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This Summer, Take an Economical Bus to Visit Tohoku's Recommended Waterside Tourist Spots!

Summer has finally arrived, but at Tohoku's watersides, even summer is cool. Adding to its appeal, visitors can fully enjoy the bounties of nature here! This article will introduce spots around the Tohoku region that are recommended in the summer. Coming from Tokyo, it's convenient and economical to use the JR EAST PASS, which can now be used on buses, too!

* Information on how to use convenient and economical buses to visit these tourist attractions is in the latter part of this article, so be sure to read it to the end.

Enjoy summer in Tohoku to the full! (Image: Oirase Gorge)
Enjoy summer in Tohoku to the full! (Image: Oirase Gorge)

Introducing Tohoku's Waterside Tourist Spots!

1) Ryusendo Cave

Ryusendo is one of the three largest limestone caves in Japan. Dwelling inside this national monument are bats that have been designated as a protected species. Many parts of the cave are still being studied. The overall length of the known parts is 3,600 meters, 700 meters of which are open to the public.

From the ceiling of this cave system hang white stalactites, and the underground lakes are among the world's most transparent. When they are illuminated, this fantastic attraction is a Tohoku tour highlight to be enjoyed to your heart's content!

Enter the cavern to encounter another world of coolness.
Enter the cavern to encounter another world of coolness.

The temperature inside the cave is approximately 10 degrees Celsius year-round.
Since it's so cool, even in midsummer, it's recommended that visitors bring jackets. Your feet may also get wet, so it's advisable to wear shoes that are easy to walk in.

A stunningly beautiful subterranean lake
A stunningly beautiful subterranean lake

The hue of the underground lakes is so beautiful that it's called, "Dragon Blue".

*Throwing coins into the lakes is prohibited.

The Moon Palace
The Moon Palace

This cave system features a place called, "The Moon Palace". The illumination of 5 LED lights creates a magical mood here!

Be sure to check out the souvenirs made with the delicious water of Ryusendo!

The rest house adjacent to this cave sells souvenirs from Ryusendo and the famous products of Iwate. Brewed with Ryusendo's high-quality water, the delicious canned coffee and local beer are popular!

OPEN

Basic information on Ryusendo Cave

Address
1-1 Kannari, Iwaizumi, Iwaizumi-cho, Shimohei-gun, Iwate-ken[MAP]
TEL
0194-22-2566
Business Hours
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
* From May to September: 8:30 am -6:00 pm
Closed
Open every day
Admission
Adults (High School Students and over) ¥1000,
Children (Elementary/Junior High Students) ¥500
Access from Tokyo
1) Go by Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Morioka Station (it takes about 2 hours, 10 minutes)
2) Take the JR Bus Tohoku from the East Gate of Morioka Station to Ryusendo (it takes about 2 hours, 15 minutes)
WEB
URL(English)

* From June 1, 2018, JR EAST PASS holders are able to ride scheduled bus routes (JR Bus Tohoku) without paying any extra fares.

2) Oirase Gorge

Boasting beautifully clear streams, bountiful woods and dozens of waterfalls, Oirase Gorge is teeming with nature to enjoy! Take the paths and roads snaking along the gorge for an easy walk or drive of 14 km from Towadako/Nenokuchi to Yakeyama.

In a tunnel of trees lining the road along beautifully pristine streams, you can leave the heat of summer behind.

Ashura Stream is a picturesque place
Ashura Stream is a picturesque place

The most beautiful place in Oirase Gorge is Ashura Stream, where the water flows most powerfully. It's a must-see spot!

You might even meet a wild goat!
You might even meet a wild goat!

If you're lucky, you may be able to observe beautiful wild birds or goats!
If you come across a wild goat, be quiet and still. That way, you can watch it for a long period of time.

Enjoy Oirase Gorge Even After Your Walk!

In the areas surrounding Oirase Gorge, there are restaurants where you can sample local beer made from the river source. Also popular are the shops selling small items designed with a motif of the moss that grows wild along Oirase Gorge!

Oirase's delicious microbrews are highly rated!
Oirase's delicious microbrews are highly rated!

Aomori Prefecture's Tourist Information Website(Japanese)

Towadako National Park Association(Japanese)

OPEN

Basic information on Oirase Gorge

Address
Oirase, Towada-shi, Aomori-ken[MAP]
TEL
0176-75-2425 (Towadako National Park Association)
Access from Tokyo
1)Go by Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Hachinohe Station (it takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes)
2)Take the JR Bus Tohoku from Bus Stop #1 at the West Gate of Hachinohe Station to Yakeyama (it takes about 1 hour, 30 minutes)

* From June 1, 2018, JR EAST PASS holders are able to ride scheduled bus routes (JR Bus Tohoku) without paying any extra fares.

Use the JR EAST PASS to Save Money!

In this article, I have introduced 2 recommended waterside tourist spots in Tohoku. Both boast the breathtaking bounty of nature, and either one is sure to refresh you.

To go to either of the places I mentioned, if you simply use the JR EAST PASS to travel round-trip from Tokyo, the total price will add up to just about half the usual cost! Why not take advantage of your JR EAST PASS to visit more places and enjoy your trip to Japan more economically? Now is the time to plan your travel itinerary!

Inside Cars on the Tohoku Shinkansen, Free Wi-Fi Service Has Finally Started!

Here's some good news for people planning to go sightseeing around Tohoku! The free Wi-Fi service that has been offered at stations, JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi, can now be used inside some Tohoku Shinkansen train cars, too. The cars where Wi-Fi service is available are indicated by a JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi sticker inside, so be sure to look for it!

JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi

Details of the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area)

OPEN
Period of Use
Usable year-round
Period of Validity
Any 5 days out of the 14-day period after the date of issue (flexible 5-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to the pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and the date of purchase for passes purchased in Japan.
Prices
Sales outside Japan: ¥19,000 for an adult (12 and older) and ¥9,500 for a child (6-11). Sales in Japan: ¥20,000 for an adult and ¥10,000 for a child.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on ordinary cars of limited express (including Shinkansen), express, and local trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company. In addition, it may be used on scheduled bus routes on JR Bus Tohoku and JR Bus Kanto within the JR Bus Free Area (excluding highway express buses and some scheduled bus routes).
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR EAST PASS is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status who plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passports must be presented at time of purchase for confirmation purposes.
Purchase Methods
① Within Japan: Purchase at locations where the JR EAST PASS is available.
② Outside of Japan: Purchase an exchange order (e-ticket) from a travel agent, travel company or through the JR EAST website. Then, upon arrival in Japan, trade in the exchange order for your JR EAST PASS at any of the exchange locations.
WEB
URL(English)