Shrouded in the valleys of northern Akita, the town of Fujisato is a gateway to one of Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Shirakami Sanchi. This charming town is famous for its diverse hiking trails, fishing spots, Suffolk lamb, and enchanting waterfalls. It’s the perfect spot to mark on a Tohoku road trip.
Just near the town center, the Shirakami Sanchi World Heritage Conservation Center Fujisato Kan (Map) is a great starting point if you’re considering a day of hiking in Fujisato’s prestigious woods. You can learn more about the forest’s history and ecosystem through maps, pictures, and English descriptions.
Shirakami Sanchi’s ancient forest partly inspired one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films, Princess Mononoke.
As the largest remaining beech tree forest in East Asia, Shirakami Sanchi was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 after locals protested a planned road that would cut through its woods. Today, much of the forest is protected and inaccessible. Luckily, a few trails in Fujisato wrap around the restricted zone, and any nature lover worth their salt would be remiss to pass them up.
For the anime fans, Shirakami Sanchi’s ancient forest partly inspired one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous films, Princess Mononoke.
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