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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Oirase Stream 奥入瀬川

A gorgeous gorge and stream straight out of a fantasy film

The Oirase Stream flows from Lake Towada on the border of Aomori and Akita prefectures through the equally scenic Oirase Gorge. Hiking or biking along it, you'll see why the stream and the gorge have inspired painters and poets for centuries.

The area is full of lush woods, waterfalls and odd outcroppings of rocks. Examples of the latter two have even acquired names over the years.

Don't Miss

  • The impressive drop of Choshi Falls
  • A stroll across Deaibashi (Hook-up Bridge)
  • The fiery fall colors of Oirase Gorge

How to Get There

The Oirase Stream is most easily reached by JR bus from either Aomori or Hachinohe stations.

From either station, you'll take the bus bound for Towada-ko. Get off at Yakeyama. From the bus stop, you can easily walk to the trailhead for the Oirase Stream.

Wander along 14 kilometers of bliss

The best ways to experience the Oirase Stream are by walking or cycling along its banks. Walking lets you fully absorb the details of your surroundings. Figure on five hours to walk the whole route, or more, if you sketch, take photos or write poetry.

If you decide to cycle, you can rent a bike in Yakeyama and ride it one way, dropping it off in Nenokuchi at the far end of the path.

Along the way, you'll see waterfalls with fanciful names like Soryu (Two Dragons), Tomoshiraga (Happy Marriage) and Shirakinu (White Silk).

Walking meditation and forest bathing

Some people say that walking here is like meditation. The virgin beech, Japanese oak, maple, and white cedar trees breathe with you. The whole concept of forest therapy focuses on that magical interaction.

In late October, the turning of the leaves will take your breath away. In the snowy winter season, some of the falls may even freeze over, but the stream continues to flow. The area turns lush and green in spring and summer.

A word on the name

Oirase Stream is known by several names in the guidebooks. This is a matter of translation and of emphasis. Depending on where you look, you'll see the area referred to as Oirase Gorge, Oirase Stream and Oirase Mountain Stream. They are all the same idyllic place.

After the trail

Setting out from Yakeyama, the end of the trail is at Lake Towada in Nenokuchi. If you're still up for more adventure, Nenokuchi offers activities like fishing and sightseeing cruises on the lake. Or, after all the exercise, you might prefer to relax at a restaurant or cafe and trying Oirase's popular craft beer.

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