MINAMI ALPS & TENRYU OKU-MIKAWA

Located in the Central & Southern areas of Shizuoka these two mountainous National Parks offer nature and biodiversity.

SHIZUOKA MINAMI ALPS NATIONAL PARK

Mountain Hiking, Nature Walks, Oku Shiz, Kawane, Steam Trains, Rivers, Valleys and the Bridge of Dreams 

The Southern Japanese Alps, or Minami Alps National Park, is a vast mountain range that spans across the prefectures of Nagano, Yamanashi and Shizuoka. 

Designated as a UNESCO Eco Park in 2014, the Minami Alps is a pristine alpine environment with great biodiversity and cultural heritage.

There are 13 alpine peaks over 3,000 meters in altitude, and 10 of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains are found throughout the park, making it a haven for alpine hiking and climbing. 

The most southern end of the alps reaches Shizuoka, where the Oi river begins its journey and is flanked by rugged mountains and ridgelines, including the Arakawa Three Mountains, Mt. Akaishi and Mt. Tekari – Japan’s southernmost peak over 2,500-meters high.

These peaks offer amazing panoramas looking back at Mt. Fuji, especially at dawn or dusk if you are planning to overnight in one of the mountain huts. 

The park is a hiking paradise during the Summer and Autumn months with options ranging from short day walks and overnight stays at local onsen inns, through to multi-day treks along the network of trails and mountain huts that connect the alpine peaks. 

Detailed information in English on hiking these trails can be limited, but a good resource is the YAMAP app, a handy tool to have on your smartphone that has an English interface with detailed maps, user-generated routes, and GPS functions to find trailhead locations anywhere in Japan.

Locally referred to as ‘Oku-Shiz’ there are some lovely day hikes, onsens and farm stays around the Kawane area Getting there is half the fun with a nostalgic steam train journey deep into the mountains.

Enjoy the view of the vast green tea fields along the Oi River and take a slow trip through the countryside while the engaging Conductor shows you the sights from the train window – You may also be entertained with a tune on his harmonica!

From the terminus in Senzu, you can take the ‘Apt System’ mountain train further into the Oku-Oi river region to Sumatakyo Onsen and cross the Bridge of Dreams

Here are 6 ways to explore the Minami Alps.

NATIONAL PARKS

Shizuoka Prefecture is blessed with a diverse range of nature and landscapes that include mountains, rivers, lakes, ocean, rugged coastline, and white sand beaches.

There are parts of 3 of Japan's National Parks within Shizuoka Prefecture each of which has its own characteristics and charm.

SHIZUOKA STATION

The Southern End of Japan's Minami Alps National Park can be accessed from either Shizuoka or Kakegawa Bullet Train Stations (via Kanaya Station).

Take the scenic Ikawa railway line and enjoy the view as it winds up the Oi River to Lake Ikawa and into the foothills of the Akaishi Mountain range and discover deep valleys and dense forests.

SHIN FUJI STATION

The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is accessible from Atami, Mishima, and Shin Fuji Bullet Train Stations - it is the jewel in Shizuoka's crown.

On a good day, you will get amazing views of Mt Fuji, but even if the weather doesn't cooperate you will gain a deeper appreciation for how much Mt Fuji has influenced the life of the people that live at the foot of this majestic mountain.

HAMAMATSU STATION

The Tenryu Oku-Mikawa Quasi-National Park is smaller and not as well known as the other National Parks in Shizuoka but makes up for it with a more relaxed and off-the-beaten-path charm.

Ride the Tenhama train from Kakegawa or Hamamatsu Bullet Train Stations past green tea fields and along the Tenryu River to find friendly locals who co-exist with nature.

Explore-Mt-Akiha-Tenryu
Kawazu-waterfall-and-onsen
Mt Fuji Travel
Shiraito-Waterfalls-in-Fujinomiya-Shin-Fuji-Station
Explore-Izu-Coastline
Explore-Bridge-of-Dreams-Sumatakyo

CHECK MT FUJI TRAVEL TO FIND NATIONAL PARK RELATED EXPERIENCES AROUND SHIZUOKA

TENRYU OKU-MIKAWA QUASI NATIONAL PARK

Mountain Hiking, Nature Walks, Oku Shiz, Kawane, Steam Trains, Rivers, Valleys and the Bridge of Dreams 

Nearby Tenryu Oku-Mikawa Quasi National Park sits on the western border of Shizuoka and is managed by the local municipalities, hence its ‘Quasi’ status. 

The centrepiece of this park is the mighty Tenryu River that flows down from neighbouring Nagano prefecture. This part of Shizuoka interior is popular with hikers, cyclists, kayakers, fisherman, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts due to its abundant nature.

A popular journey to the southern Tenryu region is via the Tenryu Hamanaka Railroad

This rail journey runs along the north coast of Lake Hamana from Kakegawa Station to Shinjohara Station for a total of 67 km and 38 stations.

This rail journey runs along the north coast of Lake Hamana from Kakegawa Station to Shinjohara Station for a total of 67 km and 38 stations.

The beloved little train’s wheels began rolling in 1935 and many of the charming stations have been used in films and television shows, preserving a quintessential slice of countryside life.

Further north, Haruno is an idyllic village with a rich hunting history – wild game management is important and Haruno hunters have been proactive in creating a sustainable hunting model and now many local restaurants that have Deer or Wild Boar on the menu are becoming more ubiquitous.

A rental vehicle or camping-car is the best way to explore this almost ‘secret’ Quasi-National park in Shizuoka. 

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