Bijin-bayashi, the “Forest of Beauties”
Walk through a beautiful forest in Niigata Prefecture and experience its relaxing atmosphere in all four seasons
Stroll through a gorgeous forest filled with hundreds of tall, slender beech trees wearing a different look for every season. Their elegant silhouettes inspired the name Bijin-bayashi, meaning “forest of beauties.”
Located in the beautiful mountainous region of Tokamachi in Niigata Prefecture, Bijin-bayashi is well worth a visit in every season. In spring, you can see leaf buds growing out of the snow. In summer, you’ll feel the refreshing air of the green forest. Autumn brings the glorious gold of the changing leaves, and in winter you can enjoy snowshoeing among the trees.
The eerily straight, orderly trees of Bijin-bayashi began to grow in the early 1910s, when the owner of the land needed money to move to Tokyo. He cut down all the beech trees and sold them as charcoal, after which he gifted the empty woodlot to local farmers and moved away.
After the land was cleared, the thousands of beech saplings that remained were able to grow straight up toward the sun. Beech, which warps more easily than other wood, was not considered quality lumber at the time. The new landowner contemplated clearing the beeches to plant cedars instead, but he became enchanted by the beauty of the trees and decided to let them grow. The result is a wooded wonderland that brings pleasure and peace of mind to visitors throughout the year.
How to get there
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (about 1 hour 20 minutes), then transfer to the Hokuhoku Line to Matsudai Station (about 20 minutes). Bijin-bayashi is about 15 minutes from the station by taxi.
1225-1 Matsunoyama-matsuguchi, Tokamachi-shi, Niigata-ken