National Parks of Japan

Part 5

Joshin'etsukogen National Park

Joshin'etsukogen National Park is a national park in the Chubu region of the main island of Honshu, Japan formed around several active and dormant volcanoes. The park spans the mountainous areas of Gunma, Nagano, and Niigata prefectures. The name of the park refers to the two mountain ranges that makes up the park. It is divided into two separate areas: the Southern Niigata/North Nagano Area and the East Nagano Area. Joshin'etsukogen National Park was established in 1949, and significantly expanded in 1956 to include the Myoko-Togakushi mountainous region.

The Southern Niigata/North Nagano Area, also referred to as the Myoko-Togakushi area, encompasses the active volcano Mount Myoko (2,466 m), Mount Kurohime (2,053 m), Mount Iizuna (1,917 m) and Mount Togakushi (1,911 m). Southwest Mikuni Mountain Range Area includes Mount Tanigawa (1,963 m) and two active volcanoes -- Mount Kusatsu-Shirane (2,162 m) and Mount Asama (2,542 m). Mount Asama is the most active volcano on Honshu island. The Joshin'etsukogen National Park is a popular tourist destination for skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, and onsen hot spring resorts. The Eastern Area holds the popular skiing areas of Sugadaira and Shiga Kogen. The Shiga-Kusatsu-Kogen Ridge Highway traverses this section of the park, connecting the Yamanouchi Hot Springs, including the onsens of Yudanaka, in the north with the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture in the south.

Chubusangaku National Park

Chubusangaku National Park is a national park in the Chubu region, Japan. It was established around the Hida Mountains and encompasses parts of Nagano, Gifu, Toyama and Niigata prefectures. It was designated a national park on December 4, 1934. The Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps make up the majority of the park. There are many points in the Hida Mountains within the park that are above 3,000 m, including the Norikura Plateau, Mount Hotaka and Mount Tate.

The park is home to numerous gorges, ravines, and dramatically shaped escarpments. The Park has become the most important hiking area in Japan. The Chubusangaku National Park provides spectacular alpine vistas in every season. Popular destinations in the park include Kamikochi, a highland plateau famous for its beautiful mountain scenery; the unique Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route; and Hakuba, one of Japan's leading ski resort. The park is also loved for its outstanding hot springs and autumn colors.

Myoko-Togakushi renzan National Park

Myoko-Togakushi renzan National Park is a national park in Niigata Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2015, and formerly part of Joshin'etsukogen National Park, the park comprises an area of 39,772 ha in the municipalities of Itoigawa and Myoko in Niigata Prefecture and Iizuna, Nagano, Otari, and Shinano in Nagano Prefecture. These areas were designated as a new park primarily because their landscape differs from the landscape in the Joshin'etsukogen National Park and their usage is different from the way in which the area to the east is used. Prominent features of the park include Mount Myoko, Mount Togakushi, Mount Amakazari, Mount Iizuna, Mount Kurohime, Niigata-Yake-Yama, and Lake Nojiri.

In addition to these mountains, moreover, the region features plateaus and wetlands unfolding at their bases to create diverse vistas. It is for these reasons that the park is promoted as “A cluster of volcanic and non-volcanic mountains—peaks and lakes forged by Mother Nature in harmonious combination.” The area is also known for its wetland scenery, including Lake Nojiriko, and for the fossils of Palaeoloxodon naumanni prehistoric elephants that are found there.

Hakusan National Park

Hakusan National Park is a national park in the Chubu region, Japan. Established in 1962, it spans the borders of Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, and Toyama Prefectures. Its main geographical feature is Mount Haku. This 2,702 meters high mountain at the center of the Park is the country's tallest peak west of the Japanese Alps. It is also considered one of the country's three most sacred mountains along with Mount Fuji and Mount Tateyama. Covered in snow for over half of the year, Hakusan becomes a popular hiking destination during the climbing season from June to October. In 1980 an area of 480 km² corresponding to the National Park was designated a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve.

The vegetation of the park ranges from warm temperate to alpine zones. The base of the mountains is covered by coniferous forests, dominated by firs, pines (Pinus aristata) and Japanese cedar Deciduous forests and woodlands, dominated by Mongolian oak and Japanese Beech are also present. At higher elevations there are also open landscapes. Hakusan is home to the golden eagle, the mountain hawk-eagle and several larger mammal species typical for the Japanese Islands, like Japanese macaque, Asiatic black bear, Japanese serow and Sika deer.

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See Also
Encyclopedia of Japan