Ōdate

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Ōdate City
大館市
Ōdate
Ōdate in Akita
Location in Akita
Location
CountryJapan
RegionTōhoku
PrefectureAkita
Physical characteristics
Area913.7 km²
Population71,558 (as of 2020-06-08)
Symbols
TreeAkita Cedar (秋田杉)
FlowerChrysanthemum (菊)
City emblem
City Hall
MayorHajime Obata (小畑 元)
Address20 Aza Nakajō, Ōdate
Akita 017-8555
(〒017-8555 秋田県
大館市字中城20番地)
Telephone☎ 0186-49-3111
WebsiteHomepage

Ōdate (大館市; -shi) is the largest city in northern Akita Prefecture. It is famous around Japan as the home of kiritampo and the Akita Inu dog breed. Ōdate is also the birthplace of Hachiko, the most famous individual of that dog variety. Like much of northern Akita, Ōdate was built on forestry and mining industries.

Geography

The central district of Ōdate is settled in the very middle of the Ōdate Basin, along the Yoneshiro River and it's tributaries.

Location and Population

Ōdate is located in northeastern Akita Prefecture. The area of Ōdate is 913.7 km². The population is estimated in 2020 to be 71,558, giving the city a population density of 78 persons per km².

Clockwise from the north Ōdate borders Aomori Prefecture (Nishimeya Village, Hirosaki City, Ōwani Town, and Hirakawa City) to the north, Kosaka and Kazuno to the east, and Kitaakita and Fujisato to the west.

History

Ōdate Town was created in 1889 and it existed as such until 1951 when it joined Shakanai Village and became Ōdate City. In 1955, and again in 1967, nearby towns and villages were incorporated into Ōdate, thus considerably expanding the city's jurisdiction. In June 2005, the towns of Hinai and Tashiro were incorporated into Ōdate as well.

The Hanaoka Incident

During World War II there was a shortage of men to work in the mining industry in Japan. To make up for the shortage, forced laborers from China were brought to work the mines, including mines in Akita. Nearly a thousand Chinese workers were sent to the Hanaoka Mine in July 1944. By June 1945, 137 of the laborers had died from the harsh working conditions and on June 30, 1945, the remaining 800 or so Chinese laborers staged a riot by killing four of their Japanese custody officers and escaped the mine premises. The next day, military police, local police, and civil defense units surrounded a large number of the excapees hiding in a nearby forest and began a murder spree in order to surpress the riot, killing an additional 282 laborers. In total, 419 Chinese and five Japanese were killed. Like many uprisings and events during the war, there are differing accounts of the incident and some who deny that it happened at all. Nevertheless, the Hanaoka hamlet in Ōdate is considered by many to be a haunted place on account of what happened there during the war. Today, a Hanaoka Memorial Hall stands in Ōdate and Beijing. In recent years, a prolonged legal battle has ensued between the company which operated the Hanaoka Mine (Kashima Construction) and surviving Chinese slave laborers. As of 2007, it seems a settlement has been made.

Former towns in Ōdate

  • Hinai (比内). The former town in southern Ōdate which is famous for the chicken which bears the same name.
  • Tashiro (田代). Former town in western Ōdate with some of the Shirakami Mountains in the north as well as a popular fun slide. The former town got it's name from the nearby Mt. Tashiro.
  • Hanaoka

Festivals

  • Daimonji Festival (大文字祭り)
    August 16 (8pm-9pm) and 17 (2008). Held during summer, this festival marks the end of the obon period. The festival is comprised of two parts: a parade in the middle of the day and a concert and fireworks in the evening. The parade takes place down the length of Omachi (大町) the main shopping street of Ōdate. Local businesses enter teams which compete to put on the most impressive display. Groups of women perform choreographed dancing wearing yukata and groups of men wearing semi-transparent shorts and sarashi carry a large mikoshi (御輿) with women on top throwing mochi to the crowd. Due to the summer heat and the exertion of carrying the omikoshi, the crowd throws buckets of water at the men. In the evening there is a concert on the basketball courts by the Nagaki River (長木川)with festival food stalls, taiko, and traditional music and dance performances. The highlight of the festival is the lighting of a large representation of the chinese character "dai" (大), set on a hillside overlooking the city. This practice was adopted from Kyoto, where a similar tradition is held each summer. The bonfire is accompanied by a fireworks display.
  • Shinmeisha Festival (神明社)
    September 9-10. The other of Ōdate's two biggest festivals. In mid-September the city streets become filled with the sound of music and chanting, as dozens of large, beautifully decorated floats are pulled around town by teams from each of the city suburbs. The floats contain musicians and dancers. Rooted in the Shinto religion, a stop at Ōdate's main shrine is an integral part of the celebrations. The festival runs for two days, and each evening, the floats congregate in the centre of Omachi, where each team competes to prove who has the most energy. The large waterfight is possibly the highlight.
  • Kiritampo Festival
    October 10-11. To celebrate the new harvest, Ōdate holds this small two-day festival in early October on the banks of Nagaki river. Kiritampo is Ōdate's most famous food, and this festival is centred around cooking and eating it, as well as the usual dance and musical performances. The 2008 festival featured Kiritampo boy and Kiritampo girl, so if you are interested in actually meeting Kiritampo this is your place. Also, they had an area where you could make your own kiritampo and cook it outside AND a giant flea market!
  • Hinai Chicken Festival (比内とりの市)
    January 28-29. Hinai-machi is so proud of its famous chicken, that it holds a festival in its honor every January. As well as a variety of foodstalls, visitors can be entertained by chicken-related events and other performances.
  • Amekko Festival (アメッコ市)
    Second weekend in February. The "Candy Market" festival takes place at the beginning of February, and has been held in Ōdate for centuries. The trees along O-machi in the centre of the city are decorated with bright pink candy. The street is closed to motorised traffic, and vendors set up stalls selling many different kinds of hand-made sweets. According to tradition, if you eat this candy, you will not catch a cold for the rest of the winter.
  • Takenoko Festival (竹の子祭り)
    June. Takenoko are the young shoots of bamboo, and are a specialty of Tashiro. This laid-back festival takes place in June. Like the kiritampo festival, eating and enjoying the performances are the main activities here.

Schools

Senior High Schools

Junior High Schools

Elementary Schools

Special Education Schools

Board of Education

Ōdate Board of Education
43-1 Ueno, Hayakuchi
Ōdate, Akita 018-3595
JAPAN

大館市教育委員会
〒018-3595 秋田県大館市早口字上野43番地1

☎ 0186-43-7111
Fax 0186-54-6100

Local Activities

  • Zerodate Art Collective (ゼロダテ)
    http://www.zero-date.org/
  • Taiko drumming with Tashirodaiko (田代太鼓)
  • Rail Bike
    NPO法人大館・小坂鉄道レールバイク http://railbike.jp
  • Magewappa (曲げわっぱ)
    Classes allow you how to make your own Japanese cedar bento box. Cost ¥4,000. Homepage
  • The Odate Youth Nature House (大館少年自然の家; Ōdate Shōnen Shizen no Ie)
    Enjoy many outdoor and/or overnight excursions at this nature facility. Also the location of Odate English camps.
  • Calligraphy - Shodo / Shuji (書道/習字)
    Learn traditional Japanese calligraphy. Classes allow you to either learn and practice for fun, or to submit your calligraphy for rank. (contact an Odate JET for more information)
  • Hiking (location)
    There are many trails around and leading up to Mt. Ho-oh. There are also areas for picnics, and sakura viewing in the spring. The Mt. Ho-oh hike is roughly a 4hour round trip, and is very steep towards the top. Parking lot closes at 6pm.

Sightseeing Destinations

  • Dog Tourism
    Perhaps Ōdate's greatest claim to fame is the dog Hachiko, an Akita Inu whose loyalty is celebrated in the famous statue outside Shibuya station in Tokyo. Hachiko was born in Ōdate before being taken to Tokyo, and the dog-enthusiast can visit his birthplace, explore the Akita dog museum or enjoy watching the Akita dog show held during Golden Week each year in Keijo park.
    Hachiko state (very similar to the famous Shibuya version) has been moved to the front of the newly built Akita Dog Visitor Center (also called Akita Dog Welcome Center). Situated a short walk from the JR Odate station, you can find a gift shop inside (even with dog food and treats), information and pictures of Akita dogs as well as plushies, and an area where you can meet some of the popular local Akita dogs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can see them only behind a glass. Also, people are encouraged to bring their pets and take them inside and to the dog park behind the building, so you will likely see various dogs (including Akita dogs) there.

    In August 2020, the iconic Shibuya "Green Frog" train information center was moved from Tokyo to Odate, and you can see the popular train car there as well.
    (location). A museum displaying the history the Akita dog breed in rather poor condition. They'll usually have at least one or two Akita dogs outside the museum. The museum is open 9:00~16:00, closed Saturday afternoons from November 21~April 20, Sundays, and national holidays. The price is 200 yen for adults.
    • Akita Inu Dog Show
    Across the road from the dog museum is Keijo park (桂城公園), where every year in spring a dog show is held. People come from far and wide to see and show off their Akita Inu, and it is not uncommon for foreign fans of the breed to make the pilgrimage here.
    Baseball in the Ōdate Jukai Dome
    The park itself is small, though is beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It is particularly popular in golden week when locals come here to enjoy hanami.
  • Ōdate Jukai Dome (大館樹海ドーム)
    (location): Translated as "Sea of Trees Dome", this sports facility is recognised as the largest wooden dome in the world. Made of locally grown Akita ceder, the jukai dome has a maximum height of 52 metres and a floor space of around 23,000 square metres. Definitely worth a visit for all those dome enthusiasts out there.

Onsen

Yatate

The northern limit of Ōdate, Yatate lies on the border of Akita and Aomori prefectures. It can be reached by following Route 7 towards Hirosaki City in Aomori.

  • Hikage Onsen (日景温泉) (location)
    One of the more traditional hot springs around Ōdate, Hikage Onsen features a large wooden tub for each of the separate male and female indoor bathing areas. There is also a small, mixed-bathing rotemburo. While a little old, Hikage onsen retains its traditional character, and is particularly atmospheric in the winter. It lies in a small river valley, a five minute drive west of Yatate Heights (look for the sign just before Yatate Touge, to the left if you are driving north. Hours:08:00-21:00. ¥400
  • Yatate Onsen (矢立温泉)
  • Yatate Heights (矢立ハイツ)

Ōdate Proper

  • Shakanai Onsen (釈迦内温泉) (location)
    This small onsen is one of the most popular in Ōdate. Each of the separate male and female areas has one indoor tub, and one pleasant rotemburo, surrounded by rocks and shrubbery. The water temperature is a little higher than most onsen, and soap/ shampoo is not provided, so you will need to bring your own. Hours: 06:00-21:00. Closed on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. ¥300
  • Seifusō (清風荘) (location)
    Situated on the Jukai Line, 10 minutes east of Ōdate on the way to Kosaka. Without doubt the most scenic rotemburo in the Ōdate area. The onsen itself is located on a slope in a narrow valley, and while sitting in the rocky outdoor bath, one can enjoy views of the surrounding hills and forest, particulary beautiful when covered in snow during winter. In addition to the main rotemburo, there is also a small outdoor wooden jacuzzi, a large indoor bath and a steam room. Hours: 06:00-22:00. ¥300
  • Furusawa Onsen Kōyōkan (ふるさわ温泉 光葉館) ☎ 0186-48-4295 ¥300
  • Roten to Garden no Onsen Hōō Tei (露天とガーデンの温泉 ほうおう庭) ☎ 0186-49-8574 Cost: 5:30-8:00 ¥300, 8:00-21:00 ¥400

Ōtaki Onsen

  • Fujiya Hotel (富士屋ホテル) ☎ 0186-52-3270
  • Chitose Hotel (千歳ホテル) ☎ 0186-52-3515
  • Little Ōtake Onsen (リトル大滝温泉) ☎ 0186-52-3811
  • Ōtake Hotel (大滝ホテル) ☎ 0186-52-3718
  • Hotel Semba (ホテル仙波) ☎ 0186-52-3508
  • Hokubu Area (北部エリア) ☎ 0186-47-7070
  • Tomutomu no Yu (湯夢湯夢の湯) ☎ 0186-52-2502 ¥250
  • Karuisawa Onsen (軽井沢温泉) Two baths, one is 46°C, the other is 43°C. ¥150 ☎ 0186-52-2905

Hinai

  • Hachiko-sō (ハチ公荘) (location) Hours: 06:00-22:00 (06:00-21:00 November-March). Closed on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. No soap, no rotemburo. ¥180 ☎ 0186-49-0439
  • Hinai Onsen Hinai no Yu (ひない温泉 比内のゆ) Hours: 6:00-22:00 Baths are at 3 temperatures, 41, 42 and 43°C. Has sauna too. 大館市比内町扇田字上中島13-1 ¥300 ☎ 0186-45-4588
  • Ōkuzo Onsen Hinai Beniyama Sō (大葛温泉 比内ベニヤマ荘) Homepage ☎0186-42-0822
  • Ōkuzo Onsen Chōmin Yokujō (大葛温泉 町民浴場) ¥100 Hours: 6:00-21:00 ☎0186-57-2206

Tashiro

  • Tashiro Onsen Yuppula (たしろ温泉 ユップラ) Clean and modern, this onsen has baths of varying temperatures, a sauna and a small rotenburo. It is not very large and very popular with the locals, so can get pretty busy, especially in the evenings. Follow the signs in Tahiro on route 7. Homepage

Restaurants

National Chains

  • COCO'S (location))
    Family restaurant in Katayama between Sukiya and KFC.
  • McDonald's(location)
    Your standard Japanese McDonald's fare. Location is a bit difficult to access, you can also park at the Itoku lot attached.
  • Kappa Sushi (かっぱ寿司) (location)
    This kaitenzushi restaurant, located next to Tsudoitei, offers most sushi at a fixed price of 100 yen per plate. Their menu now offers a rudimentary English option.
  • Sushiro (スシロー) (location)
    Kaitenzushi at its best. Sushiro is an excellent alternative to Kappa Sushi. They also have an English option on their touch screen/menu. Located close to Yamada Denki, Nitori and Aeon shopping center.

Local Restaurants

  • Nishiki (錦) (location)
    Ōdate's most popular ramen restaurant. Located along Route 7 north of central Ōdate in Shakanai.

Cafes

  • Tully's Coffee (location)
    The only major coffee shop chain in Odate. It shares the same building as Books Moa and a Toyota dealership. Has a quiet study area on the 2nd floor as well.
  • Mister Donut (location).
    This Mister Donut is location outside of the large Itoku shopping center. It does get crowded and seating has been limited since the COVID-19 pandemic. Offers free hot coffee refills (dine-in only).
  • S.witch Cafe (location)
    A small open-window cafe during warmer seasons, this is a popular stop for those getting on and off the nearby Odate JR station. It's also right next door to the Magewappa shop.
  • Nagahama Coffee (location)
    Another coffee shop chain, this location can be found in the same plaza as the DCM Homac and Itoku Jukai store. Nagahama boasts superior quality coffee than the run-of-the-mill brands. Open from 10:30AM - 5PM daily.
  • Sukima Coffee (location)
    A small highly-rated lunch time cafe near the large Itoku shopping center.

Izakaya

For a uniquely Japanese dining experience, an izakaya can make a great alternative to conventional restaurants. These are generally lively establishments, offering a wide variety of different dishes and a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. They can range in style from ultra-hip and modern, to old and traditional. The following is a list of some of the more atmospheric izakaya in Ōdate.

  • Toriyakibei (location)
    A karaage and yakitori restaurant. Located in the center of Odate, it has fantastic karaage. Fills up quickly, so you may want to make a reservation.
  • Mu. (む) (location)
    A bustling second floor restaurant, catering mostly to a younger crowd. The food is great, offering a modern twist on some traditional Japanese favorites.

Bars

  • Valhalla (location)
    ¥500 seating charge, and beers ¥500 or ¥600 each; has bar seating and small table seating.
  • Cracker (location)
    This bar has a 90's feel to it; great music and atmosphere.

Shopping & Entertainment

  • Itoku Shopping Center (location)
    This large three-floor Itoku Shopping Center offers several shops and entertainment as well as new restaurants on the 3rd floor. On the first floor you can find the main grocery store, second floor has various clothing shops (including a custom yukata shop) and a stationery store, and the third floor has a game center, furniture, a Daiso, gift shops, another stationery store, gift bundles, and a variety of restaurants. Right outside of the store you can also find a Mister Donut.
  • Yamada Denki (location)
    A large electronics store chain (also known as LABI), has a large variety of electronics products, from cell phones, computers, laptops, computer parts, headphones, video games, even snacks and drinks. Prices are very comparable, if not better than K's Denki.
  • K's Denki (location)
    An electronics retail store. Provides everything from computers to cameras to speakers to general appliances. (There is also a really comfy electric massage chair section)
  • Ōdate AEON Supercenter (location)
    The AEON supercenter is a replacement to the JUSCO which used to be on main street. You can find a Pizza-La, Baskin-Robbins (aka Thirty-One), a game center, and various restaurants inside.
  • Magewappa (Wappa building location)
    Magewappa is the representative handicraft of Ōdate, and makes a great souvenir. The word refers to a variety of objects, typically bento lunchboxes, storage containers and serving trays made by heating and bending very thin strips of locally produced Akita ceder according to centuries-old tradition. The finished products are usually varnished, and elegant in their simplicity. As a lot of time and skill goes into the production of magewappa, the price is quite high. The following places offer a good selection of magewappa products.
  • Ōdate Kogeisha (大館工芸社) (location)
    A factory showroom displaying a wide range of magewappa goods. Their contains some detailed information about magewappa in English.
  • Yamaya
    A specialty foreign and domestic beer, liquor, and foreign food store. If you're looking for some snacks or ingredients normally found overseas, you might find it here. They have two locations, Otaomote (location), and in the Aeon Mall Nishi plaza (location).
  • Power Komeri (location)
    There's regular Komeri and there's Power Komeri. Power is a larger version of the hardware and home goods store Komeri with a lot more items and varieties. Some locations will also have a pet store containing all sorts of animals.
  • Namco game center (location)
    The only standalone game center arcade in Odate, usually open until 11PM. It has your standard fare of UFO Catchers and prize games, purikura, medal and pachislot games, Gundam pods, sit down multi-game cabinets with a variety of fighting games and what-not, as well as some rhythm games. It is in the same shopping center as AEON BIG, Uniqlo, KFC and Homac. Located next to a Daiso.
  • Kaikatsu Club (location)
    Formerly the location of Cote d'Azur karaoke, the company renovated and reopened the building as Kaikatsu Club. It advertises as having a manga library, billiards, darts, karaoke, and showers as well as a place to crash for a relatively low price.


See Also

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