Many of us would be none the stranger to Hachiko, the famed Japanese dog fondly remembered for his extraordinary loyalty. With his dignified demeanour and extremely loyal character, Hachiko's poignant story touched the hearts of people and spurred an adoration for Akita dogs all over the world.
A statue dedicated to Hachiko was erected in 1934 in front of Shibuya Train Station, where throngs of tourists visit every year. But, wouldn’t it be a more memorable experience to visit the birthplace of Hachiko and get up-close to real Akita dogs in their lovely hometown of Akita prefecture? Here’s a complete guide on how you can make a date with the cutest Akita dogs the next time you visit Japan.
Home of the Akita Inu
Originating from the cold mountainous regions of Akita prefecture, this distinguished breed of Akita Inu (Inu means dog in Japanese) was often used as hunting companions and guard dogs for royalty in the past. In fact, these loyal and powerful dogs have an incredible history that goes back 1,000 years.
Being one of only six dog species indigenous to Japan, the Akita Inu was officially recognised as Japan's national monument in 1931.
Not surprisingly, with its recent rise to global popularity, the townspeople of Akita prefecture has dedicated tourist sites and festivals for its beloved Akita Inu so that everyone can get to know these fluffy canines better. Add these spots to your must-visit list!
Akita Dog Museum
As the only museum in Japan that is dedicated to Akita dogs, it is a must to include the Akita Dog Museum on your itinerary. Located conveniently at the headquarters of the Akita Inu Preservation Society in Odate city, this one-of-a-kind museum is a treasure trove of information all about Akita dogs.
Containing photographs, artefacts and memorabilia, visitors can learn a lot about the role of Akita dogs in Japan's history and understand more about this breed’s unique characteristics. Fans of Hachiko would also be delighted to find a gallery dedicated as a loving tribute to his touching story.
Needless to say, the highlight of the museum would be an exciting possibility to say hello to and interact with real Akita dogs and be greeted by not just one but four unbelievably cute fluff balls that will melt your heart in an instant. Do not forget to get a huggable Akita dog plushie from the museum's gift shop as a memory keepsake.
Tazawako Kyoei Palace