The spectacular snow-covered landscape of Lake Towada can be only experienced in the winter. There is more than only walking and skiing. To enjoy the winter in Lake Towada, we suggest you to make an overnight trip. Let us introduce the amazing snow trekking experience in the western shore of Lake Towada, the “Lake Towada Winter Story” festival with gorgeous fireworks and igloo bars, and inns where you can enjoy the fireside grills (robata-yaki) and onsen.
When to visit Lake Towada in the snow
Located in the northern top of Akita, the amount of snow reaches more than 2 meters. Snow fall starts in November, starting to pile up in December, and creates a full-white landscape during February to March, melting in April. Local guides recommend you to visit the region in the early March, where you can see plenty of snow and avoid the risk of snow avalanches.
The color of the lake, often called Towada blue, shows its unique color in winter too. Sometimes shining like amber lit by the sunlight, sometimes dark as lead in cloudy days, and sometimes showing silver glitters with the floating ice, the lake surrounded by pure white snow reflects one’s mind like a huge mirror. You might try to find your own color in the reflection of the waves and lights.
A secret walk in winter
The snow trekking experience on the vast land makes you feel like a free bird flying in the sky. Without much preparation, you can visit Lake Towada and get local guides and rent equipments for your adventure.
The snow paints everything white, and the snow builds a new road on the land. You can walk the roadless roads by following your heart and enjoy the lake view from any of your favorite points. Your footprint becomes a painting on the snowy canvas spreading across the forest.
You can park your car by the “Bell of trees (juon-no-kane) “and get ready with the pole, boots, and snow shoes that you rented. Adjust the height of your pole to your armpit. Winter in Lake Towada could get as cold as minus 10 celsius, so don’t forget to bring your hat and gloves. we recommend you to get a local guide for your safety.
As you start walking, you hear the joyous sound of your shoes stamping into the snow. Various sceneries are hidden inside the snowy landscape that covers your eyesight. A free walk on the vast snow fields like a flying bird is fun enough. Our local guides have some tips for you to enjoy the snow trekking more.
First, try to find the art pieces created by the snow and the lake. You can find the icicles lining up like a harp, the detailed pattern of snow and ice on the lake surface, the silent ring of water made by the snow falling from the trees, all these sceneries grasp one’s eyes like vulnerable sculptures.
As you look up, you will find the dances of the tree branches with white dresses, making the differences of tree types clearer than usual. Sometimes calm, sometimes hearty, sometimes challenging, you might find the hidden character of each plants.
When you look more carefully, there are plants that are left from the previous seasons, such as pine cones still sticking to the branches, and the cherry blossom buds waiting for spring. You might collect pictures of the remnants of fall and signs of spring.
The weight of the snow wears you out more than you think. 1-2 hours would be a perfect length for an ideal trekking.
Local guide arrangements:
Towada-Hachimantai Tourist Association
TEL: +81 186-23-2019
※reservations should be made 1 weeks ahead
Towada Visitor Center
WEB: http://www.env.go.jp/park/towada /guide/towadavc/index.html
TEL: +81 176-75-1015
MAP: https: //goo.gl/maps/vrc7WxHG8eF4XWeH6
Near “Bell of trees (juon-no-kane)”
MAP: https: //goo.gl/maps/JxtDwjLNvbTUqUa69
Enjoy the biggest winter festival in northeastern Japan
After contemplating in the snowy nature of Lake Towada, you should enjoy the biggest winter festival in northeastern Japan. “Lake Towada Winter Story” is held every February for about a month, where you can enjoy the igloo bars, snow sledges, banana boat snow rides, local street foods, and winter fireworks.
The scenery of people gathering to the illuminated snow stage looks like a scene from a fairy-tale. The winter festival prepares contents that anyone young and old can enjoy.
People’s favorite is the igloo bar, which is handmade by the locals every year. Inside the igloo, everything is made of snow and ice from the counter to the glasses. The cocktails poured into the ice glasses show an amazing color lit by the illumination that makes your body forget the cold.
The fireworks fired every night spreads its vivid color allover the silver night, which might become an unforgettable memory for you.
Getting warm with fireside grill and hot spring
After a long day, a delicious fire grill and a nice hot spring will give you comfort. “Yama-no-Ofurumai Towadako Shinzantei” is an inn located near the Towada Visitor Center, and with their free shuttle bus to the winter festival, it is an ideal place to stay to enjoy the winter in Lake Towada. The nostalgic modern-Japanese style interior makes you feel comfy.
For dinner, they offer fresh seafood from various regions on a fire grill. For an ideal taste, they use a special coal they purchase from Kunohe region in Iwate, making a 2-hours drive to get.
For this day, they had a fleshy scallop shellfish with a juice that makes you hungry. They also offer a local brand pork “Momo-buta”. It’s soft meat comes from the rice they are fed. With an SPF certification, the safety of pork meat is unquestionable.
After making your belly full, it’s time to enjoy the hot spring. The water with a neutral sodium quality makes your body relaxed. By looking out to the snow from the window, you might look back at the long day you experienced.
There is another inn where you can enjoy the hot spring. At “Towadako Yugetsu”, you can enjoy an open-air bath while looking to the snow view.
Without enjoying the snow and the cold, there is no meaning for visiting the northeastern Japan in winter. In your travel to the snow-covered western shore of Lake Towada, you might find a nice dialogue between you and the snow view.
Nature experience, winter festival, food and hot springs. With these winter entertainments, we want you to find the beauty in the cold winter in Lake Towada.