(Note: the instructions below are incremental. Keep reading until you reach your destination.)
Go out the POL Gate and set your car’s trip counter to zero.
You are on Route 10. Just follow your nose for about 20KM. You are now in Towada City
You will come to a traffic light at a fork in the road There will be a blue sign overhead that shows Rt 10 continuing along the right fork and Towada Shi to the left.
Take the left fork and after a few hundred yards you will see a K’s Denki and HOMAC on the right and then you will come to the intersection with Route 4.
Turn left onto Route 4 and then at the third traffic light, turn right onto Route 102. Just before the turn you will see a sign for Towadako and Oirase.
Follow this road for just about 24KM. At this point you will come to a traffic light that blinks amber (usually). There will be a gas station on the right.
If you turn left and go over the bridge, you will be at the bottom of the Oirase Gorge that leads to Lake Towada. If you go straight, you go over the mountains and can get to Hirosaki and Aomori. If you turn right, .... Hmmm, I’ve never turned right. Sorry.
Continue with the instructions below to get to and through the Oirase Gorge. If you want to proceed on to the lake, just continue on with the instructions.
(Note: you have to drive through the gorge to get to Lake Towada)
Turn left and go over the bridge. You are still on Route 102 and are now at the beginning of the Oirase Gorge area. There are hotels and stores in the area.
Continue straight on this winding road and there are some beautiful sights along the river that runs through the gorge.
The beginning of the gorge is pretty wide and you often can’t even see the river.
About halfway through the gorge, there is a place to park and a couple of shops.
From this point, you can hike along the river up to Lake Towada. It is a few kilomaters and a very winding path so it takes some time.
Proceed up through the rest of the gorge if you are headed to the Lake Towada area.
At the lake, there is a traffic light at a T intersection that marks the end of the gorge. This is also where most folks who are hiking turn back.
As you reach the end of the Oirase Gorge, you are at Lake Towada. Follow the instructions below for the side of the lake you are interested in.
To Yasumiya Village: (South end) (Winter, Fireworks and Kunizakai Festivals)
Turn left onto to route 103. The lake is now on your right.
Follow this road about 12KM around to the south side of the lake where you will come to Yasumiya Village.
As you enter the village, follow the signs with the statue of the two maidens to find the center of the village and the lake.
This village has hotels, restaurants and shops. It is the place with the famous statue of the two maidens and is the staging point for the annual Lake Towada Fireworks display.
There are also lake sightseeing ferries here.
North end of the lake: (Sight seeing and on to Hakkoda Mountain)
At the T intersection, turn right (this is still Route 102) to visit the shops at the east end of the lake. There are only a few.
This is also the starting point for the east side’s sightseeing ferry.
If you continue straight on Rt 102, you can drive into the mountains and all the way around the lake (pick up Route 103 on the west end of the lake.) You can also turn proceed west to the Hirosaki area and other points in western Japan.
DO NOT attempt this route in winter. There is really heavy snow fall in the higher elevations and the road is usually closed during the winter months.