Akita Prefecture is situated in the northeastern part of the Japanese main island. The western side faces the Sea of Japan and has abundant flowing rivers, flatlands, and expanses of grain growing on fertile farmlands. High mountains surround the northern, southern and eastern sides. The inland areas are blanketed with heavy snowfalls in the winter.
Akita’s attraction is its many varied facets of nature’s beauty. These include, Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan, Lake Towada, known for its mystic beauty, the Oga Peninsula with its beautiful coast line and colorful sunsets, the scenic Hachimantai Plateau, and Mt. Chokai, also known as Dewa (Akita) Fuji.
Are you an avid mountain climber or someone looking for a fun challenge? Looking for a good day climb up a beautiful mountain side? Look no further than Mt. Chokai, also known as the “Fujisan of Tohoku” due to its symmetrical shape when viewed from Akita. Mt. Chokai is a 2,236 meter (7,336 foot) tall mountain located on the boarder of Akita and Yamagata prefectures, right along the Sea of Japan coast.
It has been designated one of the Top 100 Mountains of Japan, Top 100 Landscapes of Japan, and Top 100 Geographical Features of Japan.
While Mt. Chokai is technically climbable year-round, it is completely covered in snow for the majority of the year. However, from August until around the second or third week of October the trails are free of snow. It is during this time that most people venture to the top.
There are nine different trails to get to the top, but the most popular (and easiest) is the Hokodate Trail, which starts in Kisakata, Akita. This is the trail of choice among people climbing a mountain for the first time.
The first half of the trail is mainly stone stairs. Fear not, though, because this changes after the halfway point. The halfway point is marked by a cabin overlooking a beautiful lake.
Lake Tazawa is a crater lake situated near the center of eastern region of Akita Prefecture. It is the deepest lake in Japan, whose depth is of 423.4 meters and shape is almost perfectly circle. The lake exudes a mysterious atmosphere, being filled with sapphire-blue water.
The color changes from jade green to indigo blue, depending on the season and the depth of light that penetrates the water. It is a sure attraction for visitors at any time of the year.
Take a scenic bus trip around the lake and enjoy views from different spots. On the western shore, there is a golden statue of Tatsuko, a legendary princess who was transformed into a dragon, for she wished for the eternal beauty.
On the northern shore, there is Goza-no-ishi Shrine, known for the strikingly beautiful red gate and the spiritual atmosphere. Take a pleasure boat departing from two locations to see around the lake.
Located in the Tohoku region of Honshu, the area presents beauty throughout the four seasons. There are seven hot spring inns scattered around the western foothills of Mt. Nyuto-zan in Towada Hachimantai National Park, which is known its beautiful Japanese scenery.
Nyuto Onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village spreads over a large area, blessed with natural hot spring waters that flow out from deep underneath the virgin beech forest over the valley.
Kuroyu Onsen is located in a stunning valley, far away from everyday stress but still easy to reach, as it belongs to the Hachimantai National Park, close to Lake Tazawa. Kuroyu is proud of its tradition, which dates back to the Edo period.
As it offers a wide range of hot baths, there is something for everyone; including a mixed gender outdoor bath, which is generally not very common in Japan. Of course there are gender segregated indoor and outdoor baths as well, and every bath offers a magnificent view.
Tip: During the winter when the snow becomes very deep some facilities will close however, so it is advised to check their website in advance or contact the hot spring centre.
Tsurunoyu Onsen is located at the foot of Mt. Nyutoyama and is the oldest of the 8 inns in the Nyuto Onsen area. There are four kinds of sources of spring fountain in Tsurunoyu, which are called Shirao, Kuroyu, Mido no yu, Waterfall no yu respectively.
It is said that it was the origin of the name of Tsurunoyu that found local healing of local Matagi in the mountains healing wounds with hot springs.