The Shirakami mountain range is a wide mountainous region straddling Akita and Aomori Prefectures.
This region boasts the largest-scale untouched virgin beech forest in the world. A wide variety of animals and plants inhabit it; in recognition of its natural value it was registered in 1993 as a World Natural Heritage Site, the first in Japan.
In order to protect the Shirakami mountain range’s natural environment there are areas which have restricted admission. There are numerous courses open to the public, ranging from 1-hour roundtrip courses to 8-hour authentic mountain climbing courses. For long courses you can request a guide so you can enjoy your trip while being safe. In addition to mountain climbing and trekking, depending on the seasons you can also enjoy activities such as rafting. What we recommend is that you come in June when the beech trees are budding, and October is also good for the beautiful fall foliage. The temperature is fairly low and even in summer a coat is required. Also, when you are going mountain climbing, please be absolutely sure to follow the required process to enter the mountain.
Another way to enjoy Shirakami is via train. Aomori Prefecture’s Kawabe Station is connected to Akita Prefecture’s Higashi-Noshiro Station via the Gono Line, which allows riders to enjoy waterside views of the Sea of Japan and Shirakami mountain range, among other beautiful sights. The sightseeing train Resort Shirakami is also available, this train takes a 5-hour trip from Aomori Station to Akita Station. Within the train there are performances of the Tsugaru region’s traditional music “Tsugaru Shamisen” and you can also enjoy chatting it up with locals who speak in a local dialect called “Tsugaru-ben.”
From the nearby Aomori Airport it’s a 55 minute bus ride to Hirosaki Station. If you’re taking the Shinkansen you get off at Shin-Aomori Station and then take a train to Hirosaki Station. Shin-Aomori Station is 3 hours from Tokyo, and about 1 hour from Hokkaido’s Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station.
Map: Shirakami Sanchi