The Shirakami Sanchi is a large area in the mountains of Northern Honshu straddling the two prefectures of Aomori and Akita. It contains a primeval beech forest which was the main reason the area was declared one of the first World Heritage Sites in Japan in 1993.
The main attraction for visitors is the many hiking trails that give access to the beautiful forests, waterfalls, mountain peaks and lakes of the area.
A popular trail leads to the Anmon Falls which are a set of three waterfalls which are sited at increasing heights on the trail and the waterfalls also increase in height. It takes about 90 minutes to complete the climb. Also popular are the “Juniko” (twelve lakes) connected by hiking trails and in this area visitors can hike, fish, boat and camp around the lakes and ponds.
Near the entrance to Juniko is the Nihon Canyon, Japan’s miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Note that from late November to March the roads to these two sites are closed and the area inaccessible.
Many of the hiking trails are only accessible by car. Those which are close to public transport or are close to trailheads include Mount Futatsumori which gives wonderful views of the main World Heritage area; Mount Shirakamidake, the tallest mountain in the area; Dairakyo Gorge which leads to Mount Komagatake.
The heart of the Shirakami Sanchi forest is the protected World Heritage area that is not usually visited by tourists. This is the beech forest area and requires a permit obtainable by mail at least seven days in advance.
Information in English is not easily available. The best places are the World Heritage Conservation Centre in Fujisato, Akita which has a museum about forests and the Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Centre between Hirosaki and the Anmon Falls which has good English information and an IMAX theatre showing a movie on the beech forests.
We can provide professional interpreters who have a guide-interpreter license at your request.
The tour guide interpreters have accurate knoeledge about Japanese culture, tradition and other points of interest.