Arriving on the Costa Victoria cruise ship a supremely grey May day awaited us in Akita and there seemed little colour separation between sky and water with fine drizzle in-between. Hopefully, if you have the opportunity to make the same journey the weather will be on your side but despite any meteorological setbacks there are quite a few things you can do near Akita port.
Thankfully there are several attractions within just 5 minutes walk of the cruise dock itself. If you turn right out of the cruise dock you will soon walk past a small shopping complex on the left housing Noodle bars, 'brunch' style cafe, massage parlour and gift shops. If you're not in walking mood then you can grab one of the many taxis servicing the dock whenever a cruise ship is in port.
Just a few more minutes walking, on the right you will see on the dock-side an almost space-age complex which would make Buckminster Fuller proud complete with the 100 meter Port Tower Selion. The tower is a free-of-charge port attraction for observing ships from a seagulls-eye view including the surrounding areas up to the distant hills. Two speedy elevators will whisk you to the top in just a few seconds and there are several areas where you can sit, enjoy a snack and take it all in.
Being a tourist-centric port, beneath the tower itself are nestled several small eateries and a supermarket-like souvenir shop with local produce, liquors and more specialty miso pastes than you could point a stick at. Located behind this is was what I could only describe as an 'indoor park' complete with interesting botanical exhibits and trees hinting that Hokkaido weather can indeed get pretty chilly during the winter.
Illustrated regional maps, leaflets and a mini tourist office are located within the Selion complex and there are plenty more attractions around Akita for day trips if you are visiting by cruise.
Other attractions further in the Akita area are:
If you're interested in touring around Japan the relaxed way by cruise please check out my original cruise article outlining a great tour I took through H.I.S. Travel and Cruise Planet.