Lake Towada was created by a series of volcanic eruptions that first started over 200,000 years ago. Today it is the largest crater lake on Japan’s main island of Honshū. It is part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, and is on the border of Aomori and Akita Prefectures.

The lake is a popular destination for activities like fishing, camping and hiking. There is also a sightseeing boat, and observatories and lookouts. Local dishes include Kokanee salmon (prepared in various ways) and apple pie (using Aomori apples, of course).

Oirase River flows from the lake through Oirase Gorge to the east. You’ll find a number of hotels, hostels and camping grounds on the southern and western shores of the lake, as well as Towada Shrine. The Towada Visitor Center is in the same area and has information (mostly in Japanese) about local wildlife, and suggested hiking routes. There are even some fun, hands-on activities and displays that kids will enjoy.

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Lake Towada is accessible by road from all directions, except for the winter months when some roads are closed. There is also a JR East transit bus that departs from Aomori City. However, departures are infrequent and services stop altogether during winter.