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Oze National Park

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Stride through golden grasses and autumn foliage in this Gunma hiking destination

Gunma Prefecture



Japanese nature is often depicted through cinematic and ethereal landscapes involving Mount Fuji or colorful gardens. However, national parks also offer wonderful opportunities to get close to the sublime nature of Japan. Oze National Park is a marshland dating back to the ice age around 10,000 years ago. Many of the plants in this nature reserve evolved from that time, making for a unique hiking trail that extends right above the wetlands and into the wild.
Although the park is popular during the spring season, when the skunk cabbages are in full bloom and the melted snow lakes reflect the mountainous landscape, it completely remakes itself during the autumn season. At that time of year, golden grass and colorful foliage contrast with the indigo waters and take over the scenery in a mesmerizingly immersive experience. The wetland grasses on Ozegahara Plateau turn gold in September, and the mountains and forests turn shades of red and gold in October.
The hike, although ranging from 6 to 8 hours, is not tiring even for the most inexperienced hikers. There are also rest stations (don’t forget to bring your bento lunch box or onigiri rice balls) and mountain huts throughout the course where you can stay overnight during the climbing season, which runs from late April to mid-October (reservation required).
If you’re planning to go to Japan and scheduling a stop in the Gunma region, Oze National Park is definitely a must-go spot for nature lovers.
Photos provided by Oze Preservation Foundation


How to get there

If you’re traveling by train, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station (1 hour 15 minutes), then take a bus from the station to Tokura (2 hours) and transfer to another bus bound for the Hatomachitoge trailhead (25 minutes).


898-9 Tokura, Katashina-mura, Tone-gun, Gunma-ken


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