On the 5th day of our cruise we stopped in Akita. This was our first tour booked with the cruise company, but strangely enough that we actually had the same tour guide as our previous day in Aomori. The previous day we had taken a one hour plus train ride from Aomori to see the castle in Hirosaki. After seeing the Hirosaki Castle we'd told the tour guide that we could take the train on our own back to Aomori.
The tour guide had to be in Akita the following day and Hirosaki is about 1/3 of the way from Aomori to Akita. Since our tour guide lives in Hirosaki, he was able to have his wife bring him his overnight bag for his one day stay in Akita, allowing us to also meet his wife. We were so happy to see him again in Akita as we boarded the bus as he'd done an excellent job the day before. Having him as a tour guide for a bus load of people was not as good as having him to ourselves with only four people, but he still did an excellent job!
When we arrived in Akita there was as usual a welcoming party demonstrating local specialties in entertainment. At Akita this was drum playing.
Our first stop on the tour was an almost 1.5 hour drive from Akita to Lake Tazawa. One of the sights we saw there was the Statue of Tatsuko. The legend of Tatsuko is about a vain young woman who, because she wanted to remain young and beautiful forever, ended up being transformed into a dragon which still lives in the depths of the lake. You can read more about The Legend of Tatsuko, her dragon lover Hachirotaro, and why Hachirogata Lagoon freezes over every winter while Lake Tazawa remains free from ice year round. Though the last part might have more to do with the fact that Lake Tazawa is the deepest lake in Japan at almost 1,390 feet in depth, rather than the reason given in the legend, that the two lovers spend the winter in Lake Tazawa.
On the way back to the port at Akita we stopped at the Kakunodate samurai district and visited some of the Samurai houses that are open to the public.
The Kakunodate samurai district is also where we bought some delicious candy. If you're there be sure to try a few of the free samples. I'm sure that, like us, one taste and you won't be able to pass it up!