National Parks of Japan

Part 3

Sanriku Fukko (reconstruction) National Park

Sanriku Fukko (reconstruction) National Park is a national park extending along the Sanriku Coast of Japan from Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture through Iwate Prefecture to Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture. The Sanriku Coast is a dramatic, rocky shoreline with countless bays, cliffs and coves that stretches for over 200 kilometers along the Pacific Coast of the Tohoku Region. Due to its natural beauty, the coastline has long been a popular tourist attraction.

Created in 2013 in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, it incorporates the former Rikuchu Kaigan National Park and Tanesashi Kaigan Hashikamidake Prefectural Natural Park. In 2014 the Ministry of the Environment plans to extend the park to include Minami Sanriku Kinkasan Quasi-National Park. Subsequently the park will be extended to include Kesennuma Prefectural Natural Park, Kenjosan Mangokuura Prefectural Natural Park, and Matsushima Prefectural Natural Park.

Bandai-Asahi National Park

Bandai-Asahi National Park is a national park in the Tohoku region, Japan. The park site straddles over Fukushima Prefecture, Yamagata Prefecture, and Niigata Prefecture. The park was designated as a national park on September 5, 1950. The park encompasses 186,404 ha of land (the third largest national park in Japan), consisting of three independent units: the Dewasanzan-asahi Region, Iide Region, and Bandaiazuma-Inawashiro Region.

There are different types of volcanic mountains in the park area. Some have been adored as hallowed grounds and visited by many worshipers since old times, and some maintain most of their natural environment untouched as they are so steep that only experienced climbers can reach their summits. There are some volcanoes that changed their shapes after eruptions in the 19th century. As it is an area of heavy snowfall, large patches of snow can be seen even in summer in valleys on the lava plateau on the south side of the mountains.

Nikko National Park

Nikko National Park is a national park in the Kanto region, Japan. The park spreads over four prefectures: Tochigi, Gunma, Fukushima, and Niigata. The park is considered one of the most beautiful in Japan, and is a popular tourist destination. The establishment of Nikko National Park dates to the early 20th century. The Diet of Japan designated Nikko an imperial park in 1911. The National Parks Law was passed in 1931, and Nikko National Park was established in 1934. The park was expanded throughout the 20th century. Oze National Park was once part of Nikko National Park, but became a separate national park in 2007.

Nikko National Park continues to offer scenic, mountainous landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, hot springs, wild monkeys and hiking trails. Nikko area around Lake Chuzenji, in particular, are well known for their beautiful autumn colors of Japanese maple. In the average year the colors start descending from the higher elevations of Yumoto Onsen in early October, are best around Lake Chuzenji and the Irohazaka road in mid to late October and reach the town of Nikko in the first half of November. Beyond its striking scenery, the park is noted for its historical Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, most notably the Nikko Tosho-gu shrine and Rinno-ji temple. They are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the "Shrines and Temples of Nikko".

Oze National Park

Oze National Park, is an area consisting of open Greenland in Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma and Niigata Prefectures in Japan. The park is 372 square km in area and is the 29th national park in Japan. Oze National Park is an excellent hiking destination in the mountains about 150 kilometers north of Tokyo. Its most well known features are the Ozegahara Marshland and the Ozenuma Pond at an altitude of 1400 meters in the border area between four different prefectures. A number of surrounding mountains are also included within the park.

The park is extremely popular during the blooming of skunk cabbages in the late spring and early summer and during the fall colors of early autumn, whereas in the winter it is covered in deep snow and is rarely visited. The park has numerous trailheads through which visitors can enter the park. The trails are well maintained, and there are wide elevated boardwalks that pass over the Ozegahara Marshland and around Ozenuma Pond. Hiking from the Hatomachitoge trailhead past the marshland and pond to the Oshimizu trailhead can be done in six to eight hours by decent hikers, and there are no overly difficult inclines.

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See Also
Encyclopedia of Japan