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October 18, 2018 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (田沢湖)
This travel report is a continuing series highlighting the various destinations of the Tohoku Region. In this report I traveled to Tazawako, located in Akita Prefecture.
Akita Prefecture is a heavily forested area with lots of lakes and natural scenery. One famous lake is Tazawako, accessible by the Akita Shinkansen then local bus from Tazawako Station. Tazawako is a caldera lake that is sparsely development which makes this very scenic. This lake is the deepest in the country and is full of legends. I had the chance to partake in a three hour tour of the lake and visit some landmarks along the way.
From Akita City or Morioka, you have to take the Akita Shinkansen.
There are two landmarks along the shores of Tazawako. The first is the famous golden statue of Tatsuko. There is a legend of Tatsuko in which she was turned into a dragon and resides in the lake. The golden statue is very photogenic especially with the forested highlands in the background and the still waters of the lake. There is a boardwalk in front of the statue where you can sit and enjoy the scenery, and a small shrine next to it. There are a couple of shops and restaurants as well.
If you take the local bus from Tazawako Station, it will take you on a clockwise direction. The bus will take you around the lake so be sure to sit on the right side of the bus. As the bus goes around the lake you get an amazing view of the lake itself.
At the northern tip of the lake is Goza no Ishi Shrine. The shrine itself isn't terribly interesting but the tori gate structure that overlooks the lake is very photogenic.
After the bus leaves Goza no Ishi Shrine, it takes you back to the train station. To tour the lake, you either have the bus, which is a quasi public/tour bus because it makes lengthy stops at the statue and shrine so you have ten minutes to tour for both locations.
Another option is to take the bus from the train station, then get off at the bus stop to take the sightseeing boat. The boat ride appears to do a loop inside the lake but i doubt you can get off the boats to see the statue and shrine.
Overall, Tazawako is a great way to spend a few hours and if you just utilize the bus, the fare is only 1,000 Yen.