Plants & Animals

Chubusangaku National Park

Chubusangaku National Park's soaring mountains harbor a distinct ecosystem. The vegetation varies by elevation: Japanese stone pine and coniferous forests dominate the highest peaks, Erman's birch forests typically sit on slopes between 1,500 and 2,500 meters, and the lower reaches are covered with beech and Mongolian oak.

The park is home to mammals such as Asiatic black bears, Japanese macaques and Japanese serows. There is also a rich variety of alpine wildlife, such as the rock ptarmigan and the Asamana Arctic butterfly.



Komakusa (Dicentra peregrina), known in Japan as the "queen of alpine plants," is a perennial that grows on rocky mountain slopes, utilizing moisture in the air to water its roots. Komakusa means "horse plant," and gets its name from its pink, horsehead-shaped flowers. It blooms on the ridgelines of Mount Norikura and Mount Tsubakuro in July and August.

Komakusa grows on rocky mountain slopes

Alpine Belt

The park's alpine belt lies at elevations of over 2,500 meters, and is home to clusters of Japanese stone pine (Pinus pumila) and various alpine flowers. Mount Shirouma has an abundance of colorful alpine flowers such as Shirouma asatsuki (Allium schoenoprasum var. orientale) and Shirouma rindo (Gentianopsis yabei f. violacea).

Shirouma asatsuki grows in the park's alpine belt


Japanese Macaque

The Japanese macaque is native to Japan. It is uniquely adapted to the cold, snowy winters of Chubusangaku National Park: Its fur becomes thicker as the weather gets colder, allowing it to cope with temperatures as low as minus 20 C. It is the coldest place any primate spends the winter.

Japanese macaque

Rock Ptarmigan

The rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus japonicus) is only found in the park's higher altitudes. Legend has it this bird is a messenger of the gods. Its seasonally camouflaged feathers change from mottled brown in summer to white in winter. The rock ptarmigan is a survivor of the Ice Age, and is designated a Special Natural Monument and a National Treasure.

A rock ptarmigan with a chick

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