Shirakami Sanchi constitutes a vast mountain range, but its core features are the virgin beech forests. They are the last of its kind in Japan.
Location and How to Get to This Specific Site
The simplest way is via Hirosaki at the Aomori Prefecture. You can also reach it from the Akita Prefecture via Noshiro. You can also get there by way of the Akita City train.
You can also fly in direct using Itami Airport at Osaka or Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Once there, you can rent a car to get around. The nearest car rentals are at Odate-Noshiro Airport, Noshiro and Akita.
What to See There
The hiking trails are its biggest attractions. They will lead you to lakes, mountain peaks and waterfalls. The best trail will bring you to the eastern side. Tourists also like to visit the Anmon Falls.
Comprised of three waterfalls, it is 90 minutes away off the trailhead. Another popular hiking trail takes you to Mount Futatsumori. The summit offers one of the best views of the whole site.
The Shirakami Sanchi was one of the first to be included in the World Heritage List. Not all the forests in the area are included in the World heritage List. The reason is that the preservation levels in those parts are not the same as those in the protected portion. To preserve the site, you can only fish by getting permission from the Fishing Cooperative and Forest Management.
There is no admission fee. To watch the IMAX movie, you have to pay 200 Yen. A visit to the virgin forests requires a permit. This must be requested a week before your visit.
The Visitor Center is open from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. From April to December, it is closed every second Monday of each month. From January to March, it is closed every Thursday and Monday. It is also closed from December 29 to January 3.
When you are at Shirakami Sanchi, consider dropping by those Visitor Centers. The World Heritage Conservation Center at Akita in particular, provides valuable information regarding the forests.
The trail along the northwestern side will take you to Mount Shirakamidake. It is the highest peak in the site. It is more challenging and complex than the other trails, but the view is spectacular. The trailhead is half an hour’s walk from the Shirakamidake Tozanguchi station.