Ugo Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more in Ugo, Japan. Plan your trip with this comprehensive travel guide.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Ugo, Japan

Nestled in Akita Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Japan, Ugo offers an authentic experience of Japanese culture and nature, away from the bustling city life. This comprehensive travel guide will help you plan your trip to Ugo, covering everything from the best places to visit to the local culture and customs.

Introduction to Ugo

Ugo is a small town located in the southeast part of Akita Prefecture. It is a perfect destination for those who want to experience traditional Japanese culture and enjoy outdoor adventures. The town has beautiful landscapes, including mountains, rivers, and forests, making it a paradise for nature lovers.

List of Places to Visit in Ugo

Here are some of the top places to visit in Ugo:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Ugo Castle Ruins: The castle ruins date back to the Edo period and offer beautiful views of the town and the surrounding nature.
  • Ugo Shrine: One of the oldest shrines in Akita Prefecture, it is dedicated to the god of agriculture and offers a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Mikawa Momen Museum: Learn about traditional cotton weaving in Japan and see beautiful artworks made from Mikawa cotton.
  • Ugo Traditional Crafts Center: Discover the traditional handicrafts of the town, such as pottery, woodwork, and lacquerware.

Natural Attractions of Ugo: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Mount Taiheizan: Enjoy hiking the mountain and breathtaking views from the top.
  • Lake Hachiman: Rent a boat and head out onto the lake, surrounded by beautiful scenery.
  • Oyasukyo Gorge: Marvel at the stunning rock formations and waterfalls in the gorge.
  • Owani Onsen: Unwind in a traditional hot spring bath with beautiful views of the mountains and forests.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ugo

Ugo offers several hiking and biking trails that cater to a range of fitness levels. Some of the top routes include Mount Taiheizan, Akita Komagatake, and the Mogamigawa Riverside Trail. The town also offers bike rentals for those who prefer to explore on two wheels.

Best Things to Do in Ugo: Activities and Tours

Aside from hiking and biking, Ugo offers various other activities and tours, including:

  • Kayaking on the Tadami River: Enjoy a peaceful kayak trip on a river and soak up the stunning scenery.
  • Snowshoeing: Explore the snowy forests and enjoy stunning views of the mountains in winter.
  • Sake Brewery Tour: Take a tour of the local breweries and try some of the finest sake in Japan.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ugo

Here is a week-long itinerary that will help you make the most of your visit to Ugo:

Day 1: Arrive in Ugo Day 2: Hike Mount Taiheizan Day 3: Visit Ugo Castle Ruins and Mikawa Momen Museum Day 4: Kayak on Tadami River Day 5: Visit Ugo Traditional Crafts Center and Owani Onsen Day 6: Snowshoeing Day 7: Depart from Ugo

Food and Drink Scene of Ugo

Japanese cuisine is known globally for its delicate flavors and fresh ingredients. Here are some of the must-try dishes and beverages of Ugo:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kiritanpo: A traditional Akita dish made from mashed rice that is skewered and grilled over charcoal.
  • Inaniwa Udon: A type of udon noodle that is thin and smooth. It is served with a light soup or dipping sauce.
  • Hatahatazushi: A local sushi made from dried sandfish, a fish that is commonly found in the Sea of Japan.

Local Beverages

  • Sake: Echigo-Yuzawa, a neighboring town, is famous for its sake. You can find several breweries in Ugo that produce fine sake.
  • Tajimi: A local liquor made from fermented rice.

Where to Stay in Ugo: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ugo offers several options for accommodations, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Some of the top choices include:

  • Ugo Hot Spring Resort: A traditional hot spring resort with beautiful mountain views.
  • Ugo Youth Hostel: A budget-friendly option, perfect for backpackers and solo travelers.
  • Kawamotoya: A cozy guesthouse with a friendly owner and traditional Japanese-style rooms.

What to Buy in Ugo: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Ugo offers various souvenirs and local products that make perfect gifts for family and friends. Here are some of the top picks:

  • Mikawa cotton products: From scarves to bags, Mikawa cotton products make unique and high-quality souvenirs.
  • Sake: Ugo and neighboring Echigo-Yuzawa produce some of the finest sake in Japan.
  • Pottery and Lacquerware: Ugo is known for its traditional crafts, such as pottery and lacquerware.

Local Culture and Customs of Ugo

It is essential to respect the local culture and customs when visiting Ugo. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Shoes Off: When entering homes or traditional establishments, it is customary to remove your shoes.
  • Bow: The Japanese bow is a form of greeting and respect, offer a slight bow when meeting locals.
  • Onsen Etiquette: When bathing in a traditional hot spring bath, it is customary to clean yourself first before entering the bath, and no clothes are allowed in the baths.

Best Time to Visit Ugo

The best time to visit Ugo is during the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is mild, and the natural landscapes are stunning. Ugo gets heavy snowfall in winter, making it a popular destination for winter activities such as snowshoeing and skiing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ugo


  • Do try the local cuisine and beverages.
  • Do visit the local shrines and historical sites.
  • Do respect the local customs and culture.


  • Don’t ignore the onsen etiquette.
  • Don’t wear shoes inside traditional establishments.
  • Don’t litter or damage the natural landscapes.

Safety and Health

Safety in Ugo

Ugo is a safe town, and crime rates are low. However, visitors should take standard precautions, such as securing their valuables and not walking alone in isolated areas at night.

Health in Ugo

Tap water in Ugo is safe to drink, but it is advisable to drink bottled water. Health facilities in Ugo are limited, and visitors with specific health concerns should consult their doctor before traveling.

Getting to Ugo: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Ugo

The nearest airport to Ugo is Akita Airport, which is around 50 kilometers (31 miles) away. From the airport, visitors can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Ugo.

Bus Stations Near Ugo

Ugo is well-connected by bus, with regular services to neighboring towns and cities. Visitors can take a bus from Akita Station, Yokote Station, or Yuzawa Station to reach Ugo.

Other Options

Visitors can also rent a car and drive to Ugo, but it is essential to have a valid international driving license.

How to Get Around in Ugo

Ugo is a small town, and visitors can easily explore it on foot. Bicycles are also available for rent at the tourist center, making it an excellent option for those who want to explore the town at a leisurely pace.

Where to Go Next from Ugo: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Ugo’s location makes it a perfect base for exploring the Tohoku region. Here are some nearby destinations and excursions worth visiting:

  • Kakunodate: A charming town known for its preserved samurai district and cherry blossoms.
  • Tazawako: A scenic lake resort that offers skiing and hot spring baths.
  • Oga Peninsula: A rugged peninsula with stunning coastal views and cultural treasures.


Ugo offers an authentic experience of Japanese culture and nature, away from the crowds of the big cities. From hiking and biking to hot spring baths and traditional crafts, the town offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. With this comprehensive travel guide, you can plan your trip to Ugo and make the most of your visit.