Oze [尾瀬(おぜ)]

Oze[尾瀬(おぜ)] is an area which extends over Fukushima, Niigata and Gunma Prefectures. Oze consists of a wetland zone and mountains over 2,000m such as Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take[燧ケ岳(ひうちがたけ)](2,356m) and Mt. Shibutsu-san[至仏山(しぶつさん)](2,228m) surrounding the zone.

Oze-ga-hara and Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take
Oze-ga-hara and Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take

The highlight of Oze is the wetland zone which consists of Oze-ga-hara Plateau[尾瀬ヶ原(おぜがはら)] and Lake Oze-numa[尾瀬沼(おぜぬま)]. They were formed by rivers being dammed up by lava from eruptions of Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take.

Lake Oze-numa, view from Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take
Lake Oze-numa, view from Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take photo by photolibrary

Oze-ga-hara is the largest high-altitude wetland in Honshū(the main island of Japan) and you can enjoy various alpine plants. From late May to June, Mizubashō[水芭蕉(みずばしょう)](skunk cabbage) bloom. That is the most representative plant in Oze. In July, Watasuge[ワタスゲ](cotton grass) have white fluff and Nikkō-kisuge[ニッコウキスゲ](Hemerocallis esculenta) bloom.

Mizubashō at Oze
Mizubashō of Oze-ga-hara

Nikkō-kisuge of Oze-ga-hara
Nikkō-kisuge of Oze-ga-hara

Lake Oze-numa is a calm lake located at 1,660m above sea level. The landscape of this lake with Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take is very beautiful and photogenic.

Lake Oze-numa and Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take
Lake Oze-numa and Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take photo by photolibrary

The hiking season is from May to October and Oze is snowed up in other season.

There are seven entrances to trails on Oze. But the main entrances are following tree;
  • Hatomachi Pass[鳩待峠(はとまちとうげ)](Katashina Village, Gunma): This is the most popular entrance and half of the hikers go from here. This is the nearest entrance to Ozega-hara(1h, 3.3km from Hatomachi Pass) and is relatively easy to access from Tokyo. But it is the steep down trail thorough the forest.

  • Ōshimizu[大清水(おおしみず)](Katashina Village, Gunma): This is convenient to go Lake Oze-numa from Gunma. It is nearer than Numayama Pass, if you go to Lake Oze-numa from Tokyo. But it takes about 2.5 hours(6.5km) to Lake Oze-numa and this course is a little hard.

  • Numayama Pass[沼山峠(ぬまやまとうげ)](Hinoemata Village, Fukushima): This is the nearest entrance to Lake Oze-numa(1h, 3.5km from Numayama Pass). The trail passes through Ōe Marshland[大江湿原(おおえしつげん)] and you can enjoy viewing alpine pants. But it is far from Tokyo.

Ōe Marshland
Ōe Marshland

Of course, you can traverse Oze from Gunma or Fukushima to Fukushima or Gunma. In that case, you normally stay one night at a lodge because it takes 13h(22km). It is necessary to be careful that lodges in Oze require reservations.

And Tsukinowa-guma[ツキノワグマ](Asian black bear) live in Oze. If you come across it, you must go away from it without stimulating it.

In 1934, Oze had been designated as a part of Nikkō National Park[日光国立公園(にっこうこくりつこうえん)]. And in 2007, Oze area was separated from that and Oze National Park[尾瀬国立公園] was newly founded.

Comment about This Article

Trackback to this article