The Aomori/Iwate Daytrips

This trip would not have had happened without the Japan East Rail Welcome Pass 2020, which was offered to non-Japanese passport holders. Without the pass, just the trains would probably have cost me JPY50,000+. Hence, first order of business was to go the furthest place covered by the pass - Aomori. 

*The first part of the post is the narrative, the picture narrative is at the end of the post

Budget Summary : JPY31,796 (~USD302)
  • JPY18,859. October 17, Osorezan
  • JPY7,307. October 18, Hachimantai
  • JPY5,630. October 19, Hakkoda
Saturday, October 17, 2020 - Osorezan
Budget: JPY18,859 (~USD179)
  • JPY12,000. JR East Welcome Pass 2020.
  • JPY1,620. Bus, Shimokita Station to Osorezan (JPY810 one way)
  • JPY500. Entrance fee, Osorezan.
  • JPY1,889. Accommodations, Smile Hotel Aomori. 
  • JPY1,300. Uni (sea urchin) lunch box.
  • JPY250. Anpan (butter red bean sandwich)
  • JPY1,300. Dinner, Curry Milk Butter Ramen with extra meat. 
  • 06:14am. Arrived at Tokyo Station. Tokyo Station is huge, so an allowance of at least 15 minutes is definitely needed. There are signs for the bullet train schedule and platform that don't change every second, so it's easy to confirm the platform to go to. In my case, my stop was at platform 20. I simply put in the JR Welcome Pass at the turnstile, it punched a hole on it, and by 6:26am I was seated. All cars are reserved, so seat reservation is needed. Train splits at Morioka. Cars 1 to 10 goes to Aomori/Hakodate, cars 11 to 17 goes to Akita.
  • 06:32am. Bullet train, Tokyo to Morioka Station. The train has wifi and a plug, so I made full use of those. 
  • 08:45am. Arrived Morioka Station. I went down the escalator, North Gate. Upon exiting, my bus is the "East Bus". So I turned right, and about 5 meters on the side is a little escalator down. At the end is a door to the left (no other door), exited, went straight til I was out of the building. Immediately to the left is the line at bus stop 3. That's the bus going to the mountain. The entire area is called Hachimantai, and the old lady I chatted with said to make sure I ask for "Hachimantai Choujou". Tickets are to be bought at their office right across the street, so I put my bag down to save my spot in the line and ran to the other side to buy my tickets. Only to be told that the buses are not running that day. They decide on the day of at 8:30am, so there's no way to know in advance. Call 0195783500 if you wanna know around that time, the girl on the counter said. As I was out of options, I decided to reshuffle my itinerary and head first to Osorezan. So I went to the ticket office which close to the North Gate, and got the seat reservations. I simply showed my JR East Welcome Pass and requested the trains I wanted to take, and he printed the tickets for me where in the price section it was just **** signifying that it's free. 
  • 09:48am. Morioka Station to Hachinohe Station.
  • 10:24am. Arrived at Hachinohe Station. I got up the stairs, exited, turned right, passed by some local sellers for about 2 minutes, and soon to my right was the entrance to Aoimori Line (not Aomori). The JR East Pass worked here too. I went to platform 5 and waited for my train.
  • 10:54am. Train, Hachinohe Station to Shimokita Station. I got on the Special Resort Rapid train, which is 100% reserved seating (I was kicked out of my seat that's how I know I needed reservation). I went to the counter to ask where I can buy the tickets but was directed down to back the platform. So I just showed my ticket to the guy inside the train, and he said just take any seat. In hindsight, if you don't have the ticket you can just buy it inside the train. 
  • 12:35pm. Arrived at Shimokita Station. Upon exiting the train, a train employee collects the tickets. I showed him my JR East Welcome Pass, then asked for the bus to Osorezan. Exited and turned left. Bus stop is a bit past the tourist information center. There are two bus stops, the bus stop for Osorezan is the one closer to the taxi stop (bus stop 1).
  • 12:45pm. Bus, Shimokita Station to Osoresan.  Cash only, so I took the ticket upon entry. The bus went all over the city first for about 20 minutes, then finally headed to Osorezan.
  • 01:12pm. The bus stopped at 冷水, where some passengers got off and took some water, then returned to the bus. 
  • 01:23pm. Arrived at Osorezan Bus Stop. Bus stopped outside the main gate, which is right across the lake. It is very picturesque, with the area nestled amongst the mountains and the flowering water and slow waves from the lake making it a surreal location. I walked around the route, starting with the main shrine and doing the loop counterclockwise. It can be done in about 30 minutes I think. I wish there were some explanations on the spots in the area (e.g. piles of rocks, offerings on piles of rocks, pinwheels all over), as most of them were done for a reason. I had plenty of extra time, so I even went to the free onsen and soaked my feet for a while. 
  • 03:00pm. Bus, Osorezan to Shimokita Station. Took the ticket upon entry, and fell asleep til we were almost back at the station. 
  • 04:03pm. Train, Shimokita Station to Aomori, transferring at Noheji Station. I had to convince the guy at the counter to give me a ticket for free as it is part of my pass, but he said this was Aoimori Line, not JR East. So I opened the JR East Welcome Pass site, opened the map of coverage, and showed him the pass covers trips til Ominato (which is the last train station in Shimokita Peninsula). Once he saw the map, he believed me and gave me the ticket. 
  • 06:01pm. Arrived at Aomori Station! Finally! I walked to my hotel, and it was a long walk. I passed through the shopping street, but everything was closed. :( I had dinner on the way, checked in, and was out for the night!
Sunday, October 18, 2020 -  Hachimantai
Budget: JPY7,307 (~USD70)
  • JPY2,700. Bus, Morioka Station to Hachimantai JPY(1,350 one way)
  • JPY3,718. Dinner, Pyonpyon-sha. 
  • -JPY1,000. Coupon from the hotel in Aomori.
  • JPY1,889. Accommodations, Smile Hotel Aomori. 
  • 07:05am. Started walking from my hotel. 
  • 07:26am. Arrived at Aomori Station, went to platform 3. The train is already there waiting, so I just went in and waited for the train to leave. 
  • 07:34am. Train, Aomori Station to Shin-Aomori Station. 
  • 07:39am. Arrived at Shin-Aomori Station. The transfer was quick, about two minutes?  I had plenty of time to get to my seat. 
  • 07:43am. Bullet train, Shin-Aomori Station to Morioka Station.
  • 08:30am. While at the train, I called the bus company to confirm if the buses are running. They said yes (PS: Their office hours are from 8:30am, so when I called at 7am nobody answered)
  • 09:10am. Arrived at Morioka Station, exited via the North Gate, East Exit. There's a small escalator to the right about 5 meters from the turnstiles. Went down the escalator, and exited (only one door to the left). Kept going straight, there's a little sign at the ceiling pointing to the bus stop. Once I've exited the building, the first stop to my left with a line (bus stop 3) was my bus stop. I put my bag down to save my spot, then ran across the street to the ticket center, and bought my ticket, paid via credit card. They recommended to buy one way, just in case there are some problems with the bus and I would have to take another way down (it requires transfers, but I think there'll be shuttles if the buses can't make it back for the return trip). There is no discount to buying a roundtrip bus, so I just bought one way. The bus came on time as expected, and I got in. If there are more people in the line, another bus will come to get them. There were a total of 3 buses on the day I went.
  • 09:55am. The bus took a ten minute break at Sakura-kouen. Here a guy came in the bus saying that free guides are available for those interested. Soon enough we were back on the road. 
  • 11:14am. Arrived at Hachimantai Choujou. I entered the Resthouse (レストハウス), went up two flights of stairs, turned left at the exit, and crossed the street to the trailhead. 
  • 11:22am. Start of the hike. This place was definitely crowded, and plenty of ladies wearing high heeled boots. Also groups of people blocking the way, as they were having a guided tour. 
  • 11:26am. The first fork. The one to the left will allow a full loop, the one straight is the quickest way back and forth the summit. I turned left. It was a cemented road, and very little elevation change. 
  • 11:42am. Arrived at another fork, turned right to go to the summit. Take note of the Japanese characters: 八幡平頂上
  • 11:44am. Arrived at the summit, which has a huge marker and an observation deck. There's a little marker at the deck. I went up the deck, took some pictures, and continued on my loop.
  • 11:54am. Arrived at the fork, where I had the option to go straight down back to the bus stop, or do a loop. I turned left to do the loop.
  • 11:59am. Arrived at the free mountain hut. I decided to sit on the nearby bench and pass the time. 
  • 12:26pm. Started walking again. This time it's a nice stroll on the marshland, which has turned a nice shade of brown. Soon enough, there was some planks to to the right (two paths), which were not on the map. The actual fork is right next to the lake/pond, so I ignored these. 
  • 12:44pm. Arrived at the fork. I decided to take a little segue to Mt. Gentamori (源太森), so I took the left turn. Otherwise, the right turn will lead straight back to the bus stop. The path to Gentamori is definitely not as well maintained as the main route. There was a section even when there are no planks and the path was not cemented!
  • 12:53pm. Another fork, I followed the sign to Mt. Gentamori to the left, up the stairs. 
  • 12:55pm. Summit! Mt. Gentamori! Way better view than that in the summit of Hachimantai. I took some photos, retraced my steps, and when I got back at the fork, turned left to go back the bus stop. It was just more of the planks, until I got into the cemented walkway. 
  • 01:30pm. Arrived at a major fork called "見返り峠". Kept left. 
  • 01:41pm. Back at the bus stop. I just walked around and tried to kill time. 
  • 02:00pm. Bought the tickets at the counter at the lowest floor. Cash only. I then waited at the bus stop early as there were three buses worth of passengers, and it was on a first come, first served basis. I'd rather play it safe. 
  • 02:25pm. The bus arrived, and was soon full. There were some people still waiting outside, and I could hear the driver shouting from outside asking people to wait and not rush. Another bus came, and everybody was able to board. 
  • 02:45pm. It started raining, and soon enough there was zero visibility. 
  • 02:50pm. The bus left. There was heavy traffic going down, and so the driver decided to skip the rest room break, as some people might be trying to catch the bullet train, he says. 
  • 05:16pm. Back at Morioka Station. We were about 20 minutes late. 
  • 05:18pm. Arrived at Pyonpyon-sha to try Morioka's "reimen", and the restaurant was practically empty. I was soon seated in a big table, separated by transparent boards, with my own little grill in front of me. I ordered an entire platter of meat and half the reimen, and enjoyed my meal.
  • 06:37pm. Bullet train, Morioka Station to Shin-Aomori Station.
  • 07:37pm. Arrived at Shin-Aomori Station.  
  • 07:51pm. Train, Shin-Aomori Station to Aomori Station.
  • 08:10pm. Back at the hotel! Time to rest! 
Monday, October 19, 2020 -  Hakkoda
Budget: JPY5,630 (~USD54)
  • JPY1,120. Bus, Aomori Station to Hakkoda Ropeway.
  • JPY1,250. Ropeway, one way up.
  • JPY1,360. Bus, Sukayu Onsen to Shin-Aomori Station.
  • JPY1,000. Onsen fee, Sukayu Onsen.
  • JPY900. Snacks at Shin-Aomori Station.
  • 07:05am. Checked out of the hotel and started walking towards Aomori Station. 
  • 07:25am. I got in line, and there were about 20 people already there - on a weekday! This bus goes to the famous Lake Towada, but I see people in hiking gear too. For 2020, they will stop letting people in once the bus, though if there are enough "extra" people they'll have a second bus. Basically I had to make sure I get on the first one, or that there is enough people behind me they'll have to send a new one. By 07:35am, there were more than 25 people behind me. Ticket wise, I was told that the JR Welcome Pass is NOT accepted, and tickets are bought inside the office right next to it. They let me in under the premise that I pay cash. (There's a JPY5,000 two-day pass, that allows for unlimited trips between Aomori Station to Towada Lake, which is sold at the ticket office.) Make sure to sit on the driver side to see the shadow of Mt. Iwaki at the viewing spot. The driver went slowly and stopped for about 2 seconds for us to enjoy the view (inside the bus)
  • 08:30am. 10 minute restroom break. I took the time to take pictures of Hakkoda too. 
  • 08:48am. Arrived at the ropeway, with the bus ten minutes late (ETA was 08:39am). I went straight to the counter, where there is already a LONG line. Bought a one way ticket, cash only, and went to the line for the ropeway. The ropeway leaves every 15 minutes, and I wasn't able to get on the 9am one.
  • 09:15am. Ropeway. This had a ridiculously gorgeous view, as it was in full autumn glory. 
  • 09:22am. Arrived at the top of the ropeway. The place was utterly crowded - I took the exit to the right. Upon exit, turned left, and there was a fork. There'll be plenty of these, so I made sure to check my route at the YAMAP app. For this fork, I turned right.
  • 09:34am. Another fork. I kept right. 
  • 09:46am. Another fork. Again, I kept right. 
  • 09:50am. Another fork. I made sure to read the sign (There's an English one too). The one going straight goes up the summit, the turn right goes to Sukayu-onsen. I kept straight. From here on, it was stairs made of wood straight to the ridge. Unfortunately, on my hike it was utterly cloudy and windy, and my windbreaker was a lifesaver. 
  • 10:19am. Arrived at the end of the ridge! There was a marker saying this was the top of Akakura-dake (赤倉岳), which did not match my map, but I figured the marker should be right. Facing the marker, the path to the right was a dead end, so I turned left. 
  • 10:32am. The marker was wrong. There's another marker representing the summit of Mt. Akakura, and this one matched with the map perfectly. There's some space behind the marker for the ladies (or gentlemen) who need some, er, alone time. I continued walking the ridge, and it was definitely a gorgeous one. Even if I couldn't see a thing. 
  • 10:42am. Arrived at Mt. Ido (井戸岳), took some pictures, and continued walking.
  • 10:50am. Started descending down the ridge, which was a pretty steep descent, and windy! I wish I had a heavier pack to keep me grounded.
  • 10:57am. Arrived at the emergency hut. I was so excited for it, as I wanted to shelter from the wind. The moment I got it, I decided I'm ok with staying outside with the wind. It smelled awful! The restroom was inside the hut, and the entire hut smelled like the toilet! I had my breakfast/lunch - coffee and some snacks, on the benches right outside the shelter.
  • 11:07am. Headed back to the trail going to the highest point - Odake (大岳). 
  • 11:28am. Arrived at the summit, where it was still cloudy, but there were moments when it would clear up. 
  • 11:36am. I was done waiting for the clouds to clear up, and satisfied with my pictures. I started heading down. Within 10 minutes the clouds have cleared and the rest of my hike down I was able to enjoy the view. The path down was not so steep, so it was a gentle descent. 
  • 12:11pm. Fork to Kodake (小岳). I decided to skip it and I kept right. I passed by the swamp with some benches and what was supposedly a water source, but I don't think anybody would want to drink that water. Near the area was a segue to a nearby free mountain hut, which did not smell, thankfully. I'm not sure it'll stay that way though, as the restroom is also inside the mountain hut. It was just a straightforward, gentle, and gorgeous (peak autumn in my case) stroll to Sukayu Onsen. 
  • 01:40pm. Arrived at the trailhead, which has a huge parking lot. I did not cross to the parking lot and just kept to the cemented pathway at the right. This leads to Sukayu Onsen. There were a couple of turns, I just kept right.
  • 01:48pm. Arrived at Sukayu Onsen. There is a bus stop immediately to the right - that one is the bus stop going to Towada Lake. As I want to go back to Aomori Station, my bus stop is right across. Given I have an hour left before the 02:53pm bus, I decided to see this famous 1,000 person onsen. The entrance fee is JPY1,000 per person, inclusive of towel. The famous 1,000 person onsen is a mixed onsen, and the towel provided cannot be used in the water. They sell a specific, er, dress (?) that women can wear if they are shy - for merely JPY1,100. I decided to try the mixed one for two minutes, got dressed, and went to the gender segregated one. Haha.
  • 02:53pm. Was the scheduled bus, but the bus came at 03:05pm, and left Sukayu Onsen at around 03:15pm. The bus was halfway full, and there were a lot of people waiting at the next stop (Hakkoda ropeway), so the driver decided to have another bus pick them up and didn't let anyone in in our bus.
  • 04:20pm. Arrived at Shin-Aomori Station. The bus was 21 minutes late. Traffic was light, but for whatever reason the driver decided to wait 10 minutes in Sukayu Onsen, and get everybody late.
  • 04:38pm. Bullet train, Shin-Aomori Station to Tokyo Station. The bullet train was empty, which makes the JPY12,000 pass make sense.
  • 08:04pm. Tokyo Station. Almost home! But this ends the three day Aomori-Iwate Daytrips. If you managed to read this far, wow, I'm impressed! Haha.
Saturday, October 17, 2020 - Osorezan

The amazing JR East Welcome Rail Pass 2020! The reason this trip is happening!

Getting on the sleek bullet train. 

Worth every penny. Of the JR East Welcome Rail Pass. Not the actual JPY17,000+ one way ticket. 

At first use, the machine prints the entry point and punches a hole on the pass. 

At Morioka Station, once I've gone down the escalator, I followed the signs to the bus. This is one of those signs. 

At the bus stop. The ticket office is across the street, to the right (not pictured here). But I was told that the bus was not running, so I took the trains to Shimokita for Osorezan. 

The Resort train from Hachinohe Station to Shimokita Station. Talk about leg room!

Upon exiting the station, turned left. Bus stop 1 is close to the taxi stop. 

The bus is easily identifiable. It says For Osorezan. 

The stop right before Osorezan. Passengers can go down the bus to drink the water. Some people filled up their water bottles too. 

Osorezan! Finally!

I first went to buy the ticket. 

Then saw these six Buddhas (?) welcoming me.  

The ticket at the entrance. 

This entry way is representative of the path of the spirits. The main temple is to the left, the pilgrim's inn is the long halls to the right. 

Pinwheels, which is for the aborted and miscarried babies, were all over the place. 

The view after passing the main temple. To the left you can see the onsen for women, and to the right the onsen for men. The onsen for women is fully closed, but the one for men had their windows open. 

The onsen for women. There are two buildings, each with two baths, so a total of four. The two buildings are practically identical. 

The place to put stuff and clothes at before going to the onsen.

This area made me feel that if there's an entrance to the underworld, I wouldn't be surprised if it looks like this. The view looks like this, and there are sections with smoke coming from the rocks. 

The most majestic of them all, as far as I my experience goes. 

For the non Japanese readers, this means "Careful of the Mamushi". Oh, and Mamushi is one of the most dangerous snakes in Japan. No warnings in English, so if you don't speak Japanese... well, remember this post. 

A section with white cloth tied to the trees, with slippers. One blog I think mentions that this is also done by grieving families. 

Pinwheels and an offering. 

One guy ringing the bell while the other guy prays. 

Soon enough, I was on the train back home. Thankful for the surreal experience with Osorezan!

Back at Aomori station, I tried their butter-milk-curry ramen. Yes, that's a butter cube right there. 

With extra meat. I managed to eat the entire bowl, but it's definitely not for me. 

My home for the next two days. I paid less than JPY4,000 for this! 

And they gave me a coupon worth JPY1,000 too! 

Sunday, October 18, 2020 - Hachimantai

The day started with a long walk to Aomori Station. That triangular building is the Aomori Tourist Center. 

The transfer from the local train to the bullet train at Shin-Aomori Station. 

This is at Morioka Station. Upon exiting the gate and going down the escalator, I exited to the left. 

There's a little sign on the upper left pointing to the bus stops. 

Upon exiting these doors, the bus stop is to my left, and the ticket place is across. 

Finally bought the ticket!

The bus showing off the "Dragon's Eye", which can only be seen during the transition from winter to spring - which is latter May to early June. 

The bus ride was very picturesque. 

Restroom break!

Finally arrived at the trailhead!

Right there at the hill is the actual trailhead. 

There it is, the entrance to the summit. 

...which was already blocked by the people in the guided tour! 

Do not be misled - this is a well timed photo of a few seconds with no crowds.  

At the first fork, turned left. 

More or less a flat path. 

The pond for the "Dragon's Eye". It is called a mirror pond, and you can see the clouds reflected on the water. 

Continuing on. 

The next fork, I turned right for the summit. In the little blue sign right there says "八幡平頂上" which means summit. 

There it is! The summit with its very own observation deck. 

The tallest marker I have seen to date. Feels like it's compensating for the lack of elevation gain in this "hike". 

Another summit marker! This one is at the observation deck. I think that mountain in the background is Mt. Iwate. 

Soon I was done taking pictures and back to my stroll around the area. 

The next fork. I turned left to go to the free mountain hut. 

Not sure if you can see it - the mountain hut is at the left. 

There are a couple of benches next to the hut, and that's where I had my coffee and lunch. 

Inside the mountain hut - there's a FURNACE! O.O There are some wood too under the beds. 

Pretty spacious, and well maintained. 

Back to my stroll!

It was a beautiful stroll too. 
Left is to Gentamori, right back to the parking lot. 

I took the left one. 

The path is definitely not as well maintained as that of the main loop. 

What a shocker! No planks and not cemented!

The turn for Gentamori. I turned left. 

The marshlands of Hachimantai, as seen from the summit of Gentamori. 

Gentamori's summit marker. 

Time to head back down.  I took a different route down. 

At the end was a little sign pointing to the summit of Hachimantai. 

The one time I've seen the pink trail marker, other than the one at the trailhead. 

Back at the fork. 

...and the unlimited planks. 

I can see the free mountain hut on the other side of the lake. 

Heavy, heavy traffic going up the trailhead. I can see the cars moving slowly. This does not bode well for the trip back. 

One of the few toilets in the area, this one close to "見返り峠". Unfortunately, the entire thing was boarded shut. 

見返り峠. In this fork, I kept left. 

Back at the very first fork close to the trailhead. New people coming in. 

There's the rest house. 

The rest house has an area to wash muddy shoes clean. You know, just in case those planks did not protect you from the mud of the swamps. 

When our bus left, it suddenly started raining and soon enough, zero visibility. 

Beautiful gorge on the way down, but the bus did not stop, so I only got to see it from the window. 

The famous food in Morioka - cold noodles (reimen) and korean bbq. 

Pyonpyon sha is close to Hot Jaja and the docomo shop. The crowd of people in this picture, if you can see them, is the line for Pyonpyonsha. 

Back at Morioka Station. 

Monday, October 19, 2020 - Hakkoda

At Aomori Station, take the East exit, turn left. The bus stop for Hakkoda is the bus going to Towada Lake. Bus stop 11. 

This is the line on a normal weekday. WEEKDAY!

The bus stop where we had 10  minutes of restroom break. There is a store to buy some snacks and have some free tea. The store is closed on the way back. 

I used the break to take some pictures of the mountain I'm visiting.

At the ropeway, I am greeted by the gorgeous autumn foliage. 

Plus a long line for the ropeway. 

Ropeway ticket. 

I thought the view will not get better than this. 

I was wrong. This view is definitely better. 

At the end of the ropeway, I took the exit at the right. 

And was welcomed with nothing but pure white views. 

I turned left, was faced with this fork, and took the right turn. 

The view, unfortunately, remained shrouded in mist. 

I simply kept right. 

And followed the map in YAMAP. 

Some paths had planks too. 

First round of stairs. 

Next fork. I turned right. 

Another fork. Turning right is a shortcut to Sukayu Onsen. As I wanted to summit, I continued straight. 

It was just stairs til the ridge and the first summit. 

Just more stairs...

First summit! Above SEE level. Haha. 

I then walked at this ridge. VERY VERY windy ridge. 

Arrived at a shrine, and continued on in my walk. 

To see a marker for a summit I've supposedly summited. I guess this is the actual summit. 

The clouds cleared for a second, enough for me to take a photo. 

And then the clouds were back. 

And stayed there. 

This would have had been a gorgeous walk on a ridge. 

Soon enough I was heading down. 

I could see the silhouette of the free mountain hut. I was excited to have a couple of minutes' shelter from the wind. 

I went inside and the place was clean and spacious. But it smelled like a mountain toilet, and that is not something that's easy to breathe in. 

So I decided to take my break outside and just be ok with the strong, cold wind. 

Soon enough I was back on the trail, following the trail sign for the highest point of the mountain, "大岳", (Odake) which means big mountain. 

The trail had a marker saying it's dangerous, watch your step. 

The first part of the ascent had plenty of shrubs. 

I looked back and had a glimpse of where I came from. The mountain hut is nestled in between the two main peaks. 

The latter half of the trail to Odake. 

Here it is, the summit!

Summit marker!

To the side is the view of the crater. The crater of this active volcano. 

On my way down, the clouds stared clearing up. 

And I had a clear view the rest of the way down. 

The rocky trail down, with autumn foliage as my background. 

Soon enough I was back with planks. 

The fork - right goes to Sukayu Onsen, left goes to Kodake (子岳). I turned left, walked about 3 minutes to Kodake. The trail to Kodake was definitely not well used, and I decided I'd rather have sufficient time to do Sukayu Onsen, so I went back to the fork and took the path to Sukayu Onsen. 

A water source on the way. I definitely will NOT drink any water from here though. 

There's a bit of a segue to the mountain hut. 

The mountain hut had these sticks, and I don't know what they are for. 

There's gas and pots inside. Feels like a home!

And three floors of these "beds"

View from the outside. 

Just one river crossing. 

Beautiful way down. 

with an ominous warning. 
I still took the time to take pictures though. 

This was a weird spot. Did this spot burn?

I enjoyed the autumn foliage the rest of the way.
Some people were taking a stroll too. 

Exited the trail! Just follow this pathway for Sukayu Onsen. 

A quick look back at the trailhead. 

The path to Sukayu Onsen (and the bus stop). There are a couple of turns, but just keep right. 

Sukayu Onsen! Boy, the backdrop of this onsen is the best I've seen in my stay in Japan. They are also famous for their Sen-nin buro, which means thousand person onsen (the onsen can accommodate a thousand people in one go. I went there, I don't believe it, sorry. Haha)

If I wanted to wear something in the mixed onsen,I had to pay an extra JPY1,100. I decided to just go in my birthday suit. 

Haha. No comment. 

The view of Hakkoda from the bus. This time I sat on the side of the driver to see it.