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.
It is also known as white god mountain area, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Honshū, Japan. This mountainous, unspoiled expanse of virgin forest straddles both Akita and Aomori Prefectures. Range of mountains reaching an altitude of around 1000 m extends east and west over an area of 130,000 ha that straddles the prefectures of Aomori and Akita. The central area (16,971 ha) in these mountains was registered as a natural heritage site in 1993.
When visiting Shirakami sanchi, please follow the rules of good hiking etiquette such as taking all garbage home, visiting the toilet before going to the mountains and not feeding the animals, in order to protect this precious wilderness. The best time to visit Shirakami Sanchi 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.
Shirakamidake is the highest peak in Shirakami Sanchi. From the summit, fantastic views over the surrounding country can be seen, however the peak itself is not a part of the World Heritage Site and, as such, for visitors permission is not necessary to climb. The summit is equipped with toilet and shelter facilities.
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 center, 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. Species like Black Woodpecker, Japanese Serow, Mountain Hawk-eagle, Golden Eagle, Japanese Macaque, Dormouse and Asiatic Black Bear are found here. There is an entry procedure that must be followed before you are allowed into the core part of the Shirakami sanchi World Heritage Area.
Rivers And Waterfalls
In the summer season there is plenty of water in the rivers or in the fall when the mountains turn red with tinted leaves. The beautiful 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.
Visitors must trek to beautiful Tsugaru quasi-national park. Any beech forests around the world lost much of their ecological diversity due to the formation of continental glaciers some 2 million years ago however, the beech forests and primeval plant population survive in Japan because continental glaciation did not occur here.
The beautiful beech trees are extremely resistant to the weight of heavy snow, allowing these trees to survive the huge snowfalls on the Japan Sea side of the islands. There used to be many beech forests in Japan, but because this wood is not particularly useful as lumber, the trees were cut down after World War II and many beech forests were lost. However, this situation threatens the wellbeing of Asiatic black bears and black woodpeckers, and now there is an active conservation movement to preserve primeval beech forests.
Tags: adventure, Anmon Falls, best time to visit Shirakami-Sanchi, forests, Shirakami-dake, Shirakamidake, tour and adventure at Shirakami-Sanchi, Tsugaru quasi-national park, virgin forest, white god mountain area, wildlife, world heritage
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