About Choshi Otaki Waterfall (choshi-otaki [銚子大滝])
The Choshi Otaki Waterfall (choshi otaki [小坂七滝]; “Sake Bottle Great Falls?”) was perhaps the signature waterfall attraction of the Oirase Gorge.
Pouring over a ledge that was 7m tall, the waterfall’s flow on the Oirase Stream (the only one on this stream, by the way) could grow to about 20m in width.
Therefore, this waterfall is also the largest of the many waterfalls in the Oirase Gorge.
Accessing the Choshi Otaki Falls was really quick as we only had to walk about 150m from the nearest roadside pullout (see directions below) to the waterfall itself.
Along the way, there were other side waterfalls (which were gushing during our rain-soaked visit in July 2023) attesting to the waterfall saturation you’re likely to have in the gorge.
Our visit to this waterfall was a mere 45 minutes away from the car, but realize that tour buses do stop here so the visitor numbers can blow up and disappear within a span of 15 minutes or so.
That said, the walking path actually continued further downstream towards the Tamadare Falls (at least another 1.4km away).
We didn’t bother going that far, but it does demonstrate that there are options to prolong a visit within the Oirase Gorge at a slower and more deliberate pace.
After all, driving and stopping everywhere (like we did on our bad-weather visit) often times misses some of the waterfalls and other attractions along the way.
In fact, it’s possible to do the entire 14km stretch from Ne-no-kuchi (by Lake Towada) to Yakeyama Mountain further to the northeast as a shuttle.
Whether you walk the whole stretch and coordinate a bus return, or you rent a bike and drop off at a different location before catching a bus on the return, there are indeed many options available to better enjoy the gorge more slowly.
Finally, it’s worth noting that there are numerous waterfalls throughout Japan that have the name choshi in it.
However, with this particular one, someone imagined Lake Towada being the sake that was being poured from its (sake bottle) mouth over the Choshi Otaki Waterfall.
In my mind, this was a bit of a stretch, but the name stuck, especially now that this is like the must-do stop in the Oirase Gorge.
The Choshi Otaki Waterfall resides in the Oirase Gorge within the Towada-Hachimantai National Park just to the northeast of Lake Towada between Hirosaki and Towada City in the Aomori Prefecture, Japan. It may be administered by the Ministry of the Environment Tohoku Regional Office. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.
On our approach, we headed up from the Kosaka Nanataki Waterfall.
On that approach, we continued going northeast on the Route 2 before merging with the Route 103, and then we continued east on the Route 103 along the eastern shores of Lake Towada towards the Route 102.
Once on the Route 102, we then followed that road into the Oirase Gorge as directed by the signs.
The Choshi Otaki Waterfall was about 1.5km northeast of where we left the shores of Lake Towada and entered the Oirase Gorge.
There were pullout spots primarily on the right (east) side of the road though we did some people try to park on the unsanctioned west side of the road.
Overall, this drive took us about 30 minutes.
To put this time in perspective, when we left the Choshi Otaki Waterfall, we drove a series of very twisty mountain roads (under some pretty intense thunderstorms) towards Hirosaki.
That drive took us about 2 hours, and we had to be real careful because of the bad weather and poor visibility at times.
For some geographical context, Kosaka was about 49km (under an hour drive) southeast of Hirosaki, about 74km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Towada City, 81km (a little over an hour drive) south of Aomori, 109km (about 90 minutes drive) north of Morioka, 124km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Hachinohe, 133km (about 2 hours drive) northeast of Akita, and 641km (about 7.5 hours drive) north of Tokyo.
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