Two exhibition facilities featuring Akita dogs, which have charmed dog lovers worldwide, have opened in central Akita in a bid to inform tourists about the charms of the breed with its erect triangular ears and curled tail.
Akitas are increasingly being used as a popular tourism resource, with the Akita city government planning to open an area at Senshu Park where visitors can interact with the dogs.
The Akita Dog Station, an exhibition facility set up in the Area Nakaichi commercial complex in the city, is operated by One for Akita, an incorporated body that works to protect Akita dogs, in cooperation with companies in the city. The facility lets tourists meet Akita dogs and take photographs with them.
One for Akita also intends to have the facility serve as a hub to address the decline in domestic dog registrations needed to issue pedigree certificates.
One for Akita currently owns eight Akita dogs, and two to three of them are present at the exhibition facility in turns. Goods related to the Akita dog are sold there, and some of the proceeds are donated to the Akitainu Hozonkai (Akita dog preservation society).
The Akita Dog Satellite Station has also opened in the Poporoad promenade at JR Akita Station. The Akita branch office of East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) and One for Akita created this space so dogs at the Akita Dog Station in Area Nakaichi can stop by during their walks.
The facility was set up under the concept of having Akita dogs, which are cute and have a dignified elegance at the same time, welcome tourists when they arrive at the station, a gateway to the city.
The space to be opened at Senshu Park in June is designed to let tourists and local people come in contact with Akita dogs. The city government plans to open it to the public until around November, before the snowy season starts.
Large cruise ships are scheduled to dock at Akita Port 21 times from April 18 to Nov. 2. The railway company has increased its efforts to accommodate tourists through services such as running trains connecting JR Akita Station and Akitako (Akita Port) Station, which is primarily for cargo. Akita dogs are exhibited at the satellite facility at Akita Station in accordance with the cruise port schedule.
Nobuaki Takahashi, the secretary general of One for Akita, said: “The Akita dog is a world-class tourism resource. We want to use the facilities to spark an influx of tourists and help preserve the dog.”
■Akita Dog Station in the Area Nakaichi commercial complex: Open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
■Akita Dog Satellite Station in the Poporoad promenade at JR Akita Station: Open from 11:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
*Both are free of charge. Viewing and taking pictures of dogs is permitted. Touching the dogs is not allowed, as it causes them stress.