Mt. Shirakami And The World-Class Virgin Beech Forest

Mt. Shirakami, or Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) is a vast mountain area of 130 hectares that spans from the north of Akita Prefecture to the south of Aomori Prefecture. Mt Shirakami has been listed as a world heritage site as of 1993. It is also a Pilgrimage site for Studio Ghibli fans as the forest in the movie “Princess Mononoke”, is inspired by Mt. Shirakami!

This 8,000 years old mountain area is the home of the world’s largest virgin beech forest. Because this area is almost untouched by human activities, you will find a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna here (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Photo from Aomori prefecture

This precious natural treasure can be roughly divided into 2 areas for tourism purposes. The first area is around the Aqua Village ANMON (アクアグリーンビレッジ ANMON) close to Hirosaki City (弘前) and the other area is closer to the coast of Sea of Japan, which can be accessed by the joyful train – Resort Shirakami (リゾートしらかみ).

Things To Note When You Plan For Your Visit To Mt. Shirakami

  • Trekking routes at Mt. Shirakami are only maintained between April to early November each year. You are still able to access the treks but there won’t be signs to guide you. Having maps of the area downloaded in advance will be really handy as there might not be WiFi reception once you enter the mountain.
  • Most of the hiking trails are closed between early November to the end of May each year. Please refer to the courses’ accessibility on the official website HERE.
  • In June, it is time to enjoy the dazzling spring greenery. But it can still be cold so bring along a jacket!
  • July is Mt. Shirakami’s rainy season. It is also your best chance of witnessing the rare sight of rainwater appearing in a milky white colour as it flows down the trunks of the beech trees.
  • August is the peak season for trekking (together with the summer vacation and stable weather in the area).
  • In October, Mt. Shirakami welcomes the autumn colours. Especially around the promenade that leads to Anmon Taki Falls (暗門滝). The colourful foliage here will create some of the best scenery on Mt. Shirakami. The autumn colour usually peaks from mid to late October.
  • Apart from the “Buffer Area” where it is opened to the general public, Mt. Shirakami also has a “Core Area” that is only accessible by professional mountain hikers. If you are determined to hike through the area where no hiking route is maintained, please refer HERE for the application of a permit. You may also want to refer to the hiking conditions HERE to plan your visit. Note both links are in Japanese.

Tips: as the weather in the mountain can change quite rapidly, having some sort of rain gear and/or a change of clothing will be quite handy. Also, although July and August are the warmer months at Mt. Shirakami, we would still recommend you to have a piece of long sleeve clothing on hand.

Lastly, apart from water, bringing your own lunch, or some snacks should make your trip more smooth and pleasant. This is because you won’t find a convenient store at every other corner like in Tokyo if you are hungry (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Things To Note When You Are At Mt. Shirakami

  • Please stay on the readily made promenade. Wondering freely at Mt. Shirakami can be extremely dangerous.
  • Please treat the wildlife and plants at Mt. Shirakami with extreme care. Picking or trampling plants won’t be appreciated.
  • Please take any of your rubbish back with you.
  • There are no toilets once you are on trekking/hiking routes. If you really have to, you will have to dig a hole for yourself and cover it up afterward…
  • Making a bonfire is prohibited because it is considered a fire hazard.
  • Please don’t bring any animals to Mt. Shirakami. Foreign animals will affect the ecosystem negatively.
  • Fishing is prohibited at Mt. Shirakami due to its World Heritage Status.

Attractions At Mt. Shirakami

How To Access The Attractions Around Aqua Village ANMON

Between June and October each year, this area can be accessed by taking Konan Bus (弘南バス)’s – Shirakami Line (白神ライン) from Hirosaki Bus Terminal (弘前バスタミナール)’s bus stop no. 7 or from JR Hiromae Station (弘前駅前)’s bus stop no. 6.

Tickets can be purchased from Hirosaki Bus Terminal or the Konan Bus Hirosaki Station Information Office (弘南バス 弘前駅前案内所).

Please find more information on Konan Bus’s official website HERE. The website is in Japanese, please let us know HERE if you need assistance.

As the Shirakami Line only has 3 services a day and are not operated in winter, you can also board the service bound for Nishimeya Village Hall (西目屋村役場) departing from bus stop no. 7 at Hirosaki Bus Terminal(弘前バスターミナル). The timetable of this service can be found HERE. And bus fare table can be accessed HERE.

Tips: You will get a discount if you get a return ticket between Hirosaki Bus Terminal and Tsugaru Pass (津軽峠) or Aqua Green Village ANMON (アクアグリーンビレッジ ANMON).

Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Centre

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Centre is said to be the gateway to Mt. Shirakami. Here you will find all the information about the beech forest, the mountain’s ecosystem, what kind of wildlife is living at Mt. Shirakami, and of course, all the hiking and trekking routes that all can enjoy!

The majority of the descriptions of the display in this visitor centre also comes with English translation. So even if you don’t understand Japanese, we are sure you will still be able to get tones of knowledge when you drop by here (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Especially if you plan to hike Mt. Shirakami, stopping by Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Centre will equip you with all the information for you to have a safer hiking trip!

Short Documentary Of Mt. Shirakami’s 4 Seasons

It takes 365 days to be able to experience the four seasons of a place. As tourists, it would be a total luxury to be able to do so at Mt. Shiramakmi… But, with this documentary, you will be able to achieve that in just above 30 minutes!

The documentary is playing at the Centre’s theatre at an hourly interval. It will only cost you 200 yen (100 yen for primary school kids)!

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

Admission Fee, Business Hours & Access

  • With the exception of the theatre, it is free to browse the whole visitor centre.
  • Between the 1st of Apr to the 31st of Oct, the centre is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm daily except the 2nd Monday of each month. If that Monday is a public holiday, then the centre will close on the next business day instead.
  • Between the 1st of Nov to the 31st of Mar, the centre is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm except Monday and Thursday each week. If Monday or Thursday is a public holiday, then the centre will close on the next business day instead.
  • The centre is closed from the 29th of Dec to the 3rd of Jan each year
  • If you are coming to Mt. Shirakami by Konan Bus’s Shirakami Line, please get off at Nishimeya Village Hall (西目屋村役場前). It is a 5 mins walk from the bus stop

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Aqua Green Village ANMON

Aqua Green Village ANMON is a resort village that has various facilities to make visitors’ Mt. Shirakami trip more pleasant.

From Aqua Village Anmon, the below trekking courses can be accessed:

  • World Heritage Beech Forest Trail (ブナ林散策道コース): suitable for all fitness levels.
  • Anmon Valley Route (暗門渓谷ルート): suitable for people who are fitter and have some trekking/hiking experience. Traveling accompanied by a guide is recommended.
Photo from Tohokukanko.jp

Guide Services By Aqua Green Village ANMON

All trekking and hiking courses around the Village can be accompanied by a guide. The pricing for their guide services starts from 9,000 yen. If you are interested, you can book it online HERE (website in Japanese), or send them an email at [email protected]. You can let us know HERE if you need assistance.

Aqua Green Village ANMON’s Facilities

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Apart from the Information Centre in the photo, there are also cottages, campsites, onsens – Anmon-no-Yu (暗門の湯), playgrounds, souvenir shops, and a restaurant!

  • Cottages & Campsites are opened from July to September
  • Restaurant – is opened from July to October between 11 am to 4 pm. We will update this article with whether the restaurant has any vegetarian options closer to July.
  • Onsen – Anmon-no-Yu is opened from July to October between 9 am to 5 pm
  • Information centre and souvenir shop is opened from the 25th of April to the 7th of November between 9 am to 5 pm
Cost of Onsen, Campsite, and Cottage At Aqua Green Village ANMON
  • To utilise Anmon-no-Yu onsen, it costs 550 yen for adults, 350 yen for primary school students, and for people who are older than 65 years old
  • The campsite usage fee is charged based on the seasons. Peak season is between July to September, and the off-season is from the start of the season to the end of June. The start of the season varies each year depends on weather conditions.
  • Check-in is at 12 pm and you have to check-out by 10 am the next day.
  • To use an auto-campsite (meaning a block of space that can fit a motor vehicle and a tent), the following charges apply: a small site costs 1,500 yen (1,100 yen for the off-peak season), medium site costs 1,700 yen (1,300 yen for off-peak season), large site costs 2,000 yen (1,500 yen for off-peak season), and extra-large site costs 2,300 yen (1,700 yen for off-peak season)
  • To use the other campsites where you will only get a space for your tent, it will cost 500 yen regardless of which season you visit.
  • For the pricing plan of cottages, please refer to their booking page HERE. The website is in Japanese, so if you need assistance to book your trip, you can contact us HERE, and we will get back to you.

Note all accommodation at Aqua Green Village comes without meal plans. You will have to bring your own ingredients if you wish to cook. Alternatively, you can get things like cup noodles from the souvenir shop (^_-)-☆

Business Hours & Access

  • Aqua Green Village ANMON is closed between early Nov to late Apr from 9 am to 5 pm
  • If you are coming to Mt. Shirakami by Konan Bus’s Shirakami Line, please get off at Aqua Green Village ANMON (アクアグリーンビレッジ ANMON)

World Heritage Beech Forest Trail

The World Heritage Beech Forest Trail’s entrance is just 5 minutes away from Aqua Village ANMON. Depending on your situation (fitness level, time constraint…etc), you can choose between the small round course that takes around 30 minutes or the big round course that takes around 90 minutes.

Depending on your luck, you might be able to encounter wildlife such as Hares and Japanese Serows (*´ω`).

For the 2 courses, please refer to the official map HERE. On the first page, please find the “World Heritage Beech Forest Trail” first. You should see some routes marked in red.

The 2 courses of the World Heritage Beech Forest Trail start from Aqua Green Village ANMON, and go south from the intersection where it’s labeled “水”.

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

The 30 minutes route is going around the 1st loop in the trail and the 90 minutes route will go through both loops.

Important: It is also possible that you will meet a bear during this trip (albeit the possibility isn’t high as they hide from us too). According to the guide who has multiple bear encounters, if you see a bear, DON’T SCREAM! The best thing to do is try not to scare the bear and get out of the scene slowly.

The Water Fountain And Its Super Pure and Soft water

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

If your water bottle isn’t full, get some fresh mountain stream at this water fountain. Even in the hot summer, the temperature of the water is still around 10+ degrees, perfect to cool you down!

This water’s hardness is only at a surprising 0.2mg/l. So lots of people are bringing this water back home to make coffee (´▽`*).

Apparently, this water is older than most of us… It is actually the rainwater from about 100 years ago Σ(゚Д゚). The rainwater seeped underground along the beech trees. Through a natural filtration process, the rainwater became pure water and flow out here 100 years later!

That is why even if it doesn’t rain for a while, you will still be able to get the most delicious mountain stream here (^_-)-☆ .

The Beech Forest Trail

The reason why the beech forest is so previous is that it takes a long time for it to grow. From seed to a 3cm sprout will take it a year… And for it to be able to flower and bear fruits, it will take 80 years Σ(゚Д゚).

As we all know, people love furniture and floorboard made from wood. Although beech trees are superior at preventing landslides, they don’t carry a high economic value. That is why a lot of the beech forest has been replaced by cedar trees…

Thanks to the world heritage registration, we still have this beech forest at Mt. Shirakami to cure the weariness from our busy stressful lives (*´ω`).

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Autumn At World Heritage Beech Forest Trail

Photo from Aomori prefecture

In October, the beech forest puts on its warm-coloured clothes in response to the chill weather. The sound of your footsteps differs depending on the fallen leaves. And when it rains, you will be able to witness the rare scenery of the beech forest being surrounded by a misty haze (=゚ω゚)ノ

Note the World Heritage Beech Forest Trail is only accessible from late April to early November each year.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Guide Services Of World Heritage Beech Forest Trail

Whether you choose the small loop course, the large loop course, or both courses, guide services are available from 9,000 yen with a minimum of 2 people. Please refer to their pricing table HERE for more information.

You can also get in touch with one of the guide on Hikes In Japan HERE.

Anmon Valley Route

The Anmon Valley Route is another popular route that will lead you to the three magnificent Anmon waterfalls. However, a guide may be required depending on how far down the route you plan to visit and whether you are an experienced hiker or not.

As you can see in the photo, the path is quite narrow, less maintained and dangerous compared to the promenade of the World Heritage Beech Forest Trail.

Parts of the route may have rocks falling down. Everyone who enters this route is required to wear a helmet which can be rented for just 100 yen from the route’s reception (ご協力金受付所), located at the entrance of the route. Here is a LINK to what the reception looks like).

You will also need to submit a “Notification of Passage” at the reception before you enter the route.

Also, the path leading to the second Anmon Falls (Dai 2 no Falls on Google Map) can be slippery so boots or trekking shoes are highly recommended (you can rent a pair of boots from Aqua Green Village ANMON for just 350 yen).

Due to the unstable condition of this route, if you’re not an experienced hiker, booking a guide in advance is definitely a good idea!

Refer to the same official map HERE. To get travel down the Anmon Valley route, turn left at the intersection where it’s labeled “水” (instead of traveling south down the beech forest trail).

THIS MAP provides a better idea of the route (although in Japanese). The reception (ご協力金受付所) is marked with a house with a pen and a paper icon. The green line marks the World Heritage Beech Forest Trail and the dark blue line is the Anmon Valley Route.

Wherever you see the line turning orange, it means you’ll need to do some sort of climbing (not rock climbing level though).

Photo from Aomori prefecture

To get to the 1st Anmon Falls (Dai 1 no Falls on Google Map), there’s no path maintained, and hiking equipment is required. Therefore, people who aren’t veteran hikers and are traveling without a guide shouldn’t go further than the 2nd Anmon Falls.

The Famous Anmon Falls

Photo from Aomori prefecture

The three Anmon Falls are of the height of 42 meters (Dai 1 no Falls), 32 meters (Dai 2 no Falls), and 26 meters (Dai 3 no Falls).

The sequence of the waterfalls that you will run into during your visit will be the other way around.

From the entrance, it takes around 45 minutes to get to Dai 3 no Falls. It takes another 10 minutes or so to get to Dai 2 no Falls and to get to Dai 1 no Falls, add in another 15 minutes.

Note the Anmon Valley Route is only accessible from June to October each year.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Tsugaru Pass and Takakura Woods Nature Trail

If strolling around the beech forest doesn’t satisfy you, then how about a combination of the beech forest and a panorama view of the surrounding mountains?

Starting from Tsugaru Pass (津軽峠), the Takakura Woods Nature Trail is a scenic route that will lead you to the summit of the mountain. Along the way, you will find the 400-year-old beech tree – Mother Tree (the average life of the beech tree is said to be around 300 years. That is why this tree is so treasured and is considered the “mother” to all the other younger beech tree at Mt. Shirakami).

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Refer to the official map HERE, the route is marked by the red line from Tsugaru Pass all the way to Aqua Green Village.

In 2018, part of the Mother Tree’s trunk was broke by a typhoon. So when you see the Mother Tree, it won’t look like the one in the photo above but the photo on the left.

But fortunately, the tree is still alive! From where it broke, new sprouts have grown out. Hopefully, in another decade, it will return to its former glory!

The whole trail takes around 5 hours to finish. If you have time constraints, you can time your visit and return back to Tsugaru Pass instead of heading all the way back to Aqua Green Village.

As a side note, from Tsugaru Pass to the Mother Tree, it takes 20 minutes for a round trip journey.

Note that a section of the second half of the route has a deep slope, so choose your footwear carefully. If you can afford a guide, it will be a great idea to hire one (^_-)-☆.

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Tips: If you would prefer to visit the area during the colourful autumn foliage season, plan your trip from mid to the end of October!

How To Get To Tsugaru Pass

If you are coming to Mt. Shirakami by Konan Bus’s Shirakami Line, please get off at the last stop – Tsugaru Pass (津軽峠).

The journey will take you around 2 hours and 10 mins.

Note that the Takakura Wood Nature Trail is only accessible from early May to early Nov each year (there are no bus services in Nov though).

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

How To Access The Attractions Around Juniko Lake

To get to the Juniko Lake (十二湖) by public transport, get on the JR Joyful Train – Resort Shirakami from JR Aomori Station or JR Akita Station (or any other stations on the line. Refer to the route and timetable HERE), and get off at JR Juniko Station (十二湖駅).

Important: Resort Shirakami can only be boarded with a reserved ticket purchased in advance. Under the timetable on the official JR website, you will find a list of stations that you can’t purchase Resort Shirakami’s ticket (and also a list of stations where you can do so, but only during certain time intervals).

From there, you can either walk to Juniko Lake (takes around an hour), or between July and November each year, you can take the Konan Bus (弘南バス)’s – Juniko Line (十二湖線) from JR Juniko Station, and depending on how you want to explore the area, get off at either Oike (王池前) or Oku Juniko Parking (奥十二湖駐車場).

Tips: the Konan Bus’s bus stop is just opposite the JR Juniko Station. If you are traveling with bulky bags, you can store your belongings in the shop just behind the bus stop (fees apply but are inexpensive).

HERE is the bus route map for your reference. The route’s timetable and fare details can be found HERE. The website is in Japanese, you can let us know HERE if you need assistance.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Nihon Canyon (日本キャニオン)

If you are walking from or back to JR Juniko Station, you will definitely walk past Nihon Canyon.

The spot’s name might sound super exciting because you might be expecting an experience as awesome as the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

Unfortunately, as much as the view is dynamic with the 1 km long white cliff contrasting the greenery of the beech forest around it, having an expectation of seeing something similar to the Grand Canyon will most likely lead to disappointment (;´・ω・).

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/
Photo from Aomori prefecture

Nevertheless, while we don’t think the spot itself worth the time and money it will cost to visit, but if you are already visiting Juniko Lake, it may be convenient to drop by this cliff that is formed by the erosion and collapse of the tuff layer.

The observation deck close by can be easily accessed through a walking track for 15 minutes of your time (=゚ω゚)ノ.

How To Get To Nihon Canyon

It is around a 40 mins walk from JR Juniko Station.

Or, if you are taking the Konan Bus from JR Juniko Station, get off at Oike (王池前) and walk toward the station for approximately 10 mins.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Juniko Lake (十二湖)

Juniko Lake, meaning 12 lakes in Japanese is actually an area that has 33 lakes altogether. The 33 lakes are actually younger than the Mother Tree (that 400 years old beech tree that we discussed above). They were created as a result of a huge earthquake in 1704.

From Okuzure Observation Deck (大崩展望所), you can only see 12 out of the 33 lakes. That is why the area was named Juniko (probably because people back then were examining the damage of earthquakes from that observation deck).

Recommended Trekking Routes

Depends on how much time you plan to spend around Juniko Lake, there are a few ways of how you can explore these scenic lakes.

  • If you’re under a time constraint, then you’ll want to get off the bus at the Oku Juniko Parking (奥十二湖駐車場). From there, it’s a 10 minutes walk to the most famous lake of the Juniko Lake – Aoike Pond (青池)
  • If you have 1.5 hours, then get off the bus at the Oku Juniko Parking (奥十二湖駐車場) as well. From the promenade next to Kyororo Forest Produce Centre that’s just next to the bus stop, the loop course will lead you to the following attractions in sequence: Ketoba no Ike Pond (鶏頭場の池) → Aoike (青池) → Beech Forest Path → Wakitsubo no Ike Pond (沸壺の池) → Juniko An (十二湖庵) → Ochikuchi no Ike Pond (落口の池) → Kyororo Forest Produce Center (森の物産館キョロロ)
  • If you have 2 ~ 2.5 hours, still start from the promenade next to Kyororo Forest Produce Centre, but you’ll have a few more attractions under your belt (´▽`*). The course will be following: Ketoba no Ike Pond (鶏頭場の池) → Aoike (青池) → Beech Forest Path → Wakitsubo no Ike Pond (沸壺の池) → Juniko An (十二湖庵) → Ochikuchi no Ike Pond (落口の池) → Naka no Ike Pond (中の池) → Juniko Visitor Centre (十二湖ビジターセンター) → Koshiguchi no Ike Pond (越口の池) → Oike Pond (王池). From Oike Pond, you can take the Konan Bus back to JR Juniko Station.

Important: Note the trekking routes around Juniko Lake is only accessible from mid-April to late November.

Kyororo Forest Produce Center (森の物産館キョロロ)

The Kyororo Forest Produce Centre is a convenient spot for visitors to get tourist information, drinks, snacks, souvenirs, and light meals.

Also, their coin lockers are available for those who need one from 300 yen depends on the size of your bags.

The centre is opened between April to November each year when Juniko Lake is opened to the public between 8:30 am to 5 pm (the opening hours can change depends on the season by 30 minutes to an hour).

The Entrance Of The Promenade

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

Look for these cute four sparrows when you’re ready to explore Juniko Lake!

If you see them, you are on the right track for this scenic journey (^_-)-☆.

Ketoba no Ike Pond (鶏頭場の池)

The Ketoba no Ike Pond is one of the biggest lakes among the 33 lakes in Juniko Lake area.

You won’t be able to tell the whole lake’s shape from the promenade. But if you manage to acquire a helicopter (or probably just stand at one of the lookouts at the surrounding mountains), the lake is in the shape of a chicken’s head. That is why it is called Ketoba.

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

Aoike Pond (青池)

Aoike-Pond-Shrakami-Sanchi-Japan
Photo from Aomori prefecture

Aoike Pond is a landmark of Juniko area. Its sapphire blue lake water is simply just stunning!

The 9 meters deep lake is clear and looks somehow bottomless, adding a more mysterious vibe to this gorgeous lake (*´ω`).

The best photo opportunity is at around 11 am. The warm sunshine adds a golden lustre to the lake’s surface, making the whole scenery more heavenly!

And if you want to see the lake colour at its most vibrant, plan your visit in June (^_-)-☆.

Beech Forest Path

The Juniko Lake area is covered by beech trees.

The forest is home to thousands of birds. That is why when you visit Mt. Shirakami, don’t forget to take off your headphones to enjoy nature’s symphony (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Wakitsubo no Ike Pond (沸壺の池)

Photo from Aomori prefecture

If Aoike Pond is a shining sapphire, then the Wakitsubo no Ike Pond is an elegant turquoise!

The word “wakitsubo” means a boiling pot in Japanese. It is used to describe the sound of water coming from the lake. Does that resonate with you?

Juniko An (十二湖庵)

Another spot where you can fill up your water bottle with delicious water!

Even if you are not thirsty, still give this the water from Wakitsubo no Ike Pond a go! When the sweet and icy water goes down your throat, you will feel like your body is purified (=゚ω゚)ノ.

And if you want to take a rest, stop by the Japanese sweets shop – Juniko An. Their matcha is prepared by using the Wakitsubo no Ike’s water. That is why you can hardly taste the bitterness!

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

When you see the signboard that says “この先崩壊あり注意” hanging on one of the tree, you’re really close to Okuzure!

Also, although you won’t be charged for the matcha and the sweets that come with it, there is a donation box. So don’t forget to show some support to the service. You have enjoyed their hospitality already after all (^_-)-☆

Ochikuchi no Ike Pond (落口の池)

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

The beautiful lake opposite the yummy Juniko An is the Ochikuchi no Ike Pond.

If you have a bento box with you, enjoying a delicious Japanese bento box while receiving a refreshing breeze at the lakeside will blow your sightseeing fatigue away!

Juniko Visitor Centre (十二湖ビジターセンター)

Rather than a visitor centre that is full of travel information, this visitor centre has exhibits of the animals that inhabit the Juniko Lake area.

If you aren’t interested in the animals you probably won’t be able to see during your time at Juniko Lake, then head to the back of the visitor centre.

The chances of seeing a stringfish in the Stringfish Fish Farm should be greater than tracking down a wild animal at Juniko Lake (´▽`*).

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Oike Pond (王池)

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

The Oike Pond is divided by the car park in the middle into the East Lake and West Lake.

If you have time, how about a jog along this stunning lake??

Itobatake No Ike Pond (糸畑の池)

If you are planning to spend a day at Juniko Lake. Then follow the trek marked by the grey line heading to the Juniko Refresh Village on the map HERE. There are also quite a few other scenic ponds that you can explore!

And if you want to spend a night surrounded by the great nature of Juniko Lake area, then staying at one of the cottages at Juniko Refresh Village ( or twelve lake refresh village) may be a great idea!

Photo from https://www.photo-ac.com/

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Okuzure (大崩展望所)

If you have hiking experience, then when you come to Juniko Lake, you can’t miss out on Okuzure.

The steep hiking trail that leads to Okuzure is just next to Aoike Lake. It will take you around an hour and 15 minutes to get there.

As you will be hiking through the forest without a properly maintained trail, a pair of work gloves and proper hiking shoes will ensure your own safety (=゚ω゚)ノ.

To minimise human damage to the forest, you will need to follow the pink tape along the way.

After hiking for approximately 30 minutes, you should see a log bench. It is a good spot to take a rest here before you continue your hike up (^_-)-☆.

Important: This spot at Mt. Okuzure is just a narrow road on the cliff. Please be really careful when you are there as we don’t want anything unfortunate happens to you (‘ω’)ノ.

Tips: if you want to go to Okuzure but aren’t confident going there by yourself, you can book a guide service with Aone Shirakami Twelves Lakes by calling +81-173-77-3311 or through this LINK to Shirakami Calendar to book online (the website is in Japanese only).

Aone Shirakami Twelve Lakes (アオーネ白神十二湖)

Photo from Aomori prefecture

There are quite a few hiking and trekking courses available around the Juniko Lake area. Completing all of them isn’t possible in one day.

So that is what Aone Shirakami Twelve Lakes (we will call it Aone from here on) is for (=゚ω゚). Similar to the Aqua Green Village ANMON, it is another resort village that has various facilities to make visitors’ Juniko trip more pleasant.

One of the best things about Aone is its free pick-up service from JR Juniko Station. You can just drop your bags with the hotel bus driver at the Station and start exploring the area! Please refer to their shuttle bus timetable HERE.

Important: Reservation is essential to use the free pick-up service. Also, the shuttle bus is only operated between mid-Apr and Nov.

Whilst there is no campsite, apart from the Northern-European style cottages, there are also Japanese style rooms that you can choose from (you’ll need to make your own futon bed though).

Bathing Facility – Aone No Yu (アオーネの湯)

Whether you are staying at Aone or not, you are welcomed to use their bathing facility – Aone no Yu (fees apply).

It is a great way to feel refreshed and be healed of the tiredness from the extraordinary amount of exercise that you have done!

Aone no Yu will be opened from the 29th of Apr to early Nov this year from 3 pm to 9 pm.

Photo from Aomori prefecture

If you are not staying at Aone, it will cost you 500 yen to use this facility (300 yen for primary school students, and 200 yen for kids who haven’t gone to primary school).

Aone Shirakami Twelve Lakes’s Other Facilities And Access Information

  • Restaurant – Akashoubin (レストラン アカショウビン. We are currently confirming whether they can cater to a vegetarian diet. For more details, please refer to their website HERE. You can also utilise our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases For Vegetarian article when you get there!
  • Coin-operated laundry machine
  • Souvenir shop – Kingfisher (物産館 カワセミ): opening between 8:30 am to 5 pm (the hours may change slightly depending on the season).
  • Playground

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

Snow Hiking At Juniko Lake

Between December and March, when the Juniko Lake area is covered by snow, there are guided snow hiking tours that you can participate in!

Things like boots and snowshoes can be rented out for free. So you just need to worry about whether you are warm enough (=゚ω゚)ノ.

If you have other belongings that you won’t need during the hiking session, you can store them at the reception of Aone Shirakami Twelve Lakes.

Photo from Aomori prefecture

Reservation is required 5 days in advance through this LINK to their booking website. Again, in Japanese. If you need assistance with booking you can contact us HERE and we’ll get back to you.

For more information about this tour, please refer to their website HERE.

Juniko Refresh Village (十二湖リフレッシュ村)

Photo from Aomori prefecture

The Juniko Refresh Village is another accommodation that you in the area that you can choose from.

It is not as commercialised as the Aone Shirakami Twelve Lakes so when you get out of your cottage, you will truly feel like you are spending a night in the middle of nature!

This facility is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Hopefully, when this nightmare is over, the cottage will be available for booking again (*´ω`).

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions at Mt. Shirakami.

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