This year’s theme is “Travel and Akita Dog”. An Akita dog will tour some event venues. For example, the Akita Kanto Festival, a traditional summer night festival which is recognized as one of the three major festivals in Tohoku, the Oganamahage, a folk event in new year’s Eve which is a Raiho-shin, ritual visits of deities in masks and costumes registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018, and Kamihinokinai no Kami Fusen Age which continued from the Edo period. The best time to see the festival is from July to early September. We are making it so that it looks the most beautiful from the window of Akitanairikusen, so please get on the train and watch it.
In July and August, the train runs slowly during the daytime so that tourists can enjoy the art at a relaxed pace. Also, there are explanations of rice field art and a “ride commemorative handmade card” present on the train with sightseeing attendants. Cards will also be distributed at manned stations.
The Large Drum Museum near Takanosu Station is the first station in the north of the Akitanairikusen line. The museum exhibits various large drums of 40 countries including large drums used in annual shrine festivals started around 750 years ago in the local Tsutsureko area, praying for rain and good harvests. It is said that the large drum of Tsutsureko was dedicated to two villages in Kamimachi and Shimomachi one year after another and was originally about 70 centimeters in diameter. However, after the end of the Edo period, they began to compete for larger ones. The drum is made of natural Akita cedar and the surface is made of bull skin. The largest one was made by Kamimachi with a diameter of 3.8 meters and a drum length of 4.52 meters in 1992. It weighs as much as 3.5 tons. The second largest one produced by Shitamachi in 1986, is 3.71 meters in diameter, and it was registered as the largest drum using a piece of cow skin in the world by Guinness in 1989.
The rice paddy art in Senboku can be seen from the train windows on the Akita Inland Traverse Railway which is very rare because it is designed to look beautifull from the railway in order to promote and vitalize this railway.
The design of Kitaakita features the image character “Isedo-kun” of Isetodai sites, a historical site of Japan. They are aiming for it to be registered as a World Heritage site, as a group of “Jomon Ruins Grouped Mainly in Hokkaido and Northern Tohoku.”
Senboku have decided on the theme of the “Akita dog and the Main Attractions Along the Inland Line.” This includes art of the “Paper balloon festival” held every February since the Edo Period when a giant paper balloon is sent into the sky in winter, creating a very magical view. It also features art of “Mount Moriyoshi” known as one of the top three areas of Frost-covered trees in Japan with its snow covered mountain in winter as well as “The Top 100 Mountains of Flowers” with many lovely alpine plants in full bloom.
From Kakunodate Station at Senboku, known as the “Little Kyoto of Michinoku” with its beautiful cherry trees lined up and the historical samurai residence, the Akita Inland Traverse Railway connects to JR Ou Line leading to Aomori from Fukushima via Yamagata and Akita and then the railways takes you to Takasu Station at Kitaakita. This summer, why don’t you take a local train journey and discover this rice paddy art surrounded by beautiful nature?