Towada Hachimantai National Park (E)

North of Towada Hachimantai National Park lies Sukayu-Onsen which we reached by bus. In this historic Ryokan we spent two nights. After enjoing the Onsen we hiked to Ō-Dake (1584m), the highest mountain of the northern Hakkōda Mountains. The Marshland went nicely with the foggy weather, altough we could have done well without the fog at summit.

Further south of the national park the caldera lake Towada demands for a visit. The lake can be reached by a 15km trail along the Oirase river. We enjoyed both campsites at lake Towada (Utarube, Oide) which we found quite luxuriant before we fled from bad weather to the seaside of Hachinohe.

Iwaki-San (E)

From Hirosaki we decided to hike Mt. Iwaki-San. To get there we took the bus to Hyakuzawa Onsen, where the Shintō-shrine Iwaki-San is located. A little uphill, we put up camp in a large cherry-tree park with nice facilities. There I found my favourite car so far, typically for Japan they are much smaller than in Switzerland. Even the ATVs remind a little of toy cars. A pity I’m not driving…

The next morning was foggy when we set off to climb Iwaki-San at 1625 m. After 4 h of ascent in the mist we reached summit pretty much soaked where the view remained obstructed in white.
We decided to skip most of the descent with a bus-ride, driving down the 69 turns of the Tsugaru Iwaki Skyline road. After taking a much required bath at Dake-Onsen we returned back to Aomori by bus.

Hirosaki (E)

In Hirosaki our friend Cédi joined us on July 17th, travelling with us for 2 weeks through Tohokū region. In Hirosaki we luckily stayed at Ishiba Ryokan. The first evening the owner, Sochiro, took us to a restaurant. Just a hand full of seats, everyone sitting at the bar and smoking, no menu card and all japanese guys of course. We had tasty sashimi, eel, clams, octopus and ramen. This was already awesome – then a friend of the ryokan owner, Eiji, joined us! What a coincidence that he spoke german, and even lived in Basel for almost a year. The evening was a blast, awesome food, drinks (Sake of course), chats and laughter. The next morning we visited Hirosaki castle and the surrounding park. In the afternoon we met with Eiji to visit the temple where he learned german initially. From there we continued to the Neputa museum. Neputa is a summer festival, in some ways similiar to Fasnacht in Switzerland, where huge lanterns are pulled through the city. There are drums and flutes as well. In the museum we listened to a short Shamisen concert, before we enjoyed dinner.

Hakodate (E)

Our last visit in Hokkaido is Hakodate. A city in the very south of Hokkaido with a ferry connection to Aomori. We stayed in Hakodate for 3 days and visited the star-shaped fortress Goryōkaku, the morning market and enjoyed the great view from Hakodate-Yama by night. The latter was 3-star rated by “Michelin Green Guide Japan” and belongs apperently to the greatest night views of japan. (These rankings are very popular in japan)