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Huge natural reserve

Oze is a huge natural reserve, which extends to four prefectures: Gunma, Niigata, Tochigi and... read more

Reviewed 30 August 2019
kimitakas
,
Taichung, Taiwan
via mobile
Hiking

I went there begining of June to see Mizubasho flowers.Though it was June, snow was still remained... read more

Reviewed 10 June 2017
Harempercussion
,
千葉県
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Reviewed 30 August 2019 via mobile

Oze is a huge natural reserve, which extends to four prefectures: Gunma, Niigata, Tochigi and Fukushima. The highlights of Oze are Ozegahara and Ozenuma. But both places are far away, and since driving a car is restricted in the area, you have to walk for a long distance when you visit the park. However it is absolutely worth visiting.

Date of experience: August 2019
2  Thank kimitakas
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 10 June 2017

I went there begining of June to see Mizubasho flowers.Though it was June, snow was still remained on the path.Prepare trecking shoes and coat.It takes 5 hours on foot for sight seeing and round trip from the bus stop.
Oze is so famous that many people come on weekend.It is better to visit on weekday.

Date of experience: June 2017
5  Thank Harempercussion
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 10 June 2017 via mobile

The transport system in jp overwhelms me hence I am always looking for express bus services if possible. In the case of oze national park, I took an express bus from Shinjuku bus terminal(4100 yen,one way). The duration is around 4 hrs. The express bus brought me to the tokura bus stop. From there, transfer to a local bus(~980yen, one way) at the stop that u alighted from the express bus. It will take around 15 mins to get to the Hatomachitouge-pass(entrance)of the oze national part. I chose this entrance cos it is the shortest + it's recommended by chozo hut + there's much positive reviews on this route. The walking duration given is 3hrs but in my opinion, for those who are not used to trekking/hiking, especially those who can't from the city, give yourself another 20% time buffer. I took 4.5 hrs to get to chozo hut. Then again, I took my time to enjoy the scenary and air. You will be mesmerised by the oze national park. To date, apart from Hokkaido, this is my favourite spot in the whole of jp.

Date of experience: June 2017
6  Thank Yenyenyenyenyen
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 4 June 2017 via mobile

Oze is an expansive park that spans parts of 4 prefectures. I went for a day trip to check out the Yamanohana (skunk cabbage blossoms) in early June. There was still snow on the ground on the approach from Hato Pass in Gunma. The juxtapositions of snow and flowers can be quite lovely. The nature in the park/preserve are quite beautiful in the Highland moor part that I toured. I can't say enough good things about it, so I will make a few critical observations. The park runs on "donations" but during the peak season you have to take a 1000 yen one-way minibus to the entrance or climb a mountain to get in. The bus drivers are drive like maniacs. I nearly got car sick on the way up and that is unusual for me. Second, the pristine nature of the park is maintained by requiring hikers to walk along the boardwalk. Unfortunately, the trade off for easy of hiking is that all fauna avoid the boardwalks like the plague. i am a birder and while I could hear cuckoos, and other birds I couldn't get anywhere near them. Third. The toilets are all "suggested donation 100 yen" toilets. I ran out of coins halfway through the day. Of course these are all very minor things, I intend to return many times in different seasons.

Date of experience: June 2017
2  Thank Adam S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 3 June 2017

Our group of 6 friends, mostly retirees wanted a trekking trip and was recommended Oze. Preparation started early which was challenging due to clarity and language but we all arrived gingerly on May 18th from Singapore via HoChiMinh City on Vietnam Airway. We too a rental car and journeyed to our 'base' hotel at Higashi. The experience at Higashi was great and memorable and is the subject of a separate review.
We were to trek for 3 days starting from Oshimizu to Ozenuma and staying the night at Chozo Hut for Day 1. Along the way we saw a van stuck in snow and 2 young Japanese men struggling to get it out. We lend a helping man. Day 1 gave us an insight into something that we were not prepared for. Plenty of snow from a bumper winter. It was already later May. We were not prepared. No proper shoes. A couple of walking sticks.
The first night at Chozo Hut was average except that there was no room heater. Thankful for 4 blankets. Trips to the wash room was walking a flight down in cold corridors at temperature of around 3 degree.

Day 2 was to trek from Ozenuma to Akatashiro including Sanjonotaki Falls. There was trouble and challenges brewing. This part of the country is still heavily covered in snow. Trekking was very challenging to say the least of soft snow and melting ice. We did contemplated of back trekking to Oshimizu and cancel the trek. Alas we push on and had two near accidents including stepping into deep snow and pulling ourselves out with bruises to remember. We were guided by pink ribbons tied to trees to show the path. Understandably sometime it was very difficult to find the ribbons. We came upon a ridge and had to be on all fours to crawl through with very cold fingers san gloves. We managed this ridge but any slippage would see us falling into the stream below.
Shortly we came to another ridge that need traversing. It was very tight and the first 2 made it through. The 3rd and 4th member were following and suddenly a slip gave way and saw my friends sliding down the slope. It was a good thing that he managed to grab some twigs. And just as sudden, the 4th member also slid and we saw him about 15 feet below. The snow help cushion the fall. Fortunately there was no injuries but the struggle was how to get back up to continue the journey. Further down was the Numajiri River with fast flowing water. Meanwhile our 5th member waited for next step. Our 6th member decided to go down the slope thinking there might be a better option to cross that ridge and get to better ground. Alas, the attempt to climb back up the trail was not easy. We have no ropes and ill prepared. It was already 12.30pm. Day light hours will slip away fast. The next stop was the Motoyu-sanso Lodge and still some distance away.
The first 2 members agreed to push on for help and leave the balance 4 members to try and make it up to the ridge and back on trail.
I must say that we were worried and moved as fast as we could to look for help. Some 2 hours later, we arrived at another lodge and through limited words and mostly hand gestures got our message for help. This was made easier because one of the young man understand some English. They kindly despatched a snow mobile to go look for our 4 mates. Some 45 minutes later we were informed that they have met and was 30 minutes from joining up with us. It could have gone very wrong. The consolation was that the 2nd night stay at Motoyu-sanso Lodge was pleasant with heaters in common areas.
Day 3 we trek out from Akatashiro to Yamanohana and on to Hatomachitoge before taking a shuttle bus to our hotel near Tokura.

Lessons learned.
1) I thought that huts and lodges that take bookings could have helped by providing more information about local conditions, especially to foreigners.
2) We could have been better prepared by buying snow spikes for our shoes.
3) We could have arranged for a guide.

Maybe the Japan Tourist Board can take note.

Sharing some photos.
Cheers Andrew

Date of experience: May 2017
3  Thank AhKwang
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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