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Goin’ Japanesque!

Scenic Route Through Oze: Experience 4 Prefectures in 1 Trip

Oze is a national park that stretches across 4 prefectures: Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma and Niigata. It is Japan’s largest highland marsh and is known for its rare and precious plants and wildlife. It is also known for the beautiful scenery that changes with the seasons. Now would be a perfect time to go to enjoy the fall foliage.

Being only a few hours away from Tokyo, it makes for the perfect weekend trip. Depending on how confident you are, you can take an easy day trip, or take the strenuous route and spend a night in the mountain lodge.

Feeling a bit confident after climbing Mount Fuji, I decided to spend the weekend hiking through Oze to see 2 waterfalls. 

If you want to know more about my weekend adventure in Mount Fuji, check out this article! Part 1, Part 2 

 

Day 1

Oze
There are several entrances into the area and several different hiking courses. I entered the area from the Oshimizu entrance, which is on the Gunma side.

 

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Iwashimizu

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They have a little cup for you so you can drink water from the natural spring. 

 

Sanpei Toge

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Ozenuma Visitor Center

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There are several mountain huts like this here and there where you can buy snacks, drinks and souvenirs.

But mostly, it’s just walking, walking, walking among beautiful scenery.

 

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Ozenuma

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The First Signs of Fall

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I went in early September. You should be able to see more red leaves by now. Eventually, the whole area will be covered in red fall foliage!

 

Dinner

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I stayed at a mountain lodge in the Akatashiro area. We started in Gunma Prefecture, but this area is already in the Fukushima Prefecture.

We chose this place because it has an onsen. And also so that we could leave early the next morning to head to the waterfalls!

 

Day 2

The Hazy Morning

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Because of the location of the lodge, we would not see a sunrise. 

 

Waterfall: Hiranume No Taki

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After a short walk of about 30 minutes from the lodge, we came to this first waterfall.

 

Waterfall: Sanjyo No Taki

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This second waterfall was one of the highlights of our trip. It is a waterfall with a 100 meter drop! Also known to some as the Niagara falls of Japan.

A 30 minute walk from the 1st waterfall, but definitely a bit more strenuous. This by the way is right along the border of Fukushima Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture. 

See it in action!

 

Yoppi Tsuribashi Bridge

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The Marshlands

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Hitsujigusa: Pygmy Waterlily

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This is a type of flower that can be seen in the area from Mid August to Mid September. So delicate and cute. The area is actually really famous for the mizubasho or skunk cabbage. You would have to go around May or June to see those.

 

Hatomachi Toge

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And finally back at Hatomachi toge. We took the bus from here to Tokura.

 

Tokura

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Here, we took a bath at the bath house, picked up our rental car and headed back to the train station. Gunma is an area that is known for onsen (hot springs) . It would be great to stop by an onsen after your trip to Oze too! 

It was a nice weekend trip to enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife. It is said that depending on the season you visit, you get an entirely different experience because of the different flowers in bloom. 

In October it would be great to see the amazing view of the entire area covered in the colors of fall. Next time, I’m thinking about climbing the Shifutsu-san Mountain, which is about a 6 to 8 hour mountain hike. Hope to see you in Oze!! Information: Map

Related: Shinjuku Gyoen; Nature within the Heart of the City

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Kimi

About the author

Kimi is a Japanese living in Tokyo. She has spent half her life living overseas in New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Her hobbies are traveling, eating, drinking and beautifying. She enjoys yoga and has a daily goal of running 6.5 km to offset her love of beer and junk food.

View all articles by Kimi
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