Daisen-Oki National Park

Non-profit Nature Service http://www.natureservice.jp/

A soaring peak, the Oki archipelago and the Shimane Peninsula 

Discover craggy cliffs, deep caves and sunken caverns. Scale sacred peaks punctuated by the scars of volcanic activity. Explore the peaceful ponds and lush forests that are blanketed in snow in winter. Beyond the coast are the islands of Oki and their diverse mix of local culture. Read more about Daisen-Oki National Park.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Daisen-Oki National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and no permit is required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time. 

 

Park Highlights

Daisen-Oki National Park is a park of contrasts. It is marked by a variety of landscapes, from mountains made up of volcanic landforms and highlands covered in forests, to the coastal areas and islands.

DON'T MISS

  • Outdoor activities around Mt. Daisen: downhill cycling, hiking and snowshoeing
  • Sea kayaking around the Oki Islands Global Geopark 
  • Sightseeing boat tours along the Kuniga Coast and to the Kakanokukedo Caves 

The mountainous area encompasing Mt. Daisen, the Hiruzen Highlands and Mt. Sanbe consists of dynamic volcanic landforms, rich forests, and a vast grass-covered plain. The coast and islands are home to a variety of flora and fauna.

OKI ISLANDS 

The Oki Islands off the coast of Tottori and Shimane prefectures are a designated UNESCO Global Geopark. These Islands were formed as a result of volcanic activity 10,000 years ago and are characterized by dynamic coastal scenery, cliffs, sea caves and beaches.

Okinoshima Jodogaura Beach

In this area of Daisen-Oki National Park you can enjoy camping on the beach, sea kayaking, sunset cruises, the stunning 275-meter-high Maten-gai Cliffs of the Kuniga Coast, and commanding views of the archipelago.

SHIMANE PENINSULA 

The Shimane Peninsula has a number of historical landmarks which serve as the center of ancient Izumo culture, including the Izumo-taisha Shrine, Hinomisaki-jinja Shrine, and Kakanokukedo. Visit Hinomisaki Beach on the westernmost tip to see Hinomisaki Lighthouse and Hinomisaki-jinja, or take a sightseeing boat tour of the spirtual wave-eroded caves of Kakanokukedo.

MT. DAISEN 

Mt. Daisen, the highest peak in the Chugoku region, is covered with forests and is marked by one of the largest natural beech forests in western Japan. Hike to the summit, walk through the beach forests, or cycle down to the Sea of Japan.

Mt. Daisen

HIRUZEN HIGHLAND

At 500 to 600 meters above sea level, this highland area lies at the foot of Hiruzen Sanza, a mountain range consisting of Mt. Kamihiruzen, Mt. Nakahiruzen, and Mt. Shimohiruzen noted for the beauty of its gentle curves. The yamayaki or "mountain burning" in the Hiruzen region is an annual tradition in spring.

MT. SANBE 

Mt. Sanbe is a group of peaks surrounded by three ponds. Muronouchi Pond emits volcanic gases, while Ukinunoike Pond was formed by the blockage of a river from volcanic activity thousands of years ago. Himenoga Pond is particularly beautiful when thousands of rabbit-ear iris grow on the pond's floating islands in May and June.

Ponds around Mt. Sanbe

Plants & Animals

On Mt. Daisen, the shrub forest zone at 1,300 meters is populated by alpine flora such as dogtooth violet and Daisen Japanese yew. 

On the low-lying coastline of Okinoshima Island, vegetation from around Japan coexist, such as Ramanas roses, which are normally found in the north, and Nago orchids, normally found in the south. The islands are also home to one of the largest seagrass beds in the Sea of Japan and the indiginous Oki salamander.  

The rocky shores of Shimane Peninsula are an ideal breeding ground for seabirds. Fumi-shima Island off the coast is one of Japan's most vital rookeries for the black-tailed gull.

 

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    Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium japonicum)

     

    Seen beneath stands of temperate deciduous trees (e.g. Japanese beech, Mongolian oak), these flowers can be found near the peak of Mt. Kenashi, Okinoshima Island, and on Mt. Daisen in spring. 

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    Daisen Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidate)

     

    A variety of Japanese yew found in the mountains on the coast of the Sea of Japan. These conifers are designated as a Special Natural Monument.

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    Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)

     

    Thousands of black-tailed gulls gather on Fumijima Island, in Hinomisaki Bay off the western tip of the Shimane Peninsula, from early November to July to breed. They can be seen from the nearby viewpoint.

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    Oki Salamander

     

    This Asiatic salamander is unique to Oki. Limited to streams on Dogo, they are therefore designated as a Natural Monument of the town.

Culture 

Mt. Daisen has been worshipped as a sacred mountain since ancient times. With age-old historic sites, temples and shrines across the mountainside, it is an awe-inspiring place. The Mt. Daisen Natsuyama Summer Festival is held every June at the summit to pray for mountaineering safety. On its eve, 2,000 people carry torches down the path at Ogamiyama Shrine. At the triennial Daisen Miyuki Festival, held since the Heian period (the 8th to 12th century), participants parade down the path in traditional attire, carrying intricate portable shrines called mikoshi.

 

Mt. Mitoku Nageiredo Hall

 

Mt. Mitoku is home to a group of religious buildings related to mountain worship. Nageiredo Hall, part of Sanbutsuji Temple and located on the top the mountain, is a mysterious wooden structure built into the cliffside. The exact date of construction is not known, but many believe that it was built by the founder of the ascetic-shamanist tradtion Shugendo, En no Ozuno. Shinto rituals are still practiced in the Okinoshima Islands and the Shimane Peninsula. Visitors can observe and take part in activities such as the Oki Shrine evening prayers and Miho Shrine morning worship. 

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    Seasonal Information

     

    With sea kayaking, cycling, stream climbing, conservation activities and pleasure boats—Daisen-Oki National Park is an outdoor adventurer's paradise in the spring, summer and early fall. Hiking is extremely popular in the park as well, particularly up Mt. Daisen. Winter brings opportunities for skiing and snowshoeing in the snow-covered landscape.

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    Mt. Daisen is enchanting throughout the year thanks to spring's greenery, opportunities for mountaineering in summer, the colored leaves of autumn, and skiing in winter.

About the Park 

Daisen-Oki National Park encompasses different types of landforms across three prefectures in Japan, from the mountainous areas of Mt. Daisen and Mt. Hiruzen and the coastal area of the Shimane Peninsula to the Oki Islands.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: February 1, 1936 
  • Area: 35,353 ha (353.53 square kilometers)
  • Location: Tottori, Shimane and Okayama prefectures

VISITOR INFORMATION CENTERS 

Daisen-Oki National Park has three main information centers. Daisen National Park Center and Daisen Town Tourist Information Center are in the northern part of the park in the Daisen area. The Hiruzen Information Service is in the southern part of the park in the Hiruzen Highland.

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to the national parks are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you. 
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants. 
  • Do not feed the wild animals. 
  • Hunting is not permitted. 
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking. 
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas.
  • Camping is only permitted at designated campgrounds.
  • Driving off-road is not permitted.
  • For the protection of flora and fauna, do not step off the boardwalks and footpaths.
  • During the winter season, visitors to Daisen-ji Temple Ski Resort are advised to use the Makihara parking lot or shuttle bus services when the Daisen-ji Temple parking lot exceeds capacity. 
  • When hiking, please be sure to have sufficient equipment, make a detailed plan, and submit a hiking log at the trailhead.
  • The only toilet facilities along the Mt. Daisen mountain path are located at the shelter on the summit of Mt. Misen. Be fully prepared for your hike prior to setting off and use a plastic bag or toilet waste bag when no toilet is available.