Series — Japan’s World Heritage Site: Walking through Shirakami Sanchi mountain range
If you want to enjoy Japan's Ｍother Nature, UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site is highly recommended. One of them is “Shirakami Sanchi,” a vast mountainous region that spans approximately 130,000 hectares across the northwest part of Akita Prefecture and the southwest part of Aomori Prefecture. Throughout Shirakami Sanchi, one of the world's largest beech forests is distributed, as it is mostly unaffected by human work, and the valuable ecosystem is preserved as various plants grow wild and animals inhabit. We will now introduce you to representative guided walking courses of Shirakami Sanchi.
First, gather information at the “Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Center” (Nishimeya-mura, Aomori Prefecture)
Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Center is located in Nishimeya-mura, the entrance of World Natural Heritage Site Shirakami Sanchi. Here, you can learn about the relationship between beech trees and the ecosystem. In the video experience hall, you can see the four seasons of the Shirakami Sanchi with a gigantic screen, realistic sounds and images, as well as information on the trekking courses.
The Beech forest walking trail of the World Heritage Site
Second fall of Anmon-no-Taki
Third fall of Anmon-no-taki
“Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Center”
●61–1, Kanda Tashiro, Nishimeyamura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori Prefecture
●8:30-17:00（April 1-October 31）, 9:00-16:30（November 1-March 31）
●Closed: every second Monday for April through December *every fourth Monday for August, every Monday and Thursday for January through March (if it falls on a holiday, the next day will be closed), year-end and new year holidays
World Heritage path: enjoying walking through the beech forest course “Shirakami Guide Association” (Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture)
Autumn leaves of the beech forest
If you want to walk or go mountain climbing in the vast Shirakami Sanchi, a guided tour is highly recommended. Members of “Shirakami Guide Association” are professional guides who practice eco-tourism throughout the Shirakami Sanchi region. From simple hiking to a full-blown mountain climbing along with a guide that has a “mountain guide” license from the Japan Mountain Guide Association, the members can take you to a wide variety of places. We now introduce you to 2 courses, both of which need to be booked beforehand. They start at 10:45 every morning, and the minimum number of people required to start the trip is 2.
The “World Heritage path: enjoying walking through the beech forest course (duration about 2 hours, 3,500 yen per person)” is the easiest walking course that allows you to set foot in the registered World Natural Heritage region. Your whole body will feel the powers of the broad-leaved tree forest, many of them beech trees.
Look for the illusionistic fall— “Get all wet! Anmon-no-taki course”
Third fall of Anmon-no-taki
Shirakami Sanchi's popular spot, “Anmon-no-taki” waterfall is an illusionistic fall, but entering the site has been restricted since 2016, so it has become difficult to go without a guide. Before entering, you must sign a notification of passing upon understanding the risks of falling rocks, rising waters, etc. You will wear “jika tabi” (rubber-soled socks) and a helmet, cross the Anmon River several times and also go against the water flow, finally reaching the third fall of Anmon-no-taki. The tour is 8,500 yen per person. (approximately 3 hours duration, rental spiked jika tabi and helmet, accident insurance included).
Rental spiked jika tabi (rubber-soled socks) and helmet
Kenji Nodaka is a mountain guide, fluent in English, and can take you through a wide variety of places, from walking village-vicinity mountains, Alpine, to back country.
“Shirakami Guide Association”
●T-FACT 1-12-1, Fujishiro, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori Prefecture
*The above information was last updated July 10, 2017. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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