The vast Joshin’etsukogen National Park contains highlands, mountains and marshes that are home to a plethora of alpine and subalpine flora and fauna. The slopes of active volcanoes like Mount Kusatsu-Shirane are flecked with mountain ash, heathberry and bog whortleberry. The forests include a mix of broadleaf deciduous trees and subalpine coniferous trees.

Mammals living in the park include Asiatic black bears, Japanese serows, Japanese macaques and Japanese stoats. The area also attracts birds of prey such as golden eagles and mountain hawk-eagles.


Shijuhachiike Marsh

Mount Naeba and the Shiga Highlands boast several high-altitude lakes and marshes. Shijuhachiike Marsh, up at 1,890 meters, is a treasure trove of alpine plants. Among them are hare's-tail cottongrass, beachhead iris and the carnivorous round-leaved sundew.

High Moor

Subalpine Coniferous Forest

Areas at elevations of 1,700 meters, such as Mount Shigayama, are typically covered in subalpine coniferous forests of Japanese hemlock and Maries' fir. Erman's birch also grows throughout the highland areas of the park.

Conifers on Mount Shiga


Japanese Serow

Japanese serows (Capricornis crispus) resemble deer, but in fact they're more closely related to cows. Their wide hooves allow them to easily climb up steep slopes. These solitary creatures can sometimes be spotted near the park's hiking trails. They are considered a Special Natural Monument.

Japanese serow

Japanese Macaque

Japanese macaques are native to Japan, and are commonly known as "snow monkeys" because many inhabit cold, snowy regions. They often bathe in the hot springs of Jigokudani Yaen-Koen to stay warm in the winter.

Japanese macaques bathing in a hot spring

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