By Mandy Bartok
The Oirase stream is one of the most famous destinations in Aomori Prefecture. Its fame is totally deserved and, as soon as you make your first step on the river bank, the reason will be clear. In summer the surrounding forest foliage is at its peak. The green is imperious; the delicate and spongy moss covers everything like the snow in winter. The water paints elegant shapes flowing around the tiny islets covered in wide leaf plants. Here and there dead trees lie in the river bed leaving space for other trees to take its place.
The best way to enjoy the stream at its fullest is to walk along the 14 km long trail. The path runs right aside the river, but unfortunately it's also very close to the street. The rushing water somehow conceals the cars’ noise but, regardless, the stunning beauty of this place overcomes everything else.
While hiking you will also come across several waterfalls, some just tiny, some more massive. Choshi Otaki is one of the last ones you will walk by if going toward the lake. Here the stream dives down a sharp edge into a small pool where dark black rocks reveal the volcanic origin of this area. The surrounding forest frames the view into a perfect composition that will take your breath away.
A bus service is available and runs up and down the river every half an hour. Along the way you will find some service stations with souvenir shops, snacks and tourist information centers.
Tip: try to start the hike in the morning to avoid the crowds of tourists and the noisy traffic on the nearby road. If you have a rental car try to go very early. Being there with nobody else and without any traffic will make the experience unforgettable.
From Hachinohe Station get a bus toward Towadako (4 busses a day, 135 minutes, 2670 yen). You can get off at any stop along the stream, walk your way down, and get a bus back. Plan your day accordingly as the whole hike will take you about 4 hours.
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Born on a cold day in December 1984, I am a computer engineer in Verona. I love martial arts, travel, Japan, food and of course photography. Photography is not only looking for beautiful pictures, it's more, much more; It means keeping memories, details, and moments that will inevitably become more and more blurred in our memory; it means waking up when everyone is sleeping; getting excited at the frost or under a thunderstorm when everyone is running away; learning to wait and knowing the surrounding environment; looking for new places and exploring forgotten ones, it means being able to see and enjoy what is surrounding us learning to observe with different eyes.