High in the mountains of the Mt. Hachimantai area
Mt. Hachimantai is a mountainous area that makes up the southern part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, equally split between Akita and Iwate Prefectures.
The observatory deck at the highest peak, which is 1,614m above sea level, here was rebuilt in 2014, and provides a scenic view at the emerald-green Hachiman-numa marsh.
The heavy snowfall makes Hachimantai Resort ? a ski resort located on the Iwate side ? a paradise for seasoned skiers during winter. After a day of intensive skiing, you can recover at one of the natural hot springs located nearby.
Hachimantai Resort's ski lifts
Snow-walls along the Hachimantai Aspite Line is spring
The snow here piles up so much that during spring, a snow-wall is formed along the Hachimantai Aspite Line sightseeing road that connects Iwate Prefecture to Akita Prefecture.
Especially famous is the “Inai no ipponzakura” cherry tree in Hachimantai City, Iwate Prefecture. The mesmerizing contrast it creates with the white-peaked mountains in the backdrop when in full blossom, highlights the transition from winter into spring.
The Inai no ipponzakura cherry tree in full blossom
The outdoor bath of Matsukawaso in Matsukawa
The facade of Matsukawaso covered in snow
Located to the south of Mt. Hachimantai, Matsukawa Onsen (also located within Hachimantai City) is one of the best and most authentic hot spring towns you will find anywhere in Japan. Taking a dip in the steaming milky hot spring surrounded by snow is a heavenly experience.
A recommended ryokan here is Matsukawaso, where the delicious food and comfortable rooms are made even greater thanks to the landlady’s warm hospitality and kind smile.
A must visit for strawberry lovers is the Salad Farm, located at the foot of the Mt. Hachimantai area. From late December to mid-June, you can pick (and eat!) as many strawberries as you can here for a fixed price. A must try at the farm shop is the strawberry cream puff, which was 2014’s winning sweet at the Iwate S-1 Sweets Fair.
Strawberry picking at Salada Farm
4h30min from Tokyo via Morioka Staition (JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line) to Hachimantai Station by IGR Iwate Gingatesudo Line.