Goshogake onsen and Hachimantai 後生掛温泉、八幡平

autumn color at Hachimantai

Day 45

A grey start to the day but not so cold and no frost though the stars were visible in the night. We breakfast on coffee and toast and apples prepared in the office basement of Goshogake campsite and are enjoying this in the dining room when people start arriving for an event starting at 9. They are apologetic when we leave but breakfast is over anyway. The Akita apples ’Kita Kurenai’ are very good.

We walk around the pond ‘Onuma’ which is part of the campsite. The usual raised wooden walkway carries you over the swamp and it is all very pretty but no sign of life, except the odd photographer.

Onuma in autumn colour

Onuma

Goshogake onsen 後生掛温泉

After the lake, we drive a short distance to a Goshogake onsen jikoku (hell) with its little mud volcanoes. This proves to be an extensive and very active volcanic area with its numerous small, volcanic mouths blurting out grey mud and others bubbling hot, acidic water. Not so active, but strangely beautiful, is a large pool of greenish grey water that we walk around. The origin of all this stark and dangerous beauty is, apparently, a volcanic mouth gently burping thick, black mud. A weird and wonderful place that is well worth a visit as the steady stream of people testified and the onsen hotel by the car park seemed busy.

mud volcano at Goshogake

mud volcano at Goshogake

mud volcano at Goshogake

mud volcano at Goshogake

Hachimantai

On the way to Kakunodate, a samurai town famous for cherry blossom, we drive the Aspete Line. This is the road we should have taken the night before but was closed; necessitating our 2 hour drive around the mountain. From this road up Hachimantai, magnificent views of the surrounding mountains spread out around us and there are traces of snow in the more sheltered spots.

a little snowman at Hachimantai

a little snowman at Hachimantai

From Hachimantai, we make for Kakunodate through mile after mile of beech woods in stunning autumn colours. The woods are beautiful but not sustaining and we are very hungry when we finally find a convenience store at the bottom of the mountains. We buy onigiri and fried chicken and drive to nearby Lake Tazawa to eat. Unfortunately the food is pretty bad.

autumn colour near Tamagawa spa.

autumn colour near Tamagawa spa

Kakunodate does not live up to expectations either and is of little interest as far as I am concern – some nice trees.

Kakunodate

Kakunodate

We leave, and drive on good roads through the mountains, literally as there are tunnels, and around sweeping bends. We arrive at the michi-no-eki ‘Shizukuishi Anekko on route 46 in Iwate pre. via the local supermarket, it is large with an huge onsen. Dinner is bread and cheese in the car plus significant amounts of wine.

*Shizukuishi anekko ‘Hashiba no yu’  hot spring       510yen/per.

 

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