Lake Towada & Oirase Stream

In Yasumiya, the major point of interest is Towada Jinja Shrine, surrounded by giant cedars and boasting marvelous woodcarvings of animals. A curious custom here is to buy a fortune, put money or rice inside, twist it into the shape of a missile, and then hike up the steep flight of wooden steps beside the shrine 20 minutes to a scenic spot (the last part of the hike is down metal ladders -- only for the adventurous on a rainy day) where you then throw your missile into the lake. If it sinks, your wish will come true. Near Towada Jinja Shrine, look for the sculpture of two young women. Unlike the golden nymph at Lake Tazawa, these broad-shouldered, wide-hipped young ladies were sculpted just after the war, when such proportions were thought necessary to rebuild the nation. My Japanese friends, however, think they're very unflattering.

Sightseeing Boats on Lake Towada -- The best way to enjoy the pristine beauty of crystal-clear Lake Towada (Towadako), a double caldera formed some 20,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, is aboard excursion boats that cruise the waters. About 44km (27 miles) of undulating coastline marked by capes, inlets, cliffs, and trees that put on a spectacular autumn show make this one of Towada-Hachimantai National Park's major draws. Two cruises are available: a 50-minute cruise that travels between Yasumiya and Nenokuchi (available only Apr to early Nov), and a 45-minute cruise that begins and ends at Yasumiya (available year-round). Many visitors take the boat to Nenokuchi (Oirase Stream trail head), send their luggage onward, and begin hiking. The cost of either cruise is ¥1,400. A surcharge of ¥500 is levied if you wish to sit in the top lounge. Children pay half fare.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.