This is one of the last natural beech forests left in East Asia. One of the main features of the Shirakami-sanchi area is the rough mountainous landscape cut through with deep gorges by its numerous rivers. The area is peppered with valleys and waterfalls including the Mase Valley, Anmon Falls and Daira-kyo Gorge and attracts many anglers and trekkers. It is also home to some of the most unique plants in the world, as well as rare animals including a protected species of dormouse, the black woodpecker, Japanese serow and golden eagle.
When to visit
The best season to visit this area is in the summer when there is plenty of water in the rivers or in the fall when the mountains turn red with tinted leaves. The fall colors in the valleys viewed from the top of a gigantic bridge are breathtakingly beautiful. The course taking in the Anmon Falls that form a 3-step waterfall (approx. 1 hr. 10 min. one-way hike up a well-tended path) is extremely popular with people who enjoy walking.
There are also full-fledged climbing courses to reach mountain summits such as Shirakami-dake and Tengu-dake, so why not try one of these if you are a keen climber. The Shirakami-sanchi Visitor Center, which operates as a tourist information office, also has much to offer. The wildlife and ecosystem of Shirakami-sanchi are presented in 3D models, and the charms of Shirakami-sanchi can be viewed on a huge screen in a 30-min. film shown 5 times a day in the visual experience hall.