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TOWADA-HACHIMANTAI NATIONAL PARK
Article | August 22nd, 2019 | Dayna Hannah
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TRAVEL TO NORTHERN JAPAN TO EXPLORE THE STRIKING LANDSCAPE OF TOWADA-HACHIMANTAI NATIONAL PARK

In the heartland of northern Japan, you can escape from the bustling cities to the Hachimantai area of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Blessed with abundant nature and wildlife, the stunning mountainous landscape changes with the passing seasons and offers some of the most outstanding views in Japan. You can experience the best outdoor activities and sceneries in Hachimantai any time of year!

SEEN SNOW AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN SPRING (MARCH - MAY)

Uwabo-Bokuya Solitary Cherry Tree

Hachimantai Snow Corridor

The road that leads to Mount Hachimantai’s summit gets plowed in mid-April, and massive walls of snow collect on either side of the Hachimantai Aspite Line. The snow corridor stretches for more than 25 kilometers and stands several meters high. In early May, when the cherry blossoms start to bloom, the path takes you past several sakura trees before suddenly transforming into an enchanting world of white.

Uwabo-Bokuya Solitary Cherry Tree

Hundreds of thousands of pink petals might be a spectacular sight, but a single cherry blossom tree can make as powerful of an impact. The Uwabo-Bokuya Solitary Tree stands alone in a green pasture. A shrine once stood in this area, but it moved and left the little sakura behind. Standing against the backdrop of a snow-capped Mount Iwate, it faithfully welcomes visitors every year.

Hachimantai Dragon Eye

The pile of snow that blankets Kagami-Numa Pond lasts through early June. As it begins to melt in late May, the outer edges and center disappear first. The white ring reveals the striking blue water below and creates an eerie resemblance to a dragon’s eye. As you take in the view, watch out that the eye doesn’t look back at you!

EXPLORE BREATHTAKING TRAILS IN SUMMER (JUNE - AUGUST)

Hiking

In the warm seasons, hiking trails that wind through Hachimantai’s rich and varied countryside open. Mount Iwate offers three starting points that eventually converge and split apart again. You can mix and match the paths to create a personalized tour of the waterfalls, rare flora, and volcanic landscape. Or, you can stroll around the peak of Mount Hachimantai and enjoy the alpine flowers that bloom in the marshland. After a full day of climbing, you can stay overnight in a mountain lodge.

Cycling

The pastoral lands also offer opportunities for cyclists. Whether you’re a professional mountain biker looking for a challenge, or you want to go for a leisurely ride, there’s a route for you! As you explore the Appi area and Hachimantai’s roads, the gentle winds will softly kiss your cheeks. You can find guided tours and rent bicycles at some mountain lodges.

WATCH THE LEAVES CHANGE COLORS IN AUTUMN (SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER)

Mount Mitsuishi

It’s difficult to say which is the most beautiful time of year to visit Hachimantai, but in fall the whole area comes alive with hues of crimson, orange, and gold. The autumn leaves begin to turn red as early as September on Mount Mitsuishi. The trail starts from Matsukawa Onsen and takes three to four hours to cover. After you finish, reward yourself with a dip in a relaxing hot spring bath.

Hachiman-Numa Pond

Hachimantai’s signature trekking course goes through Hachimantai Mountain and Hachiman-Numa pond. The trails are accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities, and they lead you around the area’s beloved marshland. In autumn, the sapphire grass that surrounds the pond turns an astonishing gold, and you’ll feel as though you’re walking through a land of fantasy.

See the Sights Like Genbu-Iwa Rock, Mori-no-Ohashi Bridge, the Hachimantai Jukai Line, and the Aspite Line

You could write a book about all the must-see landmarks in Hachimantai during the fall. Start with the arresting formations and vegetation of the Genbu-Iwa Rock. Then, cross the Mori-no-Ohashi bridge for a birds-eye-view of the treetops exploding in a patchwork of color. Driving through the winding Aspite and Jukai Lines, you can take in dynamic views of volcanic craters, fir forests, and pristine ponds.

HIT THE SLOPES IN WINTER (DECEMBER - FEBRUARY)

Hachimantai Dragon Eye

Skiing and Snowboarding

Powdery snowfalls in winter make the Hachimantai area one of the best places for skiing and snowboarding in Japan. APPI is the biggest and most popular ski resort in the Tohoku region. The Hachimantai Ski Resort Shimokura Ski Area is a hidden gem that boasts a 250-meter “tree run area” that is left ungroomed. Both resorts offer hot spring baths and facilities that the whole family with love.

CAT and Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

You don’t have to be a backcountry skier or hike for hours to enjoy the untamed wilderness. Try taking a tour on a snowcat grooming machine provided by Hachimantai CAT Tours! As you ride up Mount Chashu, you’ll see some of the purest snow in the world. As part of the tour, you can get out to walk or challenge yourself on the untouched slopes.

Snowshoeing

If you can’t get enough of exploring on foot, strap on your snowshoes to traverse through the wintery terrain. During this time of year, Towada-Hachimantai National Park’s points of interest take on a whole new visage. Towering waterfalls freeze into majestic pillars of ice, and the picturesque snow on the expansive pastures serenely sparkles in the sun.


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