Oze National Park

Japan's most extensive mountain wetlands

Oze National Park has a long history. In 1934, it was designated part of Nikko National Park, and then in 2007 the two were separated. It was combined with surrounding areas, such as Mt. Aizu-Komagatake, Mt. Tashiro, and Mt. Taishaku, to create Japan’s 29th designated national park.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Oze National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not 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

The Oze area is a mountainous region which was formed through the eruptions of the Oze volcanoes. Lake Ozenuma and Ozegahara Plateau are volcanic high moors formed by the damming of a depression by ejecta from volcanic eruptions. Ozegahara Plateau is central to this landform which comprises Honshu’s largest (around 760 ha) mountain marsh.

DON'T MISS

  • A trip to the roaring Senjo-no-Taki Falls
  • Walking along the boardwalk on the Ozegahara Plateau in August
  • Panoramic views from the top of Mt. Kasagatake

To the north of Lake Ozenuma and Ozegahara Plateau lie Mt. Hiuchigatake—the highest peak in northern Japan at 2,356 m—and Mt. Keizuru; to the west lie Mt. Shibutsu, Mt. Koshibutsu, and Mt. Kasagatake; to the south lies Mt. Nikura; and to the east lie Mt. Monomi and Mt. Kinunuma. This series of precipitous ridges reflect the mountains’ golden years.

MT. KASAGATAKE

To reach the summit, follow the mountain trail from Hatomachi Pass to Mt. Shibutsu and take the trail that branches off along the way at Oyamazawatashiro. Fields of flowers spread out around the trails, and from the summit you can enjoy a 360º panoramic view including not only Mt. Shibutsu and Mt. Hiuchigatake, but also Mt. Joshu-Hotaka in the distance.

AYAMEDAIRA MARSH

Ayamedaira Marsh covers a broad, gradual ridge on the south side of Ozegahara Plateau. Because of the high altitude, snow melts slowly and flowers bloom intensely for short periods of time. The colonies of Narthecium asiaticum that bloom in July and August are especially spectacular, creating a heavenly paradise.

WILDLIFE

The park is located at a point where north-south and Pacific Ocean-Japan Sea zones connect. As with its flora, the national park has a diversity of fauna. In particular, many large mammals can be observed here, including the Japanese serow and Asian black bear, which prefer rich forest environments.

About the Park 

Oze has faced the threat of development numerous times. However, its precious nature has been preserved through the cooperation of many people, and the park is often referred to as the starting point for nature conservation in Japan.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: August 30, 2007
  • Area: 37,200 ha (372 square kilometers)
  • Location: Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Niigata prefectures

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Oze 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.
  • Collecting deadwood is prohibited by law.
  • You may not pick up a stick from the ground to use as a walking staff.
  • Do not stray from the wooden footpaths, and enter the marsh.
  • Use bear bells when walking to alert the bears to your presence.
  • Camping outside of designated camping grounds in Oze is prohibited.
  • Be sure to bring sufficient equipment and carefully plan your accommodation before entering the mountain area.