“Aspite” is a word referring to a volcano that is shaped like a shield, and it is also the name of a scenic 27km driving route across Hachimantai (from the Hachimantai district in Iwate Prefecture to Toroko Onsen in Akita Prefecture), from which you can enjoy spectacular panoramas of the great outdoors. From the road that winds around the mountainside of Mt. Chausu-dake, Mt. Iwate comes into view to the south, with blue lakes surrounded by forest, and withered Maries’ firs forming the unique scenery of Hachimantai.
As you drive upward on the Aspite line, you will notice the ever-changing scenery with the variations in altitude. At the summit, the temperature is a cool 15 degrees even in the height of summer.
There is a large parking area around halfway along at the Mikaeri mountain pass, which is a tourism center from which you can climb to the peak of Mt. Hachimantai, or take a walking trail to Lake Hachiman. From the Mikaeri mountain pass, you can also join up with the Hachimantai Jukai Line. There are also many hot springs in Tohoku to the east and west of Hachimantai, so you can enjoy some of those along your drive. As well as the greenery and wide blue skies of summer, and the beautiful colors of fall, from mid-April the road is re-opened after its winter closure. The “Snow Corridors”, towering walls of snow on either side of the road that are many meters high, are a must-see.
Address: Hachimantai-shi, Iwate
Airport: Hanamaki Airport
Morioka Station →【Bus: 120 minutes】Hachimantai Aspite Line
Matsuo-Hachimantai IC →【Car: 25 minutes】Hachimantai Aspite Line