Kakunodate is a former castle town in Akita Prefecture and is well known for its beautifully preserved samurai district and spectacular cherry blossom festival.
The cherry blossoms weren't even budding when we went, but on the news last night, they showed them getting ready to bloom. But even without the blossoms, our trip was terrific. What a nice way to spend the day, walking around in the warmth and the sunshine and seeing the sights. Actually, it was probably nicer than if the cherries were in bloom, because then the place would have been a madhouse.
We parked at a parking lot that was advertising 500yen for the whole day. We drove in, parked, and couldn't find the lot attendant. Figuring it was "pay when you leave", we spent the day out enjoying Kakunodate. When we were done, we noticed there were still no cars in the lot and they had closed off the lot! We drove around trying to find an exit when a worker finally waved us over, telling us that this lot was closed for renovation and we should go around the block and park at the lot there! He told us there was no charge when we tried to pay him, so we got parking for free! Yay for being stupid round-eye foreigners.
I'll post the pictures soon.