Towadako: A Beautifully Disastrous Hike

Aomorishi, Hirosaki

๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฎโ€™๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ is one of the most popular places in Japan to admire beautiful autumn colors, as the shores around the caldera turn into blazing shades of red and gold. Indeed trekking down the ๐—ข๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—š๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฒ was one of the most beautiful hikes of my life. It also turned out to be one of the most disastrous, ending with me wandering through a pitch-black forest and running away from bears. Worth it? Definitely. Timing your trip properly is of essence to safely enjoy the sights of Towada-ko, so here are some tips to help you avoid my same pitfalls. Legend: ๐ŸŽซ Admission fee ๐Ÿ Recommended autumn foliage viewing spot โค๏ธ Recommendation for something I enjoyed ๐Ÿ™ Food recommendation ๐Ÿ“ธ Notable photo spot ๐Ÿ‘ Pro tip ๐Ÿ’ธ Budget tip Feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions.

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Updated 6 months ago

้’ๆฃฎๅธ‚

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Aomorishi, Japan • Memory • 

The day I arrived in ๐—”๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ, I had set out on an early Shinkansen from Hakodate. And that was my first mistake. Despite being the fastest way to cross over from Hokkaido short of a plane ride, it was already afternoon by the time I boarded the bus bound for Towada-ko. If I had to do it again, I would spend the night in Aomori, or more probably (being the penniless traveler I am) ride the night ferry from Hakodate that lands in the city at the break of dawn. ๐Ÿ‘ Whatever option you choose, make sure to start out early.

  • ๆ—ฅๆœฌ้’ๆฃฎ็ธฃ้’ๆฃฎๅธ‚

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้’ๆฃฎ่ปŠ็ซ™

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Aomorishi, Japan • Memory • 

Unless you have the option of driving your own car, you will probably be riding the JR bus bound for Towada-ko, which you can conveniently board with your JR pass from the Aomori station bus bay. The bus will make a few stops along the way at ๐Ÿ some scenic locations and major onsen resorts in the area, which are lovely in the fall season. If you wish to take this itinerary at a more leisurely pace and have the budget to spare, I definitely recommend spending the night at one of them. ๐Ÿ‘ While officially the bus ride from Aomori Station to Ishigedo Rest Area (the Oirase Gorge trailhead) takes 2h 30min, do not trust this estimate. The narrow roads leading through the mountainous area are often congested, causing long waiting times that can throw your schedule totally off-track. While I should have been able to comfortably hike the whole gorge just in time to take the last bus for Towada town, before I knew it my inbound bus was 1h late, leaving me stranded half-way. ๐ŸŽซ bus ticket: approx. 2500ยฅ

  • ๆ—ฅๆœฌใ€’038-0012 ้’ๆฃฎ็ธฃ้’ๆฃฎๅธ‚ Yanakawa, 1 Chomeโˆ’1

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็Ÿณใƒถๆˆธไผ‘ๆ†ฉๆ‰€

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Aomorishi, Japan • Recommendation • 

๐—œ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—”๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ is a good place to hop off the bus and start your trek down the Oirase Gorge. You can acquire a map here, which will give you pretty accurate estimates of how long it will take you to hike from spot to spot. On-site, there is an exhibition area where you can learn about the gorge (Japanese only) and a small shop offering souvenirs and refreshments, where you can stock up on local snacks and drinks if you'd like to have a picnic while on the trail (picnic tables are available at a few spots). ๐Ÿ‘ Walking from one bus stop to the next can take anything between 5 and 60min, so time yourself to reach one before the last bus. Trust me, getting stranded along the way is not something you want to happen (been there, done that, not fun).

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