Nature Hiker ×
Gwon Dong Hyeon & Ji Gwan Hu

Trekking in Tohoku with a Friend
Two Pals on a Hiking Journey Through Tohoku
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About this Tohoku travel

Tohoku is full of tourist attractions featuring the beauty of nature. On this trip we will introduce the beautiful sights, nature, and food of the trekking courses throughout Aomori, Iwate, and Akita prefectures. This is a laid-back and relaxing trip by two globetrotting travel bloggers. Let’s follow their journey in Tohoku’s famous trekking spots.

Main area of ​​this travel

  • Lake Juniko in the Shirakami Mountains

    Trekking areas in Tohoku are full of lush greenery.
    Transparent indigo lakes and sunlit forest trails

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  • Kitayamazaki Cliffs

    Waves crashing against breathtaking seaside cliffs
    An exciting expedition of passing through the beach, climbing a rocky terrain, and exploring a cave.

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  • Other Area

    • Oirase Keiryu Mountain Stream
    • Appi Kogen
    • Akita Yuwa Satonoie
      (Refurbished home into restaurant)

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Lake Juniko in the Shirakami Mountains

Trekking areas in Tohoku are full of lush greenery.
Transparent indigo lakes and sunlit forest trails

Dong Hyeon and Gwan Hu are travel bloggers who take beautiful photos as they journey all around the world. They visited Tohoku to escape from busy everyday life and relax in the picturesque nature of the region.

They loaded their luggage in a rental car and started off toward Aomori. Aomori boasts various tourist attractions including the Shirakami Mountains and Oirase Keiryu mountain stream where you can immerse yourself in untouched nature. Begin your relaxing trip, restoring body and soul, by strolling through the nature of Aomori and taking in the essence of the forest.

The Shirakami Mountain area is a mountainous region in the northern part of Japan's main island, and was named as one of Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1993.

The Shirakami Mountains are still rising a little bit every year, causing active erosion. This results in deep valleys and an abundance of waterfalls and lakes. Among them, Lake Juniko, a group of 33 lakes and swamps, and Anmon Falls are well known and have been visited by several hundred thousand trekkers.

After a ten-minute walk on the beech forest trail you can hear the sound of spring water rising to the surface, which sounds similar to a running stream. You can take a moment to admire the beauty of Lake Wakitsubonoike. Then, resume walking along the trail with the enticing fragrance of cedar leaves and be embraced by sunlight streaming through the green forest. You eventually reach a beech forest with a floor blanketed in soft pieces of beech wood.

As you stroll down the beech forest walkway, you begin hearing the "oohs" and "aahs" from the tourists. Even if you do not speak Japanese, judging from all the "sugois" and "sugees" that you hear - familiar words to fans of animé - you can deduce that there must be some amazing scenery up ahead. Following the noise down the road, you encounter an indigo-blue lake and understand the reason for the exclamations you just heard. Aoike Pond looks as blue as if someone spilled blue ink into it. Sunlight showering through the old beech branches deepens the pond's blue hue, and the otherworldly scenery seems to purify the mind and soul. The secret behind this blue hue is still unknown, making it all the more mystical.

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Kitayamazaki Cliffs

Waves crashing against breathtaking seaside cliffs
An exciting expedition of passing through the beach, climbing a rocky terrain, and exploring a cave.

Now to Iwate Prefecture where we spend time immersed in tranquil nature. We first visit Kitayamazaki where the stunning seaside cliffs stand tall. The relaxing trip continues from the forests of Aomori to the sea of Iwate.

Kitayamazaki is a famous scenic spot on the Sanriku Coast where 200-meter- high cliffs run for almost 8 kilometers. A winding flight of 736 steps descends from the lookout point to the beach at the foot of the staggering cliffs. For its beautiful scenery, Kitayamazaki received the highest rating in the “Natural resource: Coast” category of the National Tourist Resource Evaluation that was conducted by the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation in 1999. From the observation deck, you can see rare birds of prey such as falcons and ospreys through a telescope. From June to July, you can also see colonies of Hakusan Rhododendron, which are designated as a prefectural natural monuments. Cloud-like dense fog called "yamase" often forms here so you may come across a sea of clouds and mist. From the observation decks on a clear day, you can see Miyakoshi Todogasaki, the easternmost point on Honshu Island.

In Kitayamazaki, there is a long trail starting from Aomori that passes Iwate and then leads to Miyagi where you can walk along the coastline. The trail in Kitayamazaki passes a 200-meter-tall precipice, an old cave said to have been dug by hand, and a seaside track where waves crash against the rocks. In addition to the majestic scenery provided by nature, you may also come across some peaceful scenes of fishermen repairing nets or locals drying kelp.

After leaving the rugged coastline and cliffs, you can see observation decks here and there from which you can admire the wonderful scenery while you ascend the Kitayamazaki forest walkway. Kitayamazaki has three observation points. At Observation Point 2, the precipice unfolds right in front of you, while at Observation Point 3 you can take in the forest air and enjoy the scenery. At Observation Point 1, you can enjoy a view of the vast coastline after descending an incredible 736 steps. The spectacular views from the observation points will make you forget any travel fatigue.

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Other Area

We also visited Oirase Keiryu mountain stream, Akita Yuwa Satonoie farming house, and Appi Kogen highlands, three of Tohoku’s well-known tourist attractions. Go trekking in the Oirase Keiryu area while listening to the relaxing sounds of the stream. Cook kiritanpo in Satonoie with a Japanese local and go glamping in Appi Kogen to wrap up the journey. You can enjoy a relaxing time here in Tohoku.

  • Oirase Keiryu Mountain Stream

    Oirase Keiryu is a place well known for not only its fresh green and brilliant autumn colors but also as a summer resort. The keiryu (mountain stream) runs through lush forest, waterfalls, rocks, and groves that have a thousand beautiful expressions. There are many wonderful waterfalls such as Kumoinotaki, Choshi Otaki, and Ashuranonagare Stream. High-end resorts and accommodations with hot springs await you downstream.

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  • Appi Kogen

    The Appi Kogen (highlands) is located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park and is surrounded by 1,304-meter-high Mt. Maemori and 1,313-meter-high Mt. Nishimori. Hotels and pensions surround Azone Resort where a ski resort, golf course, and hot spring facilities attract visitors seeking to enjoy winter fun. You can also take pleasure in trekking and glamping here. A hot spring bath after trekking or winter sports can warm your body and spirit.

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  • Akita Yuwa Satonoie
    (Refurbished home into restaurant)

    You can see an old Japanese farm and scenes of local life in this traditional Akita farming residence. Typically, dishes such as udon or soba and café beverages are served here but you can also reserve an exclusive cooking experience of kiritanpo, a traditional Akita delicacy. It will be an immersive experience to make the kiritanpo with a new Japanese friend. Akita Yuwa Satonoie is a great place to spend time chatting with the local people.

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Spot Details

About Gwon Dong Hyeon

1984.07.23 Travel writer, photographer from Seoul

Travel contents creator who experiences new things all over the world, and shares the value and specialness of traveling.
He contributes his travel stories to online and offline media such as corporate newsletters, magazines, blogs, and Instagram.

http://shootar.net/

About Ji Gwan Hu

1987.03.09 Clay artist, travel creator from Yongin

He is a travel creator and clay artist who expresses what inspires him by posting his travel pictures and videos on his blog, in addition to working with clay to produce pottery. He uploads travel stories and pottery artworks on media including YouTube, blogs, and Instagram.

http://ddalso.kr/