From Aomori, we took a short trip up to Oirase Gorge through Hakkoda, which is known for excellent powder skiing. Although our feet were still a bit sore from hopping in the straw sandals last night at the Nebuta Matsuri we started down the Oirase River trail, a 9 mile hike – I recommend skipping the first 4 miles. The trail follows the scenic Oirase River through a virgin forest where you encounter numerous waterfalls along the gorge. Its suppose to be amazing during Autumn foliage though crowded.
One unpleasant aspect is that a road runs parallel to the river. Its good for sightseers who want to drive or bike, but for hikers is makes the experience less pleasant. The area was hit with a significant earthquake a month ago and the road that runs parallel to the stream had been closed till a few days ago. Many sightseers had canceled their hotel reservations, so the hike was pleasantly quite and lonely.
In Japanese fashion, a dam is used to control the water level in the river at Lake Towa, which feeds the river. They turn down the volume at night and increase the volume of water during the day for sightseers.