Travel Reports by Villagemayor view profile of Villagemayor

previous post
list all posts
next post

Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

October 22, 2018 - Tohoku Series: Oirase Gorge (k) and Towadako (\ac)

This travel report is a continuing series highlighting the various destinations of the Tohoku Region. In this report I traveled to Oirase Gorge and hiked/bussed to Towadako.

One of the top places to visit in Tohoku is the entire Oirase Gorge/Towadako (Lake Towada) area. This area is touted as one of the most beautiful parts of Japan and is said to be even more stunning in Autumn. The lake itself is your typical caldera lake and is no different from others such as Toyako and Tazawako. Still, with the amazing highlands surrounding the lake, it makes so for some great photos.

We started off at Hachinohe Station's West Exit where you can board the JR Tohoku Bus. Cross the street and the bus stop is right in front of you. This bus takes you to the two destinations, up to Mt. Hakkoda, and then to Aomori. There is also a two-day bus pass where you can spend two days in the area exploring and staying at one of the many onsen hotels here.

West Exit of Hachinohe Station

The bus took us through the west part of Hachinohe then gradually to the highlands of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park. A lot of people got off at the Ishigedo rest area (΃ˋxe) which is the unofficial start of the hiking. Walking west you will come across the gorge itself. The rock face is not very noticeable because of the dense trees and the powerful river in front of you.

Oirase Gorge

The trails parallel the road and river and is a very easy hike. Even my friend who is not a hiker, found it enjoyable. You are distracted by the sounds of the rapids and waterfalls as you walk westward.

One of the rapids on the river.
An artist capturing the moments with his brush.

When we went, it was a week before the big festival where they close off the street and only allow buses and hikers. As you can see from the photos, it was before the prime season to visit. Even so, the roads and trails were packed full of people.

One major waterfall you will come across is the Kumoi Falls, which is an example of a "multi-step" waterfall with a series of two smaller falls broken up by a ledge.

Kumoi Falls

Another major waterfall is the Choshi Otaki Falls, is probably an example of a "block" waterfall with its thunderous crashing of water to the bottom. Its not a particularly tall waterfall but is wide and draws a lot of people.

Choshi Otaki waterfall

The hiking trail along the Oirase Gorge is long and can take several hours, especially if you need to rest along the way. One way to overcome this is to take the JR Tohoku Bus heading towards Towadako. This saves you lots of time and energy. Once you reach the bus terminal located along the shore of Towadako, you can hop on another bus which takes you to Yasumiya. which is about a twenty minute ride away.

Once at the Yasumiya bus terminal, get off and walk towards the lake for a different perspective. There is a long wooden boardwalk that takes you to Ogurojinja Ebisu Shrine (shown below)

Ogurojinja Ebisu Shrine is on a rocky island
The fall colour passed its prime along the shores of Towadako

After passing by the Ogurojinja Ebisu Shrine, you arrive at Nakayama Peninsula (R) which is the location of the Otome no Zo Statue and the Massha Kumano Shrine ( F_).

Massha Kumano Shrine

Overall this is a very worthwhile day trip and you can plan this based on your physical abilities. Avid hikers would appreciate the low difficulty and others can appreciate this place is well served by private tour groups. When you visit the Tohoku Region make a visit here.

previous post
list all posts
next post

List of Posts:
2018/10/25 - Tohoku Series: Genbikei Gorge (k)
2018/10/24 - Tohoku Series: Hachinohe (ˎs)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Seikan Tunnel Museum (ʍc@l ”glLO)
2018/10/23 - Tohoku Series: Cape Tappi ()
2018/10/22 - Tohoku Series: Oirase Gorge (k) and Towadako (\ac)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya (샊][g X)
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (bcR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (c)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (Hcs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium