Positioned in Japan’s Tohoku Region, Shirakami Sanchi is a picturesque mountain range featuring one of the country’s last remaining virgin beech forests. The region has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its untouched woodland, a landscape that boasts pristine mountain lakes and waterfalls.
One of the most popular hikes is undoubtedly the trek to the three Anmon Falls. The path gradually narrows as it climbs to the highest waterfall, which sits at a height of 42 meters. Another highlight of the park are the Juniko or “twelve lakes”. The Aoike Lake is particularly stunning, with its water a strikingly deep shade of blue. Juniko’s entrance is marked with the Nihon Canyon, featuring sheer walls of dappled brown and grey rocks.
Hiking, boating, camping, and fishing are prime pursuits in this lush wilderness. Visitors can also learn more about the 8000-year-old beech forests at the Juniko Eco-Museum Center. If you’re lucky, you may spot black bears in the wild or one of the 87 species of birds that live in this region.
Although access to the Shirakami Sanchi World Heritage zone is limited to protect its delicate ecosystems, you can visit with a permit obtained by mail or in person.