Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Aomori
Population
1,475,635

Oirase Stream

30 reasons to waterfall in love.

Japan’s second-most northern prefecture Aomori is a haven for nature lovers. Along the Oirase River, among the birds chirping and sound of water gushing, you can see nearly 30 different waterfalls — in just one hike.

More fall colors?

Oirase River flows powerfully from Lake Towada, and one particular nearby walking path holds the lush waterfalls. Belonging to the Towada Kohan-ko Noguchi National Park in southern Aomori, Oirase Stream is a 14-kilometer mountain stream with numerous soothing rapids. The easy-but-long hike along the stream is a feast to the eye, especially in spring and fall, filled with overlapping trees and rushing water pounding the rocks beneath.

Waterfalls

The waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes. While the most famous, Chioshi, is a 20-meter-wide waterfall that blocks fish from swimming up the river, there’s also Kumoi, a 25-meter-high beauty that gushes down in a slender fashion. Still, Shiraito Waterfall, whose water flows down in thin threads, resembles white threads of silk, as its Japanese characters suggests. Besides designated waterfalls, the natural meanders of Oirase Stream make beautiful checkpoints as the water hurries downstream.

Photo by: Toshinori baba Oirase Stream is a 14 KM hike.

The trail

The Oirase Stream trail starts at Nenoguchi, a small town near Lake Towada, to Yakeyama, a hot spring village to the north. From there you can connect back to Aomori City.

The walk along the stream is an easy and flat path dotted by multiple bus stops in between. While walking the full 14-kilometer takes around 4-5 hours counting on stopping for sightseeing, one could also choose to bike or drive through it on the road parallel to the walkway.

Know before you go

Although Oirase Stream is blessed by a vibrant green in summer, it is most famed by its intricate autumn colors, like at Oirase Gorge in the middle of the hike. Regardless of the season, though, visit this popular national park in early morning (suggested start time: 6 a.m.) to beat the crowd. There are also benches along the stream, so bring a bento with you for a relaxing picnic. Oirase Stream is located in the countryside where shops are a rarity, so go prepared.

For a half-day detox from urban noises, surround yourself with the healing powers of Oirase’s falls.

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How To Get There

Address

Towada Road, Okuse, Towada-shi, Aomori-ken 034-0301, Japan

By bus
  • Most visitors walks one-way between Yakeyama and Nenoguchi, then take the bus for a return trip.
  • From JR Aomori station or JR Hachinohe station, take the bus bound for Lake Towada and get off at Yakeyama. It is about a 2-hour ride from Aomori City, or 1.5-hour ride from Hachinohe.
  • One can also stay near Lake Towada and take a bus from there to the national park.
  • Note that buses do not run between November and April.
By car

It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from both central Aomori City and Hachinohe.

Where To Stay

Drive Inn Keigetsu
  • Horyo Yakeyama 64-263 Towada-Shi, Aomori 034-0303
  • 8/10
  • 5.7 km
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Oirase Mori no Hotel
  • Horyo Yakeyama 36-20 Towada-Shi, Aomori 034-0303
  • 8.2/10
  • 6.6 km
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Tsuta Onsen
  • Okuse Aza Tsutanoyu 1 Towada-Shi, Aomori 034-0301
  • 9.1/10
  • 7.9 km
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Yachi Onsen
  • Horyo Yachi 1 Towada-Shi, Aomori 034-0303
  • 7.6/10
  • 12.5 km
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