Towadako, a caldera lake that feeds the Oriase stream. Both are famous and crowded during the autumn season. During autumn, the mountains burst with all shades of red, pink, yellow, brown and green. The stream is practically packed with tourists.
What about in Winter?
I boarded the bus at Hachinohe station. JR Tohoku bus, tickets can be purchased at the train ticket counter at 2600¥ one way. Only 2 trips per day, 10:00am and 1:20pm.
There was practically no other bus except ours on the road. Only occasional trucks passed us by.
The stream instead of colors was painted with just 2 colors, black and white.
The journey took 2 hours plus, making 10min stop along the way for break.
The lake was beautifully quiet and tranquil. Normal people will try and arrive just before hotel check in time which is normally 3:00pm. However I being not very normal, likes to arrive early when there is nobody around. Thus about 3 hours before check in time, I had the whole lake and scenery to myself.
The lake was frozen white.
The 2 cruise boats, resting against the dock provided the only relief among the monotonous black and white with their few red lines.
The mountains black streaked with white preside over the tranquil lake.
The two maidens, frozen against the black and white background
Note, not all hotels are operating at this season. Please book your accommodations in advance to avoid being stranded without a place to sleep in the cold.
At night, there was a winter lighting and fireworks display at the area not too far from the maiden statues.
Most hotels provide transport to and fro for this occasion.
There are food stalls in the festival selling all sorts of yummy delicacies. The lightings displays were okay by my standard, not grand or anything. But I loved the fireworks the most which lasted about 5, or maybe 10 mins. I don't know, I did not keep track of the time, I was enthralled by the sparks that flew across the dark winter night and burst into brilliant flashes.
After having said all that, who would blow 5200¥ on bus fare to and fro, on top of the hotel's accommodation just to see fireworks every year in winter?
As a budget traveller, I would say once is enough for me.
However, autumn is a different story. I will come back for autumn again and again.
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