy household items, like that plush blanket you cried over at the holiday gift exchange. There are some restaurants on the first floor (by the Mister Donuts entrance) and a hair salon on the first floor (by the sports section). The mechatoku card can also be used at Saty on Saturdays.

  • *Heaven is what we call the second floor of Saty. Make sure you bring lots of 100 yen pieces as you will not be able to resist the huge selection of capsule machines that await you. Remember the motto: When you play with capsule machines, you're always a winner!


Happy Town (ハッピタウンショッピングセンター) A strip mall also located off of route 13. It has a variety of different stores:

  • Shimamura (しまむら) - Clothing store. Similar to *TJ Maxx(US) or Winner's(Canada).
  • Yoneya - A supermarket
  • Happy (ハッピー) - A building supplies and household goods store. Has a 100 yen store section near the front
  • Foot Town- Shoes
  • Party Supplies store
  • ATMs

Strip mall across the street from Saty Mentioned in other sections.

  • UniQlo - Old Navy of Japan.
  • Kitamura - photography store
  • Daiso - 100 yen store

Yamaya The "World Liquor System" store, also has the best selection of international foods in the city. Unfortunately, they just decided to stop selling Dr. Pepper. That reduced their amount of cool points by about one million.

Xebio and Do Sports! These are two major sporting goods supplies stores in the city.

Omonogawa

MaxValue Main supermarket in town. Has a small 100 yen section. Uses the same bring-your-own-bag point card as Aeon but has a seperate "pink receipt day" (Tuesdays, which is also discount day on many products) point card that can only be used at MaxValue. You get a stamp for every 1000 yen, and a full card gives a 500 yen discount.

Super Center Trust (スーパーセンタートラスト)(location) A Super Walmart type store. A good one stop shopping place. Has a large supermarket section, dry cleaners, food court and pharmacy as well. Sometimes, has better prices than the 100 yen stores. Many people fall in love with the frozen meat section. Maybe you will, too.

Also has a self serve (with English option), 24 hours gas station in the parking lot. Just take the receipt inside the gas station, and scan the bar code to get your change.

Jūmonji

Lucky is another Super Walmart type store. It has a particularly good sports and outdoor section (well, for this area anyways). Also has a Daiso and Shimamura in the same parking lot area.


Interesting Facts

"Come on in, the mochi and amazake are fine!"

Yokote is home to many fascinating and unique things. First, Yokote (specifically, Masuda) is the birthplace to Akita’s most famous comic book character, Tsurikichi Sanpei. Who is Sanpei you ask? Sanpei is just about the coolest, Tohoku accented, happy-go-lucky fisherman in the world. Even if you don’t read manga, you'll see Sanpei; he is the kid on your busses and fruit. Don’t get him confused with that one guy from “One Piece”, Sanpei is way cooler and existed at least 20 years before “One Piece”. Every Japanese person in Akita knows who Sanpei is. If you want to score bonus points with any local person (kids not as much; adults, yes) mention something about Sanpei and they will freak out, give you a hug, and take you to a nomihodai.

Yokote is also home to the “were-deer”. I know what you are probably thinking. You are probably saying to yourself, “Sweet Sassy Molassy, why did I get placed in a city with a were-deer/why would I ever visit a place with a were-deer?” First, of all, Sanpei lives here, which hands down is a good enough reason to come. Second, the were-deer is not actually the demonic consequence of some sort of drunken vampire camping bender. The were-deer is actually the Japanese serow. Technically, this is a goat and not a deer, but not only do they look cool, they are also very rare. If you see one, considered yourself blessed! (Note: were-deer actually live throughout Japan).

So if things like cartoon fisherman and goats don’t tickle your fancy, there are more traditional activities and things to do in Yokote (see any of the sections below). One final tip that doesn’t fit anywhere else on this page: Yokote literally translates to “sideways hand”. However, some internet translators will translate Yokote to “Applause City”. No one really knows why that happens, it just is. Truly, this is just another wonderful and beautiful mystery waiting to be solved in the most happening city in Southern Akita.

External Links

Yokote City
Hiraka • Jūmonji • Masuda • Omonogawa • Ōmori • Sannai • Taiyū • Central Yokote
Akita Prefecture
Northern Akita Fujisato • Happō • Kamikoani • Kazuno • Kitaakita • Kosaka • Mitane • Noshiro • Ōdate
Central Akita Akita City • Gojōme • Hachirōgata • Ikawa • Katagami • Oga  • Ōgata  • Semboku
Southern Akita Daisen • Higashinaruse • Misato • Nikaho • Ugo • Yokote • Yurihonjō • Yuzawa