Winter Adventure in (Frozen) Oirase!

What made me like Japan?  What gave me motivation to studyi harder and harder to get an opportunity to go to Japan?

When I was a child, I used to see a lots tourism program on NHK channel about beauty of Japan’s nature, which is what first created my huge love for the country since before I can even remember.  That is the reason why I was really happy to have the chance to take a day-trip to the amazing Oraise stream. I knew that Oraise stream is a mountain stream in Aomori prefecture and that it is one of the most popular destinations for the viewing the beautiful Autumn leaves. If you come here from the end of October to early November, you will be extremely surprised by the jaw-dropping, beautiful scenery of thousands of leaves changing color: red, yellow, and orange. However, do not feel regret if your schedule does not allow you go here at that time! Oraise stream offers breathtaking views, waiting for you to discover in winter, too! So, let’s get started with my winter story in Oraise stream.

We visited Oraise stream on such a freezing day in Aomori! It may be the first time I’ve ever seen that much of snow. Nonetheless, as long as you can keep your body warm enough, snow just makes everything in your surroundings even more beautiful. Fortunately, we had a private car, so our driver drove carefully along the main path. This way, we could stop wherever we wanted to stop and  take a look around and snap a photo or two. Along our journey, I can remember that we stopped four times at different waterfalls cascading down into the stream from all along the walls of the gorge. Our first stop was a super quick spontaneous decision as we were passing by huge frozen waterfalls right next to the road. What astounding scenery! In front of us was a huge, frozen waterfall; frozen into thousands different shapes made by the frozen water drops. It seems like a wonderful picture – almost unreal. We challenged ourselves by climbing higher and higher to touch the frozen water. In our group, there was one Indonesian member, one Filipino member, one Thai member, one Taiwanese member, and me – a Vietnamese. Even though it was not the first time we saw snow, we were all caught-up in the amazing scenery before us. We took several pictures and videos that we could not stop looking at even after we left for our next stop.

We stopped in a wider area that required us to walk a bit to reach our destination. At that time, it was snowing. Suddenly, my Taiwanese friend started singing a song, though I did not understand what it meant, the song made the atmosphere so romantic and beautiful. We had a wonderful afternoon in Oraise stream that I will never forget for the rest of my entire life.

Lastly, I want to give you guys who read my blog some advice! Don’t forget to wear warm clothes!! I’m talking ski-wear level warm! and also be sure to bring shoes with solid grip due to deep snowfall here in winter.

Whilst we had a private car so it made everything much easier to stop and cross any parts of Oraise stream we like, for those without a car, unfortunately access is a little tricky! The regular buses do not operate between November and Mid-April, due to heavy snow. Your best bet would be to book accommodation in the Lake Towada area with a hotel that offers activities for guests. If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, the ultimate option would be to stay at the Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel! Not only is the hotel amazing enough to warrant an extra nights stay, they also offer guided bus tours and even snow-shoeing tours through the area on a daily basis (limited to staying guests). Check out their winter activities: http://www.oirase-keiryuu.jp/en/ski/   Otherwise, you could try instead to take a boat-ride on nearby Lake Towada. With this option, you can view wonderful views of the surrounding mountains from the water, it takes 50 minutes and costs 1400 JYP/ one way.

I hope that through what I shared above, you can put one more beautiful and easy-access destination on your travel wish list when you come to Japan in winter.

 

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