Antler is the English word for “shika no tsuno” (abbreviated as “kazuno”). Please make sure you drop by the information center Roadside Station Antler (Michi no Eki Kazuno) for all you need to know about making the most of your time in Kazuno City. Located along the National Highway Route 282 that links Lake Towada with Hachimantai, this roadside station is not only a perfect place to take a break, but also a convenient center to plan your trip. The store sells a special selection of Akita Prefecture souvenirs, and there is also a direct-sales local produce corner where visitors can buy fresh vegetables harvested in the morning by Kazuno farmers. You can also inquire with the knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Tourism Information Desk about Kazuno’s sightseeing spots, and for assistance with planning your trip. Various seasonal events are also held in the city, such as the large-screen drive in theater made of snow during the winter.
Every year on August 19 and 20, a major festival takes place in Kazuno City. This is the Hanawa Bayashi Festival, which is one of Japan’s three main Hayashi music festivals and also a designated UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage. Gorgeous floats from 10 towns parade down the streets, accompanied by hayashi festival music played until midnight. Roadside Station Antler has 10 of the festival floats on permanent display at the Festival Exhibition Building, so visitors can experience the atmosphere of the Hanawa Bayashi Festival all year round. It also has an excellent selection of food like you can expect to enjoy at a roadside station. Kazuno City is the birthplace of the kiritanpo, which is mashed rice pressed on a cryptomeria skewer and toasted. The authentic kiritanpo hot pot is a delicacy you must taste for yourself. You can also try other local dishes featuring special produce from Akita Prefecture including Hinai Jidori, which is one of the three most famous chicken breeds in Japan and a cross between Hinai chicken and Rhode Island red chicken, Kazuno beef, and Hachimantai pork, as well as the popular Inaniwa udon noodles.