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October 16, 2013
Day 13 - Oirase Stream

The Oirase Stream (k, Oirase Keiryū) is a picturesque mountain stream in Aomori Prefecture. Together with Lake Towada, which supplies the stream's flowing waters, the Oirase Stream is one of Japan's most popular autumn colors destinations.

The Oirase Stream flows along the floor of a gorge, winding among trees that provide a lush green in spring and summer, and brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange from late October through early November. Over a dozen waterfalls cascade down along the stream from the walls of the gorge.

Today's Report
Oirase Stream

The lounge bar at Oirase Keyriu hotel

This morning, I woke up to the heavy rains of typhoon Wipha. Thankfully, except it being a very rainy day and the walk being canceled, we didnft have any problems. Yesterday, knowing what the weather would be like, I went for a walk along Oirase stream and took some pictures. That was very lucky as today the stream was a near-overflowing muddy torrent, and not the scenic stream it had been the day before.

View of Oirase stream

On of the very many waterfalls along the stream

The biggest of them all

So, with the walk being cancelled, Motegi-san, my guide, and I had a great leisurely breakfast. For this first time since the start of my trip I had brown bread and orange marmalade - what a treat! Speaking of food, yesterdayfs dinner was equally delicious. One of the specialties of Oirase Keiryu hotel is a fresh mountain vegetable salad bar, where to chef prepares all the salads in front of you with the freshest locally sourced ingredients. I was so happy to have so many vegetables people must have thought I was some kind of weird vegetarian.

The famous mountain vegetable salad!

After the delicious breakfast we decided to go out nonetheless, since there was no wind. We drove to a shrine next to lake Towada. Thankfully we werenft the only crazy people out there, navigating between huge puddles. Although I was the only one in yellow (now brown) converse. Wellies might have been more appropriate, come to think of it.
We walked through the shrinefs grounds and along the lake until we were properly drenched, and then headed back for a very deserved onsen.

Near the shrine

The shrine at Towada lake and fellow crazy tourists

Oirase Keyriu hotelfs onsen are fabulous - Aomori prefecture is famous for its apples, and one of the hotelfs outdoor baths has bright red apples floating in it - gorgeously decadent, I loved it. And their apple deserts.... be patient, Ifll post a photo of their apple mille-feuilles tomorrow!

Not a bad room to wait out a typhoon... I even have a view on the stream turned torrent

Today's Program
Today's Walk: Along the Oirase Stream to Lake Towada

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Important Notice

Due to a typhoon, today's walk has been cancelled.

Today's hike leads along the scenic Oirase Stream from the Ishigedo bus stop to the Nenokuchi bus stop at the shores of Lake Towadako. The trail up the gorge follows the stream and offers visitors a close up view of the rushing waters as they flow through the forest.

The route ends at Nenokuchi along the eastern shore of Lake Towada, from where the popular sightseeing ferry cruises depart for Yasumiya, a resort town on the lake's southern shore. Buses also depart from Nenokuchi to Yasumiya, Aomori, Shin-Aomori and Hachinohe.

Date October 16, 2013
Start Time 10:00
Start Ishigedo (΃) Bus Stop
Goal Nenokuchi (q̌) Bus Stop/Ferry Terminal
Distance 8 kilometers (about 3 hours)
Terrain The route leads slightly uphill mostly along well maintained nature trails. However, at times hikers must walk on the road that shadows the trail. The bus and car traffic along the road can be distracting, but the noise is mostly drowned out by the rushing water or absorbed by the forest. Note that there are multiple bus stops along the way that can be used to bypass parts of the trail.
Weather Average daytime high: 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Hachinohe
Access JR buses from Aomori (about 3 hours, 2400 yen) and Hachinohe (about 2 hours, 2000 yen) run approximately hourly to Lake Towada (Yasumiya), stopping off at Ishigedo (΃) and Nenokuchi (q̌) along the way. The JR buses are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass but not by the JR East Pass. The buses departing Aomori at 7:50 and Yasumiya at 9:10 arrive at Ishigedo well timed for today's walk (see timetables).
More details on how to get to the Oirase Stream
Lodgings Some lodgings can be found on the southern shores of Lake Towada. More accommodation choices can be found in nearby Aomori and Hachinohe.
Search hotels in Lake Towada through Japanican
Search hotels in Aomori through Agoda, or Japanican
Search hotels in Hachinohe through Agoda, or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 13 has passed.

Which is Japan's largest caldera lake?

20%   Towadako
0%   Tazawako
68%   Kussharoko
7%   Biwako
5%   None of the above

The correct answer is: Kussharoko

Kussharoko in Hokkaido is with almost 80 square kilometers Japan's largest caldera lake. Biwako is Japan's largest lake, but it is not a caldera lake.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

More about the quiz

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