The expansive 1,613 m-altitude volcanic Hachimantai Plateau boasts majestic mountains and spectacular highlands that extend across the border of Iwate and Akita prefectures. Blessed with the mystical landscapes and hot springs only found in volcanic belts, it is the ideal highland sightseeing area for fully enjoying the great outdoors. The Hachimantai Aspite Line driving course traverses through the Hachimantai Plateau, starting from before the Hachimantai Ski Resort and extending for 27 km in total up to the Akita Prefecture Toroko Hot Springs. During the winter (from early November to late April) the road is completely closed to cars; but once the road opens again, it becomes Japan’s longest corridor of snow - a well known attraction that Hachimantai prides itself on.
Hachimantai has a wide variety of trekking courses for visitors to enjoy the vast nature and superb scenic spots scattered throughout the area. These range from beginner courses that can be easily walked wearing sneakers, to advanced courses for experienced climbers to tackle with the proper equipment. Among them is the walking path around the Mount Hachimantai summit area, which is the typical course recommended for easily enjoying Hachimantai’s nature. The Hachiman Pond right near the summit is the largest in the group of crater lakes and reservoirs, and a symbol of Hachimantai. In the nearby Kagami (Mirror) Pond, an image that looks like a dragon’s eye appears on the water’s surface when the snow melts, but only during the very short period between mid-May to mid-June. This phenomenon, known as the Hachimantai Dragon Eye, is a magical sight for those fortunate enough to see it. The Hachimantai Plateau is a place you will want to visit again and again, as each season brings with it beautiful scenery of alpine flora in the spring, fresh greenery in the summer, autumn foliage in the fall, and frost-covered trees in the winter.