Located in northwestern Honshu on the Sea of Japan coast, Akita Prefecture has long been thought of in Tokyo and especially western Japan as remote — part of poet Matsuo Basho's famed "The Narrow Road to the Deep North."

The prefecture is well-known for the Akita Kanto Festival — one of three great summer festivals in the Tohoku region — and kiritampo nabe, a hot pot dish. It's also famous for its so-called Akita bijin (beautiful local women).

If the central government gets its way, the city of Akita will also become known as the home for one of two Aegis Ashore systems Japan plans to build in an effort to improve its ability to detect and shoot down missiles launched from North Korea or elsewhere.