Read about Alexis Hartford exploring the countryside of Japan as she studies abroad at the Akita International University.
Japan is beautiful! Behind Akita International University there is a beautiful forest with great hiking paths. From many of the school windows you are greeted by deep green pine trees. If you are lucky to be here during the cherry blossom season you get to see the famous Japanese blossoms. My ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, class went on a hanami (花見), or sakura viewing, at the famous Senshu Park (千秋公園), Senshu is amazing with its pond, complete with huge black and white koi fish, cherry trees, shinto shrines, and multitude of events allowing you to experience Japanese culture, but it is the restored castle that made me return to the park.
Not only will you find nature in and around Akita City, but all of Akita Prefecture takes pride in its nature. You have the Japanese Sea less than an hour away by train. As you take the train, you will see rice fields stretching out for miles, but it is Shirakami-Sanchi (白神山地) that shows the true beauty of Akita Japan. Shirakami-Sanchi is a World Heritage site in the north of Akita Prefecture. It is one of the largest beech tree forests in East Asian, and it is truly magical. In the park you will find a handful of emerald green lakes. When you first see them you will assume that they are murky but soon you will be greeted by black carp. As you follow the hiking trails you will find other magical waters. Sapphire blue ponds and a multitude of waterfalls, ranging in all sizes. I was lucky to hike with my biology class all the way to a white Nihon (Japanese) Canyon.
Anyone who comes to Japan needs to take at least one day to go see the natural beauty of Japan. Japan is famous for its cities, but you get to experience so much more by going to the countryside. Akita International University is an amazing school because it gives you the means to see a Japanese city and at the same time be in the middle of the countryside.