What is the World Heritage Site “Shirakami-Sanchi” ?
Shirakami-Sanchi is a natural environment conservation area including a national park where untouched nature kept.
In a vast mountains area (approximately 130,000 hectares), which spans the southwestern part of Aomori Prefecture and the northwestern part of Akita Prefecture,
the primeval beech forest (approximately 17 thousand hectares) in it is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
The characteristics of the beech forest that led to the registration are…
・One of the largest primeval forests in East Asia.
・The ecosystem is maintained from the Jomon period (around Middle Stone Age, Neolithic Age) to the present.
・Especially the core of the forest is in good condition of the primeval forest.
From these points, evaluations are increasing both in Japan and overseas.
Here are seven walking courses to enjoy the Shirakami-Sanchi.
①The World Heritage Beech Forest Trail (time required : about 1-2 hours)
②Anmon Valley Route (one-way approx. 1 hour 10 minutes)
③Beech Gene Sanctuary Nature Trail (time required : about 1 hour 10 minutes)
④Mother Tree Course (time required : about 30 minutes)
⑤Shirakami-Sanchi View Course (time required : about 3.5~4.5 hours)
⑥Juniko Lake Walking Course (time required : about 1 hour 30 minutes)
⑦Kurokuma Falls Course (time required : about 15 minutes)
This is the Anmon Valley Route : The second waterfall of Anmon
This time, I would like to introduce you to the “Anmon Valley Route” that you want to visit in the summer.
Anmon Valley Route recommend for Summer
It is a course that walks along the riverside surrounded by beech forest while aiming for waterfalls,
you can also cool down by entering the waterfall on the way, it is ideal for refreshing.
The fresh greens and autumn leaves are beautiful, but it is special to walk in the cool greenery of summer.
Directions / Access
The starting point is a five-minutes walk from the accommodation called Aqua Green Village ANMON.
How to get to ANMON
About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Owani Hirosaki Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.
by Public transportation
About 1 hour and 40 minutes by bus from JR Hirosaki Station (with transit)
First of all, at the start of the course,
sign hiking registration and rent a helmet (100 yen).
(It doesn’t seem to be compulsory, but for your safety.)
There is a spot near the entrance where you can drink spring water, so please drop in.
Point of walk / How to enjoy
I saw some people dressed lightly, but there were places to watch out for falling rocks and places where the feet were slippery,
so it would be nice to have trekking clothes and shoes, and sports towels to wipe off sweat.
The walking course is moderately paved and you can walk with sneakers, and it is 2.8 km one way,
so even beginners can easily challenge it.
Proceed through the beech forest in the sunshine and walk around the river for about 45 minutes to see “the third waterfall”.
The waterfalls are numbered 3, 2, and 1 from downstream to upstream.
※This is the third waterfall of Anmon
Take a break while looking up at the waterfall from the bottom and feeling splash.
There are stairs from here, and it becomes a little steep road, but there are auxiliary ropes and so on, so you can proceed smoothly.
On the way from “the third waterfall” to the next, there are points where you can look down on the waterfall from above.
This is very powerful and superb view.
After a 10 minutes walk, you will reach “the second waterfall”,
and in about 15 minutes walk from there you will reach the largest waterfall, “the first waterfall”.
※This is the first waterfall of Anmon
“The first waterfall” is a wonderful waterfall with a maximum fall difference of 42m,
and it felt good just by walking down the sidewalk and misty splashes of water.
Towels are essential in case it gets wet.
Beech forests in the Shirakami-Sanchi are known for their ability to recharge water resources and prevent surface erosion.
It is said that even in the case of a historical water shortage,
the storage capacity of beech forests has saved the Tohoku region (the north area of main island of Japan) from starvation.
If you take a walk after knowing the value of beech forests, you will be even more impressed.
By the way, it is also a nationally designated wildlife sanctuary, and despite the high latitudes,
a wild variety of animals and plants survive.
If you are lucky, you may encounter rare birds and animals.
Learn deeper and more fun
(Shirakami-Sanchi Visitor Center)
There is an information center and facility experience called “Shirakami-Sanchi Visitor Center” located about 16km,
25 minutes by car from the starting point of ANMON.
It is also a good idea to stop by the beginning of your trip and gather information.
There is also a large video monitor and experience corner where you can learn about the beech crafts,
the industry that the forest has brought to the area, and the relationship with people’s lives.
※Experience corner : Free, English notation
※Large video monitor : Paid, English translation is possible with prior consultation
Day-use hot spring Anmon-no-Yu
After the trek, return to the starting point, ANMON, where you can take a break at the souvenir counter or rest area. ANMON has a Day-use hot spring called “Anmon-no-Yu” and cottages and other accommodation facilities, so you can heal the tiredness of trekking and recharge with plenty of natural energy. ※Anmon-no-Yu (closed in winter) Utilization time : 9:00~17:00 Bathing fee : Adult 550yen, Child 350yen Rental of towels etc.
All courses are beautiful every season
This time, I took up the “Anmon Valley Route”, but on the other courses you can see the beautiful Juniko Lake and Aoike Pond from spring to autumn.
The experience of walking in the beautiful and powerful ecosystem of the Shirakami-Sanchi,
which is becoming precious on a global scale, is wonderful and worth visiting many times,
and it can be said that it is truly a famous place in Japan.