Akita Port Tower Selion

Great views from the mountains to the sea

By Hitoshi Kawai    - 3 min read

Hata hata burger! Try some hata hata burger! What is hata hata anyway? Is it some sort of culinary connection with our Polynesian brothers and sisters across the seas in Aotearoa or Hawai’i?

I am on top of the Port Tower Selion in Akita harbor, but looking west towards Korea rather than east towards Hawai’i. But, what a view, a stunning 360 degree panorama no matter where you look. And in the evening, probably the best sunset view in this part of Japan, 100m above ground and towering over Akita city in the distance. What’s more, there is no admission fee. Yes, the best things in life are free. And for parents wanting to indulge in a romantic moment, there is a play corner for little kids.

This is also a popular spot for fans of the Korean drama series “Iris”. From the tower you can see all around Akita, and on a fine day, even imagine what it would be like for the actors and actresses coming from Korea to Akita. Many people suggest that this is the best place to start a trip because you can get an overall idea of the geography of Akita from here. Actually it takes a while to learn about every sightseeing spot even with a guide but its worth it especially if you visit in winter when everything is mostly white with snow.

Now, back to the hata hata burger. On the ground floor you can try the local fast food called 'hata hata burger’. The interesting taste and texture is unique and you must try it. Hatahata is the name of a famous local fish in Akita. The fish does not have scales, like a throwback to the dinosaur age. It is also a bit oily, so maybe the locals like to eat this in winter? The fish eggs (buriko) are a big part of this fish. Chewy but firm, buriko are a local specialty, used in hot pots. The buriko is not in the burgers, but the fish definitely is. I think the tail at the end of the burger gives it away. The local fishermen tell me that they chew the buriko like sweets in winter. A sweet that is good for you? I want to come back in winter and chew some more.

Speaking of fish, why not try fishing with the locals—after all they have been fishing at this spot for over a thousand years. From time to time there is also a flea market, another great chance to chat with the friendly locals and pick up some handicrafts. If the husbands love fishing, it's a good idea to pick a day when the market is on, and leave your wife at flea market.

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Hitoshi Kawai

Hitoshi Kawai @hitoshi.kawai

Bonson Lam, one of the best friends of mine mailed me right after 3.11 if I know something to do for Tohoku. I replied that it would be better to wait and see for a while and to find out what his vision and goals are, because surely this is a long term project. Well he came back with the idea awhile later, and I was thrilled when I heard that was the Japan Travel project. Since my wife was from Akita, I naturally thought of writing for this prefecture. I have been for several times to visit her family and love the place very much. I am currently residing in Aichi and before that I had the pleasure of living in U.S, Brazil, and Australia for 15 years. I am looking forward to meeting many people through Japan Travel and hope that they can discover how wonderful it is for themselves.

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