Translated by Emily Dempster
Feel the Great Outdoors: Cycling at Lake Tazawa
Written by OsawaKimie
Whether renting a bicycle, or cycling across Japan, Lake Tazawa offers a beautiful escape from the city. Let's take a look at the sights of Japans deepest lake!
Akita Prefecture's Lake Tazawa, known for being the deepest lake in Japan, is one of Japan's most prominent landscapes due to to its constantly changing seasonal colors. If you head there in summer, you will notice many people have taken up cycling while enjoying the brilliant scenery.
A 20-km Cycling Course
"I really want to explore around Lake Tazawa, but walking takes a while..." If this is what you're thinking, we definitely recommend trying cycling. By taking advantage of one of the many Rent-a-Cycle stores around Lake Tazawa, you can enjoy some relaxing cycling even in the middle of your trip. This time we rented a bicycle at Lake Tazawa Rent-a-Cycle, in Lake Tazawa Kyoei Palace. It cost ¥1000 per person for the full day.
Put your feet to the pedals and let's get rolling! You can easily pedal along while taking a look out over the sparkling waters.
If you pass through the forest, you will feel a refreshing breeze. Taking a deep breath of this clear forest air is revitalising for both mind and body. Incidentally, the cycling course around Lake Tazawa is mostly comprised of flat roads, which makes it popular not just with sporty types, but also with beginners and young children.
Break Time at Tatsukochaya
After following the course for about 30 minutes, you will come across a restaurant nestled by the lakeside called Tatsukochaya. If you're hungry, you can regain some of that lost strength by having a meal here. Pictured here is Iwana, a freshwater fish grilled in salt resulting in a soft, fluffy texture (¥600 each).
Lake Tazawa's Icon: the Legend of the Statue of Tatsuko
Around the halfway point of the cycling course you will come across the Statue of Tatsuko, glittering in her golden glory. The Statue of Tatsuko is said to be based on a girl named Tatsuko who used to live in the Lake Tazawa area.
Tatsuko was a beautiful maiden who prayed to the gods that her beauty could be preserved for all eternity. The gods then told her that if she drunk water from the holy spring in the north (in this case referring to Lake Tazawa), her wish would be granted. Tatsuko drunk the water until the spring ran dry, and before she knew it she had been transformed into a dragon and sunk to the bottom of the lake. This legend of Tatsuko, who was transformed into a dragon and then went on to become the spirit of Lake Tazawa, has been passed down for generations.
After snapping a photo of the Statue of Tatsuko, pay a visit to the nearby Ukiki Shrine. This shrine sells fishing bait.
On the banks of the lake you will spot people feeding the fish and enjoying water sports. It takes about two hours to complete the 20-km lap of the lake, but on days where the sun is strong it's a good idea to take your time and take regular breaks.
There is no substitute for the refreshing feeling of finally reaching your goal after travelling alongside nature. You too should try having a relaxing time at Lake Tazawa in Akita.
Lake Tazawa Kyoei Palace: Lake Tazawa Rent-a-Cycle
Address: Haruyama 148, Tazawa, Tazawako, Senboku-shi, Akita
Access: Get off at Tohoku Shinkansen/Akita Shinkansen Lake Tazawa Station, then catch the regular bus to Lake Tazawa Lakeside Station - a 1-min walk from the bus stop.
Phone Number: +81(0)187-43-0701
Website: Tazawa Kyoei Palace (Japanese)
Address: Kata Nakayama 41, Tazawako, Senboku-shi, Akita-ken
Access: Get off at Tohoku Shinkansen/Akita Shinkansen Lake Tazawa Station, then catch the regular bus to Lake Tazawa Lakeside Station. 30-mins by bicycle, 10-mins by car.
Phone number: +81(0)187-43-0909
Website: Gourmet Navi Tatsukochaya (Japanese)