Akita Station 秋田駅
Akita Station in Akita City, Akita Prefecture, is a major railway station in north-east Japan (the Tohoku region). The three lines Akita Station serves provide connections down to Niigata on the Japan Sea coast, west to Akita prefecture's Oga Peninsula - famous for its namahage tradition, northwards to Aomori Station in Aomori city, and south to Tokyo - the latter two including shinkansen services.
Akita Station has numerous facilities for the traveler, including an information service, an event space, and shopping malls.
Akita Station History
Akita Station dates back to 1902, but was completely rebuilt in 1996 when it became the modern, spacious structure it is today. The Akita Shinkansen service started the next year, in 1997, making Akita Station one of the most important stations in the Tohoku region.
Akita Station Lines
Akita Station serves the Ou Main Line (north and south) on which the Akita Shinkansen also runs, the Uetsu Main Line (south), and the Oga Namahage Line (west).
Ou Main Line / Akita Shinkansen
The Ou (pronounced "OH-ooh") Line is a line running from Fukushima to Aomori. The 52km section of the Ou Line from Akita Station south to Omagari Station carries the Akita Shinkansen (which then carries on uninterrupted down as far as Tokyo over other connected lines south of Omagari).
From Tokyo Station, the Akita Shinkansen to Akita Station is about a 3 hour 45 minute ride. Travelers with a Japan Rail Pass will find this useful but others may want to take an airplane from Haneda Airport, which is hardly any more expensive and much faster.
Northwards, the Ou Line goes as far as Aomori, the ride from Akita Station to Aomori taking about 2 hours 45 minutes on an express train.
Although the Ou Line passes through Akita Station, no trains on the Ou Line pass through Akita Station, as the gauge of the line changes at Akita Station, necessitating changing trains.
Uetsu Main Line
The Uetsu Main Line goes down the Japan Sea coast connecting Akita to Niigata City, via Yamagata Prefecture, a 3 hour 45 minute journey on an express train. (There are no direct domestic flights between Akita and Niigata.)
Oga Namahage Line
The Oga Namahage Line goes from Akita Station to Oga Station on the Oga Peninsula. The Oga Peninsula is known mainly for its colorful and noisy namahage tradition of monsters that do the rounds at New Year ensuring that children (and in the bad old days, young wives) were being good and obedient - a tradition celebrated at the Namahage Museum there. The Oga Peninsula is also notable for its beautiful, wild, barely populated natural surrounds.
Akita Station Facilities
Akita Station is modern, well-designed, and huge considering the relatively few passengers (about 11,000) passing through it each day.
In front of the Central Exit is a space regularly used for tourist and other promotions, often featuring food, drink, music, folk dancing, and more.
The Central Exit of Akita Station is at the station's south end, with access to the East and West Exits via a long covered passageway called "Popo Road." Popo Road actually takes you past the West Exit directly to the shopping district across the road. Another passage at the northern end of the station called "We Road" also provides east-west access through the station, with provision for bicycles, too (pushed, not ridden).
The staffed ticket offices are all at the Central Exit: the Midori no Madoguchi open from 5.30am to 10pm; the View Plaza from 10.30am to 6pm on weekdays and until 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
The Akita Tourist Information Office is also at the Central Exit.
Throughout Akita Station are decorations, especially lanterns, from the Kanto Festival that Akita City is so famous for throughout Japan, and which can be learned all about at the nearby Akita City Folklore and Performing Arts Center.
Akita Station ShoppingThe West Exit of Akita Station is where the shopping is. The Als and Topico shopping malls occupy three floors of the Akita Station Building, sharing the 2F (which is where the malls' service counter is). Topico is of more interest to the tourist with its restaurants (7/8am-10pm) and souvenir shops (8am-8pm), but there is a Starbucks (7am-10pm) in Als.
Across the road from the West Exit - and best accessed via the Popo Road walkway - is a large shopping district dominated by Seibu Department Store.
Buses and taxis leave from the West Exit.
Hotels near Akita Station
The Hotel Metropolitan Akita is joined to Akita Station and gets rave reviews not only for its proximity to the station but for its comfortable rooms, two restaurants, bar, good service and, for those with a car, free parking.
Richmond Hotel Akita Ekimae is just 7 minutes' walk west of Akita Station, with a bathtub in each room as well as a shower, reasonably priced, and a good breakfast buffet.
The Toyoko Inn Akita-eki Higashi-guchi very near the East Exit of Akita Station, in an ultra-modern aluminum-and-glass building, provides all the basics in comfort for very reasonable nightly rates.
The Akita Castle Hotel offers a little more luxury, with spacious, very clean and comfortable rooms with all the amenities, for only a slightly higher rate, and overlooks the moat of former Akita Castle.