|From Tokyo:||3-5 hr|
|From Osaka:||4-6 hr|
How to Get There
Towada-Hachimantai National Park in Japan’s northern Tohoku region offers forest hikes, rustic hot-spring baths and spectacular landscapes famed for their autumn colors. The park stretches across Aomori, Akita, and Iwate prefectures. The northern area includes Lake Towada and the Hakkoda Mountains, while Mount Hachimantai sits to the south. Although the park’s many highlights are accessible by bus, a car makes getting around much easier.
The Tohoku Shinkansen is the quickest way to get to Lake Towada and the Hakkoda Mountains, arriving at Shin-Aomori Station in 3 hours 10 minutes. After that, hop onto a JR bus (seasonal) bound for Lake Towada. Prior to terminating at Lake Towada (2 hr 50 min), the bus stops at the Hakkoda Ropeway (1 hr 15 min), which climbs Mount Tamoyachidake in the Hakkoda Mountains. Note that from mid-November to early April, this service operates between Shin-Aomori Station and Sukayu Onsen, a hot spring at the western foot of the Hakkoda Mountains. To reach the Hachimantai area, meanwhile, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Morioka Station. Seasonally operated buses take visitors to the summit of Hachimantai. From Tazawako Station, which can be accessed via the Akita Shinkansen, there are buses to Nyuto Onsen and Akita Komagatake.
For the northern Towada area, fly from Itami Airport to Aomori Airport (1 hr 35 min) then take the airport bus to Aomori Station (35 min). From there, take the JR bus bound for Lake Towada; the bus also stops at popular locations, including Hakkoda Ropeway and Oirase Gorge. (This service only operates from mid-April to early November.) For the Hachimantai area, take a flight to Hanamaki Airport (1 hr 20 min) or Akita Airport (1 hr 15 min). Buses connect Hanamaki Airport to Morioka Station (45 min) and Akita Airport to Akita Station (30 min). Take the Akita Shinkansen to Tazawako Station.
You can visit the park's highlights by bus, but a car will allow you to explore the park's charms fully. For the Towada-Hakkoda area, Aomori City and Hachinohe Station are good places to rent a car. For the Hachimantai area, rent a car from Morioka Station or Tazawako Station. Note that many roads in the park—including the Hachimantai Aspite Line and National Route 341 in the Hachimantai area—close during the winter. JR Bus provides service to Lake Towada, the Hakkoda Mountains, Oirase Gorge, and other places associated with beautiful autumn colors. In the Hachimantai area, Ugo Kotsu and Shuhoku Bus operate services from Tazawako Station, running to popular areas including Nyuto Onsen hot-spring baths and Mount Akita-Komagatake's hiking trails. Other operators run buses to the Hachimantai area from Morioka Station and Kazunohanawa Station.