Oga Peninsula, in the western part of Akita, juts out into the Japan Sea in the shape of an ax. Along its coastline are fantastic views of crags and boulders, and it is noted for its beautiful sunsets.
There are so many spots on the Oga Peninsula that you should not miss. The view at the Mt. Kampu Revolving Observatory at the base of the peninsula, where you can enjoy 360-degree panoramas of the Japan Sea and Lagoon Hachirogata, is simply stunning.
Hachirogata used to be the second largest lake in Japan with the size of 220 km2 next to Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. It was a brackish-water lake because the river water often flowed backward. By the big project of reclamation by drainage, most part of the lake has become a land and made farms and a village called Ogata-mura. Now you see the water only around the village which used to be the rim of the lake.
The reclamation started during the Edo period, but it was very small scale. The big project started in 1957 and took 20 years until it finished in 1977. The purpose of the project was to increase the production of rice and provide the place to work. Many people came to work there from all over Japan by applying the public invitation. Now, about 3,000 people live in the village.
Scenic points of Oga Peninsula
You will find Godzilla Boulder in the southwestern part of Oga Peninsula. It was named so because of its shape: how can a tour of Japan not include a visit to this famous monster? The first Godzilla movie was made in 1954, a little before Hachirogata project started.
Add to it, the west coast of Oga, with its long line of rude cliffs and rocks; Hachibodai, with the best views of Oga and clear out to the Ou Mountain Range; and of course, Nyudo-zaki Point, on the tip of the peninsula, with its spectacular view of the Japan Sea.
A sightseeing boat leaves from nearby Oga Aquarium, and from it you can view the coastline, sprinkled with strange rocks and bizarre stones, magnificent sculptures that nature has created.
It is also famous for a traditional event called “Namahage,” at which time young people, disguised as ogres. They visit houses especially the ones with children to admonish lazy people, expel evil spirits, ward off disasters, and to bless people. Namahage shout “Is there any crying child?” and “Is there any naughty child?”. And many small children start to cry because it is very scary. But this is a kind of blessing.
There is a museum called Namahage-kan. They exhibit masks and outfits of Namahage. Outfit is an overcoat made of straw. They also show the video of Namahage. You will see how this traditional event is held.
The entrance fee is 550 yen (275 yen for under 18). It opens from 8:30 to 17:00 every day.