Category Archives: Aomori

Walking around Lake Towada

The other day I mentioned that my hike along the Oirase River to Lake Towada was longer than expected, well here’s the full story. The walk to Lake Towada was around 20km which was what I expected, the only problem was that I was actually staying on the OTHER side of it, some 12km away! Haha I really need to plan these things better! This was quite deflating at the time, it was already late and there wasn’t exactly any taxis around.

As grueling as this ‘bonus’ section was, it was quite beautiful and gave me the chance to take some more photos. I arrived at my hotel around 7.45pm to find that dinner was over and all restaurants in the area were already closed, wow didn’t see that one coming! I devoured my final Choco-Pie and went to bed hungry, so very very hungry.

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The Choshi Ootaki Waterfall

My favourite sight along the Oirase River was the Choshi Ootaki Waterfall, real postcard material this one! I wanted smooth flowing water so closed the aperture to f/20 which increased the exposure length to four seconds, long enough to create that effect without overexposing the rest of the photo.

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Following the Oirase River

The main reason I came north to the Tohuku region of Japan was for the festivals but after a little research I realized there were some amazing natural sights up here too! I only had a few days up my sleeve so in the end I decided on following the Oirase River to Lake Towada on the border of Akita and Aomori, I love hiking so this sounded right up my alley!

It was a longer walk than I expected (more on that later) but it was absolutely beautiful! I love the solitude of long walks like this and it was a refreshing contrast to the crowded festivals from earlier in the week. I’d go on forever describing it but that’s what the photos are for! 🙂

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The Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori City

On to Aomori City and the legendary Nebuta Matsuri! The floats used in this parade are really impressive and must take forever to make, I can’t even imagine how much effort they put into them! Groups of people push these giant floats through the streets, running right up to the crowds, spinning round and pulling off a few tricks along the way. I really enjoyed this festival, the floats were amazing and everyone was having a blast. There was a fireworks display on the final night but I must have overdosed on festivals at this point as I left half way through.

Another thing I should mention about these festivals is that accommodation books out well in advance. If you want to stay in Akita City or Aomori City then you need to get in early, I didn’t and ended up having to stay in neighbouring cities. It wasn’t a big deal in the end but being closer to the action would have been nice. On the brightside you’re pretty much guaranteed to have some hilarious ‘I have absolutely no idea what’s going on’ moments in small Japanese towns and that’s always fun.

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