Introduction to the Landforms and Geology of Japan


Goshogake and Tamagawa Hot Springs

Measures for the acid water

The strong acid water of the Tamagawa hot springs is harmful to crops and damages structures including dams and a hydraulic power plant in a downstream area. Measures for the acid water have been taken about 170 years ago. Initially, watercourses were made around hot springs to prevent rain water permeating into soil because people believed that rainwater returned from underground to the surface at the hot springs as acid water. About 70 years ago, the acid water was infiltrated into underground from dug wells. This attempt was to neutralize acids by contact with rocks and clay in the ground. In addition, the acid water was poured into Lake Tazawa (Tazawako) to the 25-km south of the Tamagawa hot springs to dilute it. These measures resulted in the acidification of Lake Tazawa and extinction of organisms such as fish living in the lake although they decreased the acidity to some degree.

The present method for neutralization uses granular limestone. The acid water flowed out the Obuki spring is piped to the neutralization facilities and poured into tanks containing limestone. Then, the water with reduced acidity is discharged to a river. As a result, the pH has increased by 1 to 2 in this treatment and the water quality of the downstream river (Tamagawa River) has improved.

How to get to the Goshogake and the Tamagawa hot springs

From Tokyo

Take JR Akita Shinkansen “Komachi” from Tokyo to Tazawako. Buses are available from Tazawako Station to the Tamagawa and the Goshogake hot springs. To get to the Goshogake hot springs, use a bus for Hachimantai Chojo and get off at the Goshogake Onsen bus stop, and to the Tagamagawa hot springs, take a bus for Hachimantai Chojo or Tamagawa Onsen and get off at the Tamagawa Onsen bus stop. No service for Hachimantai Chojo is in winter (November to mid-April). The number of buses is not many (four to eight a day depending on destinations and seasons). So it is good to check the bus service before you go there. The bus company is Ugo Kotsu (Time tables, Phone: 0187-43-1511). A highway bus provided by Ugo Kotsu and Enoden Bus (Enoshima Electric Railway) is also available from Hamamatsu-cho in Tokyo and Yokohama Statiotn to Tazawako Station. The bus fare is cheaper than that of JR Shinkansen (Tokyo-Tazawako, 8860 yen [Bus],   15240 yen [Shinkansen]).

From Akita and Morioka Stations

From Akita, use the Ou-honsen line for Omagari and Shinjo. Transfer to the Tazawako line at Omagari and get off at Tazawako. From Morioka, use the Tazawako line. Only a few local trains run on the Tazawako line a day, so Akita Shinkansen is convenient between Morioka and Akita, although a express ticket is required.


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