All About Japan

Catch a Glimpse of Daily Life in Akita

Mountains Video Japanese Countryside Backpackers Summer in Tohoku Akita Tohoku

Akita, located in the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan, shares a problem with many other rural prefectures. Since it can’t match the excitement of metropolises such as Tokyo and Osaka, many of its residents choose to move away, and in numbers far greater than those who relocate to Akita.

In many ways it’s a shame, as Akita still has plenty to offer. Its forests and mountains are stirringly picturesque, and its fields produce the prized Akitakomachi variety of rice. So when the Akita prefectural government asked filmmaker Hidetaka Ino's augment5 production company to create a video promoting life in Akita, he sent Akita native Maki Indo to turn her lens to the prefecture’s natural beauty and mouth-watering bounty.

Titled True North, Akita, the video skips over tourist attractions and instead focuses on families living their daily lives in the prefecture. We see parents and children playing in a clear mountain stream, visiting their local shrine and biking past expansive rice farms.

As the sun sets, the scene switches to traditional houses filled with extended families gathering to cook and eat together.

And while Japan generally has no aversion to enthusiastic narration, True North, Akita instead opts for a ballad from Akita-born singer-songwriter Asuka Aoya, who wrote the song after seeing the footage that Indo had compiled.

The chorus translates as:

I’d started to forget
About how much I’d missed this scenery
So now I’ll take your little hand in mine,
Let’s go. Let’s go home.

Combined with the tender musical accompaniment, Aoya’s words produce a wave of nostalgia, even if you’ve never been to the prefecture. Together with the visuals they deliver a clear message: while big cities can provide certain opportunities, they cannot offer the simple, pure lifestyle you can only find in the countryside.

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