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Shirakami Mountains

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Shirakami Mountains
白神山地
Shirakami.jpg
Physical characteristics
Summit Height1,231.9 m
MunicipalitiesFujisato
Location in Akita
Location in Akita

The Shirakami Mountains (白神山地;-sanchi) is a mountainous expanse of virgin forest on the borders of Akita and Aomori. A section of the mountains (169.7 km² out of 1300 km²) was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Because of its status as a World Heritage Site, these sections of the mountains are inaccessible without a permit.

Climbing Mount Shirakami

At 1,231.9m (4,041.6 feet), Mt. Shirakami (白神岳;-dake) is the highest peak in the area. Shirakamidake itself is not part of the World Heritage Site and, as such, can be climbed without applying for permission.

Mt. Shirakami

Those who wish to climb should take the train to Shirakamidake-Tozanguchi Station (白神岳登山口, lit: Shirakamidake Climbing Entrance Station) The station is on the Gono Line, and can be reach directly from trains leaving Noshiro station.

From the station it is 30 minutes to the trailhead which is 2km from the peak. 7-8 hours should be enough time to reach the peak and come back down comfortably from the station. There is a shelter and a toilet on the trail, but due to climbers' inability to reach other peaks, they are said to suffer from overuse. At the peak you can see the sprawling inner area of the mountains that is off limits.

Other Attractions

From the Shirakami-sanchi visitor-center (Location), there are a variety of other attractions that can be enjoyed.

  • Anmon-no-Taki Waterfall (暗門の滝) A beautiful 3-layered waterfall that is about 1:30 hike from the center. Trail is very well marked.
  • IMAX Theater for ¥200, you can see an IMAX film about the area.

Entering the protected areas

To access the protected buffer zone around the World Heritage Site, visitors need to apply for a permit from the Aomori Office of the Tohoku Regional Forest Office Access to protected buffer zone, around the World Heritage site, requires a permit from the Aomori office of the Tohoku Regional Forest Office (☎ 017-781-2117 Website) The majority of the areas attractions do not require a permit to enjoy, but you should check beforehand if a permit is necessary.

See also