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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

AKITA Shirakami & Odate A massive crater lake, primeval beech forests, handicrafts and hunters in Japan's outback

A massive crater lake, primeval beech forests, handicrafts and hunters in Japan's outback

Home to one of the world's last remaining virgin beech forests, Honshu's biggest caldera lake and traditional woodworking and hunting cultures, Shirakami in Akita Prefecture is a wilderness lover's destination.

The Shirakami Mountains also have plenty of unusual flora and fauna, waterfalls and campgrounds, allowing for extended explorations of the environment.

Don't Miss

  • Explore one of the world's largest beech tree forests
  • Visit the largest crater lake in all of Honshu
  • Learn about the traditional culture of the matagi, the local hunters
  • Watch skilled artisans create famous magewappa, wooden handicrafts

How to Get There

The Shirakami area in the Tohoku region of northern Honshu can be accessed by car, plane, bus and train, and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Major stations include Noshiro Station, Akita Station and Tashiro Bus Station.

By plane, it is just over one hour from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Odate-Noshiro Airport, followed by a 45-minute taxi ride to JR Noshiro Station. From there, take the JR Gono Line to JR Akita Shirakami Station (35 minutes). By train, it takes about three hours from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen, followed by a 40-minute train from Shin-Aomori Station to Hirosaki Station on the JR Ou Line, and then a 50-minute bus ride from Hirosaki Bus Terminal to Tashiro.

Untouched primeval forest

Covering over 130,000 hectares in the prefectures of Aomori and Akita, the Shirakami Mountains boast such a diversity of flora and rare fauna that the mountain range's central region has been listed as a World Natural Heritage site since 1993.

A haven for unusual flora and fauna

In addition to the native beech trees, the ancient forest has many other species of tall deciduous trees. Take a walk along forest paths for a chance to see wildlife, including black woodpeckers, Japanese serow, mountain hawk-eagles and golden eagles, Japanese macaques and Asiatic black bears.

Three waterfalls in one

One of the most beautiful places within the Shirakami Mountain Range is Anmon Falls, three stunning waterfalls that run together as one. Hike along the nature trails through the lush woods and along the river and streams of crystal-clear water from melted snow.

Discover the secrets of this singular place

Learn more about the Shirakami Mountains and the local culture at the Shirakami Mountains Visitor Center and Shirakami World Heritage Center. There are 3D exhibitions and an IMAX screen showing informative films about the area.

Cruise or camp by the sparkling waters of Lake Towada

This popular tourist spot on the border between Aomori and Akita prefectures is the largest crater lake in Honshu and the 12th-largest lake in Japan.

You can cruise the lake by boat, hire a canoe or pitch your tent at one of the campsites to get closer to the stunning natural environment. There are six campgrounds in the area, three very close to the lake and the others closer to Mt. Hakkoda.

Lake Towada is home to many varieties of freshwater trout and salmon, and there are several restaurants around the lake that serve up fish dishes.

Maintaining ancient hunting traditions

The area is known for its matagi, the community of traditional hunters who live in the Shirakami Sanchi forest between Akita and Aomori prefectures. These tribal people live in hamlets in the mountainous area, but during winter and early spring they live deep in the forest, hunting bear the same way their ancestors have done for generations.

Elegant, graceful woodwork

The Odate area is famous for magewappa, a Japanese woodcraft known for its light yet rich color and elegant straight grain. Artisans have been delicately steaming and bending wood into graceful, flowing shapes for more than 400 years, when locals began to use their main natural resource, cedar, to make everyday objects.

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