Lakes, Gorges and Snow-Kissed Mountains
Lake Towada occupies a double caldera that speaks of the park’s volcanic heritage. Take in fantastic views of the lake from the crater's rim, or go canoeing to see the inner wall of the caldera. The tranquil lake and verdant greenery that surrounds it form a primeval landscape designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and a National Monument. Oirase Gorge feeds the lake with a perpetually changing flow of crystal-clear mountain spring water dancing over waterfalls and moss-covered boulders, drawing many nature-seekers every spring and autumn to its well-maintained paths through the wilderness. Winter in the Hakkoda Mountains also brings 'juhyo' — these 'snow monsters' form when super-cooled water droplets and vapor chilled to below freezing are blown against the trees, clothing them in the finest powder snow.
Hot Springs and Highlands
In the area around Mt. Hachimantai's peak is the highland marsh and Hachimannuma Pond, formed long ago by volcanic steam explosions that left a water-filled crater—now easily accessed for walking along well-maintained footpaths. Travel the 26 km road from Hachimantai Gozaisho in Iwate to the Toroko Hot Springs in Akita after it reopens for spring in mid-April, and experience the Hachimantai Snow Corridor through walls of snow up to 8 meters high!
Volcanic Blessings of Tohoku
The park’s volcanic foundations make for unique phenomena springing up all around. Despite the cold northern air, beech tree forests have flourished here — a truly rare occurrence. These forests are home to all manner of life. Mammals such as the Japanese flying squirrel, and the Japanese serow which is designated a National Special Natural Monument; amphibians like forest green tree frogs and black salamanders; rare birds such as the Japanese green woodpecker; insects including the ‘ezoharuzemi’ cicada and ‘ruriitotombo’ damselfly—all thrive in the park thanks to the rich habitat. Volcanic areas also mean hot springs, and this park is no exception. Travelers seeking rest, relaxation, and recuperation flock to the healing waters of Nyuto Onsen, Matsukawa Onsen, and the historic 1,000-person, mixed-gender bathhouse Sukayu Onsen.
Download an official guidebook for detailed information on the unique delights of the park.
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