Oze Park 尾瀬国立公園
Some walkers on the park's trails.
Credit: Akihito Muroi
The flowery swamp and the snowy mountains.
Credit: Oze Park official website
One of the many trails that go through the park.
Credit: Tanaka Juuyoh
A floral hike
A few hours by bus from Tokyo, this park is a favorite destination for hikers, who come to admire the largest alpine swamp in Japan, Ozegahara swamp, and Ozenuma pond.
Oze National Park, founded in 2007, includes Nikko National Park, which has existed since 1934 and covers the four prefectures of Gunma, Fukushima, Niigata and Tochigi. Woodland trails, while photogenic, can be slippery: good hiking shoes are needed! The park is very popular during the flowering of white lysichites, which cover the marsh in late spring, and in summer, when they are replaced by yellow lilies. The view of the swamp covered in flowers, nestled between the snow-covered Shibutsusan and Hiuchigatake mountains, is unparalleled! There are more than 200 other species of flowers in the park, which guarantees a floral getaway, whatever the season. The park is also a perfect place to admire the vibrant Japanese fall. It also stays open in winter, even if the snow makes it less passable for inexperienced hikers.
When you arrive from Tokyo, through the Gunma Prefecture, three hiking trails are available to you: the first, the Hatomachitoge trail, is the most popular because of its proximity to Ozegahara swamp, just an hour away. In tourist season, there is a risk of traffic jams as hikers stop to take photos. The Oshimizu trail takes you to Ozenuma Pond after two hours of walking, but is considered the most "athletic" as the altitude difference is more pronounced. Finally, you can tackle the Fujimi-shita trail, which is the most peaceful, being the least used, and also the least accessible of the three. Once at the pond, you can follow the various trails along its shoreline or take the 1.5-kilometer track that connects it to the marsh, passing through the woods.
Once at the pond, you can follow the various trails along its shoreline or take the 1.5-kilometer track that connects it to the marsh, passing through the woods. If this excursion is feasible in a day, each circuit can be completed in less than 10 hours, it is possible to stay overnight to fully enjoy the setting offered by the National Park Oze without hurry. It is also an opportunity to sleep in one of the traditional huts along the trails.