Akita, Japan

Capital of the Akita Prefecture, Akita City is located in the north of the Tohoku Region of Japan. Its Jizōden ruins are a major archaeological site, with artifacts dating from up to 40,000 years ago.

The city is known best for its Kanto Matsuri festival at the beginning of August, where performers balance bamboo poles up to 13 yards long, with 50 paper lanterns attached, lit by real candles.

Shrines and temples, crater lakes and impressive waterfalls are all within reach of Akita at locations like Dakigaeri Gorge, around one hour away. If you choose to spend time in Akita itself, the Museum of Art will teach you all you need to know about this area. The cherry blossoms of Senshu Park blooming in springtime are a heavenly vision.