十和田湖 | Lake Towada
十和田湖 | Lake Towada

十和田湖 | Lake Towada


Lake Towada, also known as “Mysterious Lake,” straddles Aomori and Akita Prefectures. It is a typical double caldera lake with a mortar-shaped depression filled with water, created by volcanic activity approximately 2,000 years ago. It is the third largest lake in Japan with a maximum depth of 326.8 meters, and the 12th largest in terms of area. The best time to view the lake is from May to June for the fresh green leaves and from mid to late October for the autumn leaves, which begin to change color in early October. Lake Towada in winter is also a fantastic sightseeing spot where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the scenery in each of the four seasons.

十和田湖の景色はこちらの動画をご覧ください。| Watch the Movie

十和田湖の成り立ち | The Origin of Lake Towada





Lake Towada is a typical double caldera lake formed by volcanic activity, and is surrounded by 600~1,000m high outer ring of mountains including Mt.

Towada Volcano began 200,000 to 150,000 years ago, and at first it spewed lava and volcanic ash that was relatively soft and easy to flow, but it gradually became more active, especially during the two or three massive eruptions that occurred between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago, when pyroclastic flows spread over the surrounding mountains. It was widely distributed in Hachinohe, southern Tsugaru, and other areas. The repeated release of enormous pyroclastic flows caused the Towada volcanic body to cave in, forming the original shape of Lake Towada, a nearly square-shaped reservoir of water.

Around 12,000 to 11,000 years ago, volcanic activity resumed in the southern half of Lake Towada and a new volcano was born. 8,500 years ago (Early Jomon Period), a major eruption occurred that blew away the middle of the volcanic body and the surrounding Nakayama and Mikura Peninsulas, which were left behind. A hollow was formed, giving birth to “Lake Nakako,” which is 327 meters deep at its deepest point.

Around 2,000 years ago (mid-Yayoi period) and again in 915 (Heian period), large-scale eruptions occurred on the Mikura Peninsula, showering pumice and volcanic ash mainly on the eastern area. In particular, the 915 eruption produced pyroclastic flows that caused massive mudslides in the Yoneshiro River basin in Akita Prefecture, burying many dwellings. (e.g., the Gurumikan site in Kita-Akita City.) Immediately after this eruption, the lava dome that rose up from the crater produced the dome-shaped Mount Mikura, which became the present-day Lake Towada.

敢湖台・御鼻部山展望台 | Kanko-dai and Mt. Ohanabe Observatory

敢湖台 | Kanko-dai 


Kankodai is located on top of a 583-meter-high cliff facing Lake Towada’s deepest lake, NakanoUmi, with the Ogura Peninsula on the right and the Nakayama Peninsula on the left, and a sightseeing boat passing by on the lake below.

御鼻部山展望台 | Mt. Ohanabe Observatory


The Ogura Peninsula and Nakayama Peninsula protrude out in front of the observatory as if embracing the lake, and a panoramic view of spacious Lake Towada can be seen. On fine days, the view of Mt. Iwate and the Hachimantai Mountains can be seen in the distance.

紫明亭展望台 | Shimeitei Observatory




The observatory is located on Prefectural Route 2 (commonly known as “Jukai Line”) from the Kosaka IC of the Tohoku Expressway, on the way toward Towadako, just before the road merges with National Route 103.

It is 630 meters above sea level, and is said to be a “power spot” because of its view of the Towada Caldera, Mt.

The view from here was once selected as one of the “Eight Views of Japan,” and a monument commemorating the fact that Lake Towada was ranked first has been erected, allowing visitors to enjoy the changing colors of Lake Towada, with fresh greenery in spring and autumn leaves in fall.

休屋および周辺 | Yasumiya and surroundings


Yasumiya is the center of sightseeing in Lake Towada, and is the arrival and departure point for buses heading to Aomori City, Hachinohe City, Hirosaki City, and Kazuno Town. It is the busiest place by the lake, with souvenir stores, restaurants, hotels, and guest houses.

乙女の像 と 十和田神社 | Maiden of Statue and Towada Shrine



Along the lakeside promenade you will find the “Maiden of Statue” by Kotaro Takamura and the Towada Shrine, which once flourished as a place for ascetic practices by ascetic practitioners, where you can enjoy the scenery of the lake and nature observation.

The sandy beach near the statue of the maiden is called “Gozen-ga-hama,” and the island just in front of it is called “Ebisu-Daikokujima.



神田川と両国橋 | Kanda River and Ryogoku Bridge


A small river called “Kanda River” flows to the south of the “Yasumiya”, which is the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures, and there is a bridge called “Ryogoku Bridge” near the mouth of the river.

The name of this place is said to have come to mean “Yasumiya” in the Meiji era (1868-1912), as this was once a place where ascetic practitioners who came to Towada Shrine for ascetic training rested during their pilgrimage.

神秘の湖「十和田湖」位置情報 | Mysterious Lake “Lake Towada” Location Information