Osorezan ("Mt. Fear")

 Osorezan is known for being one of the Three Great Sacred Mountains of Japan, along with Mt. Hiei and Mt. Koya.  It is a place of stunning natural landscapes and deep religious history.  Tradition holds that the temple at Osorezan was founded in the year 862, and even before that local residents were visiting its theraputic hotsprings.

Within the complex you can find temples, holy jizo statues, natural sulfur vents, and the beautiful but highly acidic cauldera lake, Usoriko, ringed by eight surrounding mountain peaks.  Plastic windmills spin in the wind while the smell of sulfur rising from between jagged rocks give contrasting images of both heaven and hell.

Worshippers visit Osorezan throughout the year as the last stop of the thirty-three sacred places on the pilgrimage to Tanabu.  Their goal is the Jizo-den Hall, where a two-meter tall jizo statue is enshrined. According to legand, this jizo walks the grounds of Osorezan at night, helping lost spirits find peace.

Osorezan’s summer festival (July 20-24) is a popular time to visit.  The highlight of the festival is the "itako-no-kuchiyose," in which itako, the traditional spirit mediums of Osorezan, help visitors to speak to the spirits of departed loved ones. 

Osorezan is open for visitors from May 1st to October 31st.  Admission is ¥500 for adults (¥200 for children) and includes access to the hot spring bath (please bring your own towel.)  Overnight accomodation at the temple pilgrims`lodging is also available for ¥12,000 per person, including dinner and breakfast. 

  Hours
  • Open from 6am to 6pm (Closed from Novemeber to April)
  Festivals
  • Summer Taisai Festival:July 20th-24th
  • Fall Festival: Mid to late October
  Getting there
  • 30 min by car from JR Ominato station. 43 min by direct bus from Shimokita Station.
  Inquiries
  • Osore-zan Tourist Office: 0175-22-3825
  • Staying in the Temple: 0175-22-3826 (Japanese only)

 

Night Butterfly and Mt. Kamafuse Observatory

One of the specially selected "One Hundred Night Views of Japan," the view of Mutsu City’s lights from the Mt. Kamafuse Observatory resembles an elegant swallowtail butterfly.  This romantic view is a signature of the Honshu`s northnmost area and the Shimokita National Park.

During the day, observe the unique topography of the Shimokita Peninsula from the observatory, or climb for an extra 10 minuntes or so to see the view from the top of the mountain at 879m.   

Hours

Mt. Kamafuse Observatory is open from May 1st (or later, depending on the amount of snow) to November 3rd from 8:30am to 9:30pm. The path to the top of the mountain is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Please note that in the event of strong winds or other dangerous weather patterns, the observatory may close.

Getting there
  • Follow Route 4 towards Mt. Osore and turn off left onto the Kamafuse Panorama Road.
  • On the way to the Kamafuse Observatory you can also enjoy the views from the Osorezan Observatory, and the Mutsu Bay Observatory, open 24 hours a day. 

 

Kawauchi River Valley Promenade Hiking Course

The Kawauchi River Promenade is a 4.4km (2.7 miles) beginner-level hike that follows alongside the Kawauchi River, offering beautiful and peaceful natural scenery and as well as opportunity to observe local plants, birds such as Stellar`s Sea Eagles and kingfishers, and other wildlife.

The trail begins near the Seseragi-so Nursing Home, and ends at the Fureai Hot Spring.  The hike is partucularly reccomended in spring, when the new folliage is a rich green, and in fall, when the autumn leaves are at their peak. During these times, the reflection of the leaves in the river is especially beautiful.

Near the middle of the course is the Otaki Waterfall, where you can also find a small park and rest area. Other course highlights are the rocky walls of the river gorge, the waterfall observation platform, and three kinds of bridges: arched, swinging, and the unique Yatsubashi, which crosses a marshy area full of ferns and greenery.

Before your hike, also consider visiting the nearby Mutsu Ceramic Arts Center, where you can experience making your own traditional pottery.  After your hike, reward yourself with a refreshing dip in the Fureai Hotspring.

An illustrated map and approximate course walking times (in Japanese) is available here.

*Please note: Due to damage after heavy rain, the section of the Promenade from Haridashi Walkway (Overhanging Walkway) to Fukujyu Lane is currently closed.  Please plan to loop your hike and return to Seseragi-so, or else cross the river at the Otaki Waterfall rest area and walk along the road to reach Fureai Hotspring.

Getting there

Take a bus from Ominato Station (40 minutes) and get off at the "Kawauchi Machi" (川内町)bus stop.  Change to the Shatai-Kougyou (車体工業) bus, bound for Yunokawa (湯野川). Get off at the Sasaragi-so Nursing Home (ササラギ壮)and walk 5 minutes to the trailhead. There is also a bus stop at Otaki Waterfall (大滝).  Please confirm all bus times before departing for your hike.  

Parking is available near the trailhead, at Otaki Waterfall, and at the trail end near Fureai Onsen.  Restroom facilites are available at Otaki Waterfall.

Hours

The trail is open during daylight hours from early April until mid-November.

 

  For Inquires (in Japanese only)
  • Sightseeing Division: 0175-22-1111(ext: 2645 or 2647)
  • Kawauchi Branch Office: 0175-42-2111

 

Yagen Hot Spring and Promenade

10 km up the Ohata river from the Tsugaru Strait and within the Shimokita Peninsula National Park lays Yagen Hot Spring, and another 2km upriver is the Okuyagen Hot Spring. 

Surrounded by a forest of beech and cedar trees the Yagen hot spring area is a great place to watch and enjoy the changing of the seasons. 

The are hotels and traditional Japanese style inns at Yagen Hot Spring area, while Okuyagen has a gender separated outdoor hot spring called “Meoto-kappa-no-yu” (open from 8:30am to 6pm in the summer with shorter hours in the winter, and closed Tuesdays from January through March. It costs 200 yen per person.) and a restaurant. 

There is a trail alongside the river from Yagen to Okuyagen. Sometimes you can see wild Japanese serow here. 

“Kokusetsu Yagen Yaeijo” Campground

There is a 7.2hectare Camping Area at Yagen including restrooms with running water, cooking area, fire circle, and coin laundry services. 

 

  For Inquries:
  • Sightseeing Division: 0175-22-1111(ext: 2645 or 2647)
  • Ohata Branch Office:0175-34-2111