This summer I decided to travel to Akita Prefecture to see areas of breathtaking natural beauty, enjoy local festivals and get closer to Japanese culture. I did not expect to find this gorgeous place of historic significance right in the center of Akita City, just ten minutes walk from the train station. I travelled from Tokyo to Akita on the Akita Shinkansen, a very comfortable and super fast bullet train. I used my JR East Pass for Tohoku area, which allowed me to see lot of amazing places around Akita Prefecture.
Senshu Park is not only a perfect oasis of tranquility at the heart of Akita but is also an important historic venue. It was established on the site of the Kubota Castle built in 1602, which burned down in the Meiji period. You can still see the Omonogashira-gobansho (guard post) and the Osumiyagura turret (lookout point with armory), restored in 1989. The two-story wooden gate - Ichinomon, also remains and it was renovated in 2001. It was an important strategic location for castle protection. The gate was the first line of defence against attacks. Those parts of the castle stand as an architectural reminder of the status of the Satake family during the Edo era.
In addition to wonderful greenery, there are other hidden attractions in Senshu Park. There is a traditional Tea Ceremony Room with a unique tea house garden, iris garden and a lovely pond with Oga lotus flowers. There is also a statue of Satake Yoshitaka. He was the twelfth generation lord of Akita and a final lord to develop modern Akita. He fought in the Boshin War on the side of the new government. It is also believed that he first installed the bell tower in corner of Ninomaru (second citadel of Kubota Castle) in 1639. The park was designed with the greatest care by Nagaoka Yasuhei.
When walking through the park's alleys, you can spot mountains on the horizon. An interesting contrast between greenery of the park, tall buildings of Akita City and the mountain peaks in the distance can be observed. Just next to the park, there is a big pond with hundreds of lotus flowers. The sight is stunning. I have never seen so many lotus flowers in one place!
When you find yourself in Akita, do not miss this great spot.