Oirase Mountain Stream

Oirase Gorge

Scenery straight out of a fantasy film

The Oirase Stream flows from Lake Towada on the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures through the equally scenic Oirase Gorge. Hiking or biking along it, you’ll see why the stream and the gorge have inspired painters and poets for centuries. The area is full of lush woods, waterfalls, and odd outcroppings of rocks. Examples of the latter two have even acquired names over the years.

Don’t Miss

The impressive drop of Choshi Falls
A stroll across Deaibashi (Hook-up Bridge)
The vibrant fall colors of Oirase Gorge

How to Get There

Oirase Gorge is most easily reached by JR bus from either Aomori or Hachinohe stations. Please note service is suspended in winter. From either station, you’ll take the bus bound for Towada-ko. There are numerous bus stops, such as Yakeyama, from which the trailhead can be reached. Choose where to disembark based on what you want to see and how long you want to hike.

Wander along 14 kilometers of bliss

The best ways to experience the stream are by hiking or cycling along its banks. Walking lets you fully absorb the details of your surroundings. Figure on five hours to walk the whole route, or more, if you sketch, take photos, or write poetry. If you decide to cycle, you can rent a bike in Yakeyama and ride it one way, dropping it off in Nenokuchi at the far end of the path.

Along the way, you’ll see waterfalls with fanciful names like Soryu (Two Dragons), Tomoshiraga (Life-Long Partnership), and Shirakinu (White Silk).

Walking meditation and forest bathing

Some people say that walking here is like meditation. The virgin beech, Japanese oak, maple, and white cedar trees breathe with you. The whole concept of forest therapy focuses on that magical interaction. In late October, the turning of the leaves will take your breath away. In the snowy winter season, some of the falls may even freeze over, but the stream continues to flow. The area turns lush and green in spring and summer.

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A word on the name

This area is known by several names in the guidebooks. This is a matter of translation and of emphasis. Depending on where you look, you’ll see the area referred to as Oirase Gorge, Oirase Stream, and Oirase Mountain Stream. They are all the same idyllic place.

After the trail

Setting out from Yakeyama, the end of the trail is at Lake Towada in Nenokuchi. If you’re still up for more adventure, Nenokuchi offers activities like fishing and sightseeing cruises on the lake. Or, after all the exercise, you might prefer to relax at a restaurant and sample dishes of kokanee salmon and Japanese smelt caught in Lake Towada.

The Oirase Stream and Oirase Gorge present a picturesque landscape that seems straight out of a fantasy film. Located on the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures in japan, this natural wonder has captivated the hearts of painters and poets for centuries. Its scenic beauty, lush woods, waterfalls, and unique rock formations make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.

The Oirase Stream originates from Lake Towada, a stunning lake that straddles Aomori and Akita prefectures. Flowing through the Oirase Gorge, the stream creates a mesmerizing landscape that has inspired countless artists. Whether you choose to hike or bike along the stream, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding nature.

One of the highlights of the Oirase Gorge is the Choshi Falls, a magnificent waterfall with an impressive drop. The sheer power and beauty of the falls are awe-inspiring, making it a must-see attraction for visitors. Another notable spot in the gorge is the Deaibashi, also known as the Hook-up Bridge. Taking a leisurely stroll across this picturesque bridge allows you to appreciate the tranquility of the surroundings.

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One of the most enchanting aspects of the Oirase Gorge is the vibrant fall colors that adorn the landscape. During the autumn season, the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow, creating a picturesque scenery straight out of a painting. The Oirase Gorge is a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers seeking to capture the beauty of Japan’s changing seasons.

To reach the Oirase Gorge, the most convenient option is to take a JR bus from either Aomori or Hachinohe stations. However, please note that bus service is suspended during the winter season. The bus will take you to Towada-ko, where you can find various bus stops that provide access to the trailhead. Depending on your preferences and hiking abilities, you can choose where to disembark along the route.

Hiking or cycling along the Oirase Stream allows you to immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of the gorge. Walking enables you to fully appreciate the intricate details of the surrounding nature. It is recommended to allocate around five hours to complete the entire route, although this may vary depending on your pace and the time spent capturing the beauty through art or photography. Alternatively, you can rent a bike in Yakeyama and enjoy a scenic ride along the stream, returning the bike at Nenokuchi, which marks the end of the path.

As you explore the Oirase Gorge, you will encounter several waterfalls that have acquired fanciful names over the years. The Soryu Falls, meaning “Two Dragons,” represents the awe-inspiring power of nature. Tomoshiraga Falls, translated as “Life-Long Partnership,” symbolizes the enduring bond between nature and humans. Shirakinu Falls, or “White Silk,” evokes a sense of tranquility and purity. These waterfalls add to the enchanting atmosphere of the Oirase Gorge, making it a truly magical place to visit.

Walking along the Oirase Gorge is often described as a form of meditation. The ancient beech, Japanese oak, maple, and white cedar trees create a harmonious environment that resonates with visitors. Forest therapy, a concept that focuses on the healing power of nature, is deeply ingrained in the Oirase Gorge experience. In late October, the vibrant hues of the autumn leaves create a breathtaking spectacle that leaves visitors in awe. Even during the snowy winter season, the Oirase Gorge retains its allure, with some of the waterfalls freezing over while the stream continues to flow. Spring and summer bring a lush greenery to the area, further enhancing its natural beauty.

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It is worth noting that the Oirase Gorge is referred to by different names in guidebooks, such as Oirase Gorge, Oirase Stream, and Oirase Mountain Stream. Despite the variations in nomenclature, they all refer to the same idyllic place that captivates the hearts of those who visit.

At the end of the trail lies Lake Towada, a majestic lake in Nenokuchi. If you’re still craving adventure, Nenokuchi offers various activities, including fishing and sightseeing cruises on the lake. Alternatively, you can unwind at a local restaurant and indulge in dishes featuring kokanee salmon and Japanese smelt caught in Lake Towada. These culinary delights provide a perfect ending to your Oirase Gorge adventure.

In conclusion, the Oirase Gorge offers a surreal experience straight out of a fantasy film. Its scenic beauty, waterfalls, and lush greenery make it a paradise for nature lovers. Whether you choose to hike or bike along the Oirase Stream, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of tranquility. The Oirase Gorge is a testament to the beauty of Japan’s natural landscapes and a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

Address And Maps Location:

Towada, Aomori-ken


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