Hachiko's story is known around the world and it speaks volumes about a dog's loyalty to its owner. The story goes that Hachiko, whose lineage came from the Akita Prefecture, would go back and forth to Shibuya every day to wait for his owner to return from work. However, tragedy struck the day when his owner died of a stroke on May 21, 1925. Nonetheless, Hachiko continued his routine of going to the spot where he would meet his owner from days on end but to no avail and it lasted for ten years before Hachiko passed away.
News soon broke out about this very faithful dog and since then, his popularity has spread to children books and is well known throughout the world. A famous statue of Hachiko can be seen in Shibuya. But what people do not know is that there is a museum dedicated to Hachiko in the quiet city of Odate in Akita Prefecture.
The museum was founded by the Akita Dog Preservation Society, which aims to breed and maintain the pure full blooded Akita dog amidst widespread cross breeding. The Akita dog is designated as a Japanese Natural Treasure and the museum was constructed on the 50th anniversary of the Society's foundation.
For a mere 100 yen entry for adults and 50 yen for children, you can gain entry to a treasure trove of information regarding Akita dogs. It has photos, documents and all that you need to know to learn about the Akita dog. As one of the oldest breeds in Japan, its ancestors used to track bear and deer for its masters. Its double coat is perfect for Tohoku's long, cold winters, as well as giving it a cute and fluffy appearance. You will also learn that the Akita dog is extremely loyal and obedient. Moreover the Akita dog seldom barks which is why so many Japanese people love them for their quiet and calm nature. The Akita dog is also the biggest breed of Japanese dogs and outside the museum to the right hand side of the building, there is a real life Akita dog for visitors to see. The museum is open from nine am to four pm. Maybe the museum is closed early so the curator can go home to take his dog for a walk?
In my opinion, the dog that sits outside the building was itself a beautiful specimen, with its snow white fur and pointed ears, and I cannot help but feel an affinity to it.
The museum is housed in the third floor of the Akita Dog Preservation Society Building, with a conference room on the second floor and the society offices on the ground floor.