Aside from having wonderful natural hotsprings and beautiful nature and women, and delicious sake, kiritanpo comes to mind. It's chicken broth soup with a wonderful mix of green vegetables and chicken. The tubular shaped food stuffs in the middle is a mash of rice, which lend a type of texture and depth to the soup. This is perhaps one of the most popular dishes in winter. The Garaku Dining restaurant offered up a fantastic bowl of Kiritanpo along with a few other wonderfully prepared dishes.
My server for the evening was Yuki, not her real name, but if you go there someday, she's the slender fair skinned 20 something with black shoulder length hair and black eyes. She's the type of girl that when you see her, you'll know her.
The Garaku is about a 10 minute walk from JR Akita Station and is conveniently located in a very busy part of town.
In this picture you can see a couple of different kinds of fish. You have Kinmedai, or Golden Eye Snapper, which is the pink soft fish to the left. Chiba Prefecture is known for having the best, but the one I had that night here at the Garaku was soft and very delicious. The red meat on the right is Oma Maguro, or tuna.
These sandfish, or ハタハタ are served at just about every restaurant in Akita Prefecture. Depending on the season some restaurants will serve them split open or with eggs inside. I have tried them both ways. The lovely server for the evening kindly removed the bones for me.
And of course, how can I forget sake:
The big great three I tried tonight were Rokushu, Yuki no Boushiya, and Kisaburo! And these are all Akita brewed sake.
The local taste was excellent. I was also impressed at the knowledge of the staff. They always knew what sake went well with each food.
I need to digress a little. Yuki, the server, remember? In a book I had published back in 2008, I wrote about a shared bathing experience in which I was in an open air bath with two naked young beautiful Japanese women who were total strangers. In Japan, since antiquity, men and women have bathed together. It wasn't until Christianity poisoned Japan that these practices were restricted during the Tokugawa Era. Nowadays, most young Japanese women have a strong aversion to sharing an open air bath with a man they have never met before. I know how I look.
I mentioned to Yuki about this and she told me that she has never felt shameful about getting naked in a hotspring with other men - small towel - and that it was perfectly natural for a Japanese woman to bathe naked in the open, no shame. This was in stark contrast to the conversation I had had with Ayako Saeki of Kanagawa Prefecture who told me that this practice is unacceptable for her. And of course, since she's Japanese, she speaks for the whole race, much like most Japanese who know very little about their own country and its history. Just listening to Yuki speak in Japanese with such confidence and with such candor was refreshing. A young lady. She also expressed her love for Akita, and that she had no interest in leaving.