Top Page Article

No.183 (3/11/11)

Lake Tazawa

By Emiko S.
Staff Writer (Translated by Nao H. Kauffman)

Lake Tazawa Lake Tazawa is located in Senpoku city. It is in the middle of Akita prefecture next to Aomori prefecture. Lake Tazawa is 12 miles (20km) around and about 16 square miles (25.7平方km) in area. It takes about 30-40 minutes by car.

Lake Tazawa is surrounded by mountains, so there is no housing community around the lake. The natural, beautiful scenery is one of the attractions around Lake Tazawa because the area is untouched and has not been promoted by any tourism development. The beauty of the lake during seasonal changes is a huge attraction to view for visitors.

Lake Tazawa has been a very mysterious lake. There are many mythology tales of Lake Tazawa. The most famous tale is “The Dragon Mythology of Tatsuko.”

Statue of Tatsuko The character in the story, Tatsuko, is one of a kind because of her natural beauty. She lived in the village nearby Lake Tazawa. Tatsuko is a very beautiful girl and she went to the shrine for 100 days to pray to God for eternal young beauty. 100 days later, God said “There is a fountain deep in the mountains, go there and drink the water. Then, your wish will come true.” She went deep into the mountains and found the fountain. She drank the water from it. However, she kept getting thirsty so she continued drinking the spring water from the fountain. She realized something strange was happening inside of her body. She cautiously peered into the fountain and was surprised to see a dragon. Suddenly, the earth caved in, and a huge lake appeared. It soon came to be Lake Tazawa as we know it today. She went into the deep center of the lake and decided to live there. On the other hand, her mother looked for Tatsuko and later came upon Lake Tazawa. She heard the news that Tatsuko encountered the dragon. She grieved and threw a piece of pine firewood into the lake. The firewood transformed the fish in the lake. The fish is called “Kunimasu (kind of trout).”

A Kozanoishi shrine is just north of Lake Tazawa. The fountain from the mythology tale is known to be here.

The statue of Tatsuko is located southwest of Lake Tazawa. The Tatsuko statue is made of golden bronze. It is a beautiful statue and its reflection can be seen in the lake. It is different from the statue of Otome at Lake Towada.

There are so many things to see and enjoy around Lake Tazawa. And the Tazawako Ski Resort is just around the corner. Ski slopes are located on Mt. Komagatake. The resort reaches up to 3,890 feet in elevation. When you get to the top of the mountain by the lift, you will see the beautiful landscape along with Lake Tazawa. They are open from the months of December to April. They have a children's room in which they could take care of children from the ages of 2-6.

See more information here.

Woods around Nyuto Onsen Besides the mountain, there are also many hot spring around Lake Tazawa. One of the famous hot spring is the Nyuto hot spring village. It consists of Tsurunoyu, Kuroyu, Ganiba, Magoroku, Ookawa and Resort Village Nyuto Hotspring. Tsurunoyu Onsen is one of the oldest hot spring resorts of Nyutou Onsenkyo. Tsurunoyu Onsen dates back to 1638 through 1661, in which the second lord of Akita Yoshitaka Satake and Iwashiro Kameda visited Tsurunoyu Onsen for therapy respectively. Visitations by the general public began to be recorded during the Genroku era (1688-1704). Tsurunoyu Onsen received its name from the fact that a local hunter saw a crane (“Tsuru” in Japanese) healing its wounds in the spring.

They have five different types of hot springs focusing on certain individual needs. The mixed-gender type outdoor baths in which the baths are the same as Shiroyu Shiroyu: for beauty hot water (included Sulfur, Sodium, Calcium chloride, Carbonic acid hydrogen spring). Takinoyu: high blood pressure (included Sulfur, Sodium, and Carbonic acid hydrogen spring). Kuroyu: have a healthy baby (included Sulfur, Sodium, Carbonic acid hydrogen spring). Nakanoyu: for your eyes (included Sodium bicarbonate water,) Bathing admission Adult: 500 yen Child: 300 yen

The Yamanoyado reopened in 1994; you can now stay over there. They serve the food from Akita and you can enjoy the meal while sitting around the fire. See more information at http://www.tsurunoyu.com/english.html

Summer is a great time of year to visit Lake Tazawa. There is a park to camp and take a boat onto Lake Tazawa. You can see the statue of Tatsuko in the summer.

It takes 3 and a half hours by car to get to Lake Tazawa from Misawa. If you don't want to drive the long distance, you can take a train to get there also. Wouldn't it be nice to bath in a hot spring and eat food during the harsh, cold winter? Have a good trip to Akita!


Hiking in natural flower garden on the top of Akita Komagatake Mountain

By Chiho Tsukiashi
Staff Writer

Komagatake Mountain in Akita Prefecture taught me the joy of hiking when I was a junior high school student. Every year, the school organized a summer camp that was mandatory for every student to participate. The destination was the same every year -- Komagatake Mountain. The highlight of the camp was hiking. In the first summer, I was reluctant and worried, because my previous experiences of hiking were tough, walking long, steep trails for hours in searing weather. But hiking Komagatake turned enjoyable, as I was soon to find that the trail was easier and more pleasurable than I had expected. Flowers that I had never seen were flourishing all over, and the heavenly view from the top was breathtaking. Over the next two summers, I was excited to climb the mountain again, and got more adventurous going to optional paths, fully satisfied each time.

The best season to climb this mountain is from mid-June till mid-August, when colorful flowers bloom one after another. Perpetual snow is left here and there, so prepare for cold climate at the top. Wear hiking shoes, and bring extra food, a cell phone, and a poncho with you.

Akita Komagatake Mountain is 1,637 meters above sea level, which is 53 meters taller than Hakkoda. A shuttle bus takes you near the top of Komagatake. The bus leaves Tazawako Kogen Ski Resort and reaches Hachigome (“8/10 of the height”) Bus Stop taking one hour. The bus goes back and forth around twenty times a day. Personal vehicle is not allowed to enter the road.

Komagatake provides several trails to choose from, depending on your schedule and stamina. Please refer to the map. Also, please note that there are more trails that are not shown on the map. When you get off a shuttle bus, take the right trail, looking at Onamedake Peak on your left. Within 30 minutes, you will arrive at an observatory, where you will start to see alpine plants. Another 30-minute hike from there will take you to a shelter beyond Amida Pond. This is one of the most beautiful areas with alpine flowers. Climb further 20 minutes to reach Onamedake Peak (1,637 meters). After taking a rest and enjoying the view, go back the trail and turn left at the west end of the pond. Next, climb Odake Peak (1,623 meters) where benches are conveniently situated for your ideal lunch time looking at the great landscape: torrents of lava, craters, and Lake Tazawa far below. If you have enough time and energy, go down to the flowery crater, which is compared to “God’s Garden.” To get there, you have to go down a steep slope for 40 minutes, being extra carefully with stones falling down. Whether you decide to go down to the crater or not, you might want to take a different trail to go back to the bus stop for more interesting hiking experience.

Finally, this is how to drive to the foot of Komagatake Mountain: From Hachinohe, take Hachinohe Express Way and merge into Tohoku Express Way at Ashiro Junction. Exit at Morioka Interchange and take Route 46 to the west. Turn right at the first traffic light (Lawson) in Tazawako Town onto Route 341. Turn right onto Route 127 that takes you to Tazawako Ski Resort, where a shuttle bus to Komagatake Mountain leaves. Approximately 3 hours and 30 minute drive.

For additional sightseeing, Lake Tazawako is must. Its depth is 423.4 meters, being the deepest lake in Japan. It's located on the west side of Route 341. A famous onsen area called Nyuto Onsen is only 18-minute drive from the Ski Resort. Take Route 127 to the east, deeper into the mountain, and soon turn left onto Route 194. There will be several onsen inns along the roads. Enjoy the milk-white sulfur water.

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