Past Exhibitions

Towada Oirase Art Festival Document Exhibition

Dec 14th, 2013 - Jan 13th, 2014


The Towada Art Center will hold the Towada Oirase Art Festival Document Exhibition in and around central Towada. The museum will use this time to reflect on the festival and think about future opportunities.

The Towada Art Center has extended the exhibition period of the Towada Oirase Art Festival has been extended due to its popularity.

An art festival for experiencing different “times”
The Towada Art Center will present different textures of time through its works of art. We will transform Aomori’s Lake Towada and Oirase Gorge into a stage-like space that stimulates sight, smell, and hearing.

We invite visitors to quietly and carefully experience the fleeting presence, shifting light, and buzzing hums that drift through each space.

Towada Art Center & Central Towada

The area where the city of Towada is located was originally a barren plateau known as Sanbongihara, where several desolate villages existed on the fringes. In 1855, Tsuto Nitobe, grandfather to Inazo Nitobe, and a handful of others outlined a plan irrigate Sanbongihara with water from the Oirase River. The next year they succeeded in creating a canal that runs through Towada, now called the Inaoi River, which opened up the area for development. The Imperial Japanese Army subsequently built a warhorse depot in Towada in 1885, and horse breeding began to flourish throughout the area.

Fujisaka No. 5, an improved rice strain invented by the Towada Fujisaka Laboratory, is extremely resistant to cold and grows well in the area despite the cool and moist easterly Yamase winds that blow in summer. Its rapid spread since 1949 has transformed the area into a regional breadbasket. The Fujisaka No. 5 rice strain is no longer widely cultivated but its DNA has been incorporated into many new varieties.

Oirase Gorge

Oirase—a national monument of natural scenic beauty.
The only river to flow out of Lake Towada, the 70km-long Oirase river runs 14km north to Yakeyama, where it veers east to pour into the Pacific. The 14km stretch from Lake Towada to Yakeyama is known as Oirase Gorge and is one of Japan’s most beautiful river valleys.

Keigetsu Omachi, a Meiji-era writer, once praised the beauty of the area saying, “Live in Japan, visit Towada, and walk the 14 kilometers (sanri) of Oirase.” He also praised the beauty of the gorge’s famous waterfalls in autumn.

The stream trickles as it flows out of Lake Towada, surrounded on both sides by a towering, ancient lava flow laid down by Mount Towada, until the trickle becomes a raging torrent. Over a dozen waterfalls line the gorge. Within the gorge, trees such as katsura, oak, beech, and chestnut thrive while moss and ferns grow on the forest floor. Autumn brings with it beautiful views.

Lake Towada

Located across Aomori and Akita prefectures, Lake Towada is a twice-formed crater lake shaped by two eruptions of a volcano between 30,000 years and 25,000 years ago. Its clear, blue waters reflect each season in a different light, attracting visitors from near and far. The lake encompasses an area of 61.1 square kilometers and has a radius of 46 kilometers. It is located at the top of a 400-meter-high mountain and has a depth of 327 meters, the third-deepest in Japan. Katsura and beech dominate the area, which is a natural habitat for wildlife.

From Yasumiya, you can cross the Ryogoku Bridge, which joins Aomori and Akita prefectures, and follow a trail to the Statue of Maidens, Kotaro Takamura’s final sculpture, while taking in the natural beauty of the lake in any season.

Fish were not introduced to Lake Towada until 1903, when Sadayuki Wakanai released sockeye salmon (himemasu) from Lake Shikotsu in Hokkaido into the lake. Freshly caught sockeye is now a specialty of the area.


Around the Towada Art Center

Ragnar Kjartansson, Shimpei Takeda, Aiko Miyanaga, Marcus Coates, & Kenji Shibata

In and Around Oirase

Taro Okamoto (Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel)

Nobuhiro Shimura (Former Kasaishi Residence & Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel)

Tetsuya Umeda + contact Gonzo + Lieko Shiga (Fishery and Rest House)

Shuji Yamamoto (Towada Art Center, Former Kasaishi Residence, Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel & Towada Lake Cruise Information at Nenokuchi)

Akira Takayama (Port B) (B1, Keiryu no Eki Oirase)

On the Towada Cruise Boat

Sound art to be experienced on the Lake Towada cruise.



Towada Oirase Art Festival Document Exhibition


Dec 14th, 2013 - Jan 13th, 2014


Towada Art Center
Oirase Stream Museum
Towada Lake Cruise from Yasumiya
Towada Lake Cruise Information at Nenokuchi

Oirase Streamside Station




  • Towada Oirase Art Festival Executive Committee
  • Towada Art Center
  • Foundation for the Revitalization of Lake Towada
  • Towada Office, National Parks Foundation
  • Lake Towada National Park Association
  • Towada City Tourism Association
  • Oirase Hot Springs Revitalization Association
  • The City of Towada

In Cooperation with


Abilitas Hospitality
Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel
Towada-Kanko Steamboat Co., ltd.
Towada-Kanko Electric Railway Co., ltd.
Motomiya Design Center
Aomori Contemporary Art Centre
Arts Initiative Tokyo


Related Events

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Photos from the Exhibition