Articles by Simon Bernard    

Been there, done that? Guess again when it comes to Lake Towada!


The changing of the seasons is enough excuse to go back to Lake Towada often to see a different face of one of most scenic spots in Aomori Prefecture. But what you do when you get there can take new twist with the advent of alternate tourism. As a 19 year veteran living in Aomori, even I was recently and pleasantly surprised to find some new and interesting things to do in and around the lake.

Open Air Hot Spring Tubs On The Lakeside

Experience the gorgeous sunset colors on Lake Towada while relaxing in a hot tub. Wooden cedar tubs are filled with the soothing waters of real hot springs water. These outside hot springs called Ro-ten-bu-ro in Japanese are said to be very therapeutic as well. These giant tubs which can hold up to 10 people at a time and are open from 3 to 6 p.m. Drinking a cold beer while enjoying this unique view of the lake can make for an unforgettable time. A changing room and shower are available at the site as well. Bring your own bathing suit or rent one there.

Flat Bottom Boat Tours

Located right next to the hot springs tub is Marine Blue Boat rentals. Here you will find two boats, the Kaiun Maru and the Adventure 21. The Morning Mist Tour leaves at 6:30 and takes you to places on the lake inaccessible to the average visitor. The evening Sunset Tour leaves at 15:00 and brings you to the ultimate spot on the lake to watch the sun go down. The boats holds up to 15 people but the forty minute tour is held even if there is only one person! A guide and hot coffee is also provided. Special tours such as a romantic get away, picture taking, fishing tours and others are available for groups of two or more. For more information in English call 0176-75-2336. The tours can also be cancelled during inclement weather.

Dutch Oven Lakeside Cookout

Located at the Taiyo Hiroba (Sun Plaza) right on the lakeside let master chefs help you prepare a gourmet delight. The menu includes chicken, trout, scallops, stew, bread and dessert. This unique event is available to groups of 10 or more people. Reservations in English are available by email at webmaster@towada.co.jp. A map of the site can be seen here.

Concerts Under the Beech Trees

Also located at the TAIYO HIROBA are weekly free concerts. Two 30 minute concerts are held under the majestic beech trees at the lakeside. The concerts start at 15:00 and 16:00. For more details in English email: webmaster@towada.co.jp.

Horse Back Riding

There are different routes to choose from:
The first course is even okay for beginners and intermediate riders. Starting at Katcho Keikoku (the sprawling rose garden, which if you have never been to you should also check out) and going to the Utarobe camp grounds, is a 60 minute ride or a 90 minute ride. All equipment is provided. They ask that you do not wear sandals or high heels, sneakers are OK. There will be a part of the ride where you will be riding on the water as well.
Another course, only available for expert riders, is a 2 hour course that starts in the Oirase gorge at Ishikeido and goes to the lake. This course is available only from 8 to 10 a.m.
All riding tours must be booked in advanced. For more information in English call the Towada Riding Club at 0176-26-2945 and ask for Ms. Ono or Amy. Riding and lessons are also available at the club in Towada City.