Mysterious forest registered as Japan’s first World Natural Heritage Site.
Extending from southwest Aomori Prefecture to northwest Akita Prefecture (located to the south of Aomori Prefecture), the Shirakami-sanchi mountain range spans 130,000 hectares. Here is the world's largest remaining virgin beech forest, where a unique ecosystem has been preserved. It was evaluated and registered as a World Natural Heritage Site in 1993. Shirakami-sanchi has become a popular spot, visited by trekking enthusiasts from all over the world. Here you can enjoy the various expressions of nature in all four seasons.
12 courses in total. Choose from walking trails and mountain-trekking courses.
To enjoy the untouched nature of Shirakami-sanchi, it is best to follow a course. For an easy walk, try either the Anmon-no-taki (Dark Gate Waterfall) Trail, which includes three waterfalls, or the Mother Tree Course, which visits a massive 400-year-old beech tree. If full-scale mountain trekking is your thing, try the Takakura-mori Nature Watching Trail, which follows along a beech-forested ridge, or the Mt. Shirakamidake Trail & Lake Juniko Course, with great views over the Sea of Japan and the lake. Whichever you choose, the Shirakami-sanchi Visitor Center should be your first stop. There you can get guide maps.
The mysterious Aoike Pond shines cobalt blue.
When you arrive at Shirakami-sanchi, you should make your way to Lake Juniko. This is a group of 33 lakes nestled into a natural forest at an elevation of 150m or so. Although “Juniko” actually means “twelve lakes,” it received this name because twelve lakes were showing their faces when viewed from faraway Mt. Kuzureyama. When you visit Lake Juniko, you should definitely see Aoike Pond, which shines cobalt blue. The blue tint of this strange pond perpetually changes, depending on the time of day. Although a guide is required, Aoike Pond shimmers an even deeper blue in winter, making this a fantastic recommendation.
Shirakami-sanchi Visitor Center
- 61-1 Tashiro Kanda, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, Aomori-ken
- Opening hours
- April 1–October 31 8:30 A.M. to 5 P.M.
November 1–March 31 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
- Open seven days a week
- Admission is free
- Aomori Airport is a 50-minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
- Aomori Airport is a 105-minute flight from Osaka International (Itami) Airport.
- Hirosaki Station is 55 minutes by shuttle bus from Aomori Airport.
- The Shirakami-Sanchi Visitor Center is 1 hour by the direct Konan bus (bound for Tsugaru-toge) from Hirosaki Station.