Just a two-hour car drive away from Aomori City, and you’re on your way to a relaxing getaway in the upstream region of the Oirase River. Past the farmland are green thickets of forest that protects the river from bank erosion. The Oirase River channels the water of Lake Towada into the Pacific Ocean, and it’s easy to tell you are already at the entrance of the mountain bound upstream region of the Oirase River from the signs of the Yakeyama bus stop, and the hotels and shops that surround it.
The Oirase River stretches around 14 kilometers from Nenokuchi in Lake Towada to the foot of Mount Hakkoda in Yakeyama. There are 14 large and small waterfalls, and mountain tributaries that supply water to the main artery of the river. The crystal-clear river runs parallel to the road and is hidden by a beautiful deciduous forest. While the beauty of the Oirase River is distinct in each of the four seasons, many tourists like come to visit the place during autumn to see the beautiful autumn leaves that reach over the water, which gives a splendid panoramic view. There are also many interesting rock formations, marked by signposts such as Fudo, Byobu, Makado and Tengo Rocks.
As you follow the curves of the stream and head in the direction of Lake Towada, there are many picturesque sights as a reward for your efforts of taking the hike through the walkways that run along the stream. Turbulent waters can be seen along the Samidare No Nagare (Samidare Rapids), and as you move further upstream the water becomes more turbulent at the Asura No Nagare (Asura Rapids) which is a popular spot for photographers. The river is quiet along the Ishigedo Rest Area, where you can also see the water glistening as rays of light hit the water surface. It is also in this resting area where you can meet local volunteer guides who are very happy to share their knowledge of the area and guard your luggage as you go along your hike.
On your way to the shores of Lake Towada, you will have a breath-taking view of several waterfalls such as the: Soryu Waterfall (Two Dragon Waterfall), Tomoshiraga Waterfall (Happy Marriage Waterfall), Kudan Waterfall (Nine Stairs Waterfall), Shiraito Waterfall (White String
Waterfall), Shirakinu Waterfall (White Silk Waterfall), Tamadare Waterfall (Bead Curtain Waterfall) and Shimai Waterfall (Sister Waterfall). The last waterfall that you will have to pass by before reaching the shores of Lake Towada is Choshi Otaki (Choshi Falls), a breath-taking scenic spot worthy of your visit.
Click here for more information about the hike.