How to Get There
Oze National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and hiking fans. The park is located north of Tokyo, primarily in Gunma and Fukushima prefectures, spilling into Niigata and Tochigi prefectures, too. The most popular attractions in the park are Ozegahara Marshland and Ozenuma Pond, which are reached by hiking from trailheads that are also gateways to other trails in the park. It takes 4 hours to the Gunma Prefecture trailheads and about 5 hours to the Fukushima Prefecture trailhead from Tokyo by public transportation. Renting a car and booking an overnight stay will make life more comfortable.
Oze National Park makes an excellent day trip from Tokyo, but you’ll need to leave early and plan your journey well. An overnight stay in one of the park’s mountain huts or a nearby city will allow a more relaxed visit.
Renting a car once you arrive at Jomo Kogen Station will also allow you to avoid waiting for buses.
There are two trailheads in Gunma Prefecture. The Ozegahara Marshland is about a one-hour walk from the Hatomachitoge Trailhead, while Ozenuma Pond is a two-hour walk from the Oshimizu Trailhead. Both trailheads also provide access to other hikes, ranging from walks that last a few hours to multi-day treks. If you’re taking public transportation, the simplest way to reach the park is by direct bus from Kanetsu Kotsu (4 hr). The bus stops near the Oshimizu Trailhead, which is the entrance to Ozenuma Pond, as well as Tokura, from which you can reach the Hatomachitoge trailhead to Ozegahara Marshland via a 25-minute shuttle ride. If you'd prefer to ride the train the majority of the way, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Station (1 hr 15 min), a bus from the station to Tokura (2 hr) and then another bus to the Hatomachitoge trailhead or the Oshimizu Trailhead (25 min).
From the Fukushima Prefecture trailhead, Numayamatoge, it's about an hour's walk to Ozenuma Pond. Access the Numayamatoge Trailhead from Tokyo via the Tobu Railway Express and get off at Aizukogen-ozeguchi Station (3 hr). From there, take the local Aizu Bus to Miike (2 hr), then change to a shuttle bus (20 min). You can also reach Miike by car from Nasushiobara Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen (2 hr 30 min).
Tourists often combine visits to Oze National Park and Nikko in a single trip due to their proximity. A rental car facilitates this, as driving from the main Nikko area to the Gunma Prefecture trailheads in Oze National Park is an easy ride along National Route 120. Alternatively, Kanetsu Transportation operates an infrequent bus service from various regions in Nikko to areas within Oze National Park. Be sure to check the schedules, as you may need to change buses at the Kamata bus stop.
To get to Fukushima Prefecture's Numayamatoge Trailhead by public transport, take a train from Nikko Station to Aizukogen-ozeguchi Staton (2 hr), then take Aizu Bus to Miike (2 hr). By car, it takes 2 hours and 30 minutes from Nikko to Miike. Take route 121 from Nikko City to Minamiaizu-machi in Fukushima Prefecture and get on route 352 to Miike.
Kanetsu Transportation provides bus service for much of the Gunma side of the park, where you’ll enter if traveling from Tokyo. Routes, timetables and sample itineraries are available on the company’s English-language website.
The Fukushima side of the park is served by Aizu Bus, which operates from Aizukogen-ozeguchi Station to Miike once per hour daily. Information on the Aizu Bus is only available on their website in Japanese as of 2019.
Both companies' services are infrequent, so consider renting a car from the Jomo Kogen Station and Nasushiobara Station areas. Note that much of the public transportation does not operate in winter, and some roads are also closed.