Saturday September 30, 2023

Oze National Park

Difficulty 2 Number of Days 2 Gunma


I have made an early booking (for the night of Sept 30) at Yashiro Lodge in Miharashi.
Dinner and breakfast will be provided at the hut. The total cost 9,900yen/person.
We need to confirm the final number of participants, type of meals (vegetarian, vegan, and others), and any other requests, until early September. So please confirm it for me until that time.

Since this will be a car based hike, the number of participants with cars will limit the total participation. We especially welcome participants with cars!

Oze (at 1,500 m) will be in autumn, and winter clothes will be necessary.

Walking map of the area can be seen at https://oze-fnd.or.jp/en/rg/
We will park our cars in Tokura and take a shuttle to Hatomachi Toge, from where we will start walking in the marsh, in the direction of Miharashi. We will return the way the next day, enjoying the scenery, with some diversions in the route.

more details later. Please let me know of your interest.



I am pleased to report on the wonderful hike we had in Oze (National Park) on the weekend of Sept 30- Oct 1.

We 13 participants set out in 3 cars at 5:30 AM from the Tsukuba center parking, and met 6 other participants (including 2 kids of age about 4) in 2 cars from Tokyo in Takasaka service area of Kan-Etsu expressway (our route: Tsukuba Chuo (Ken-O) (76 km) -> Tsurugashima JCT (Kan-Etsu) (98 km) --> Numata IC --> Kitashina-Tokura parking) . While driving on the elevated Ken-O expressway, we witnessed a double rainbow after a few bursts of rain. We arrived in Tokura Parking 1 at about 10 AM and took a shuttle bus to Hatomachi Toge, the starting point of our hike.

The weather was cloudy and wet. We started walking down to Yamanohana a little before 11:00 AM. The whole path is now two parallel wooden tracks (no steps!). We arrived at Yamanohana at about noon (within an interval of 30 min of each other). We found places in benches which were all wet, and ate lunch, leisurely. We started walking again, now on flat trails, just before 1:00 PM.

We took a straight path to Miharashi, where our lodge was located . We took in the wonderful scenery, taking frequent rest on the way. The autumn is usually at peak at this time in the valley, but this year it looked delayed by about two weeks (because of the long hot summer). Consequently, we were treated to more varied colors, from green to yellow to bronze grass, and flowers still changing bright colors. The sky was overcast with dark clouds.

We had to reach the lodge (弥四郎小屋: Yashiro Lodge, http://www.84658.jp/en/index.html) by 4 PM to check in. An advance group reached there by 3:30 PM and checked in for all of us. The last group, with kids, reached by 4:30. We were given the large room, familiar to some of us, and an extra adjacent room where the two families lodged. We had a refreshing onsen bath. Dinner was served at 6:00 PM. Those who had requested no beef got a vegetarian meal (a vegetable patty as the main dish). I, who after much hesitation had put in my request for no egg (it usually boils down to vegetarian), received beef hamburger - without egg (a manager came down to show proudly with a flourish of hand) and the mayonnaise on my salad without egg (another flourish of hand). We went for another walk after dinner, in the dark outside and hung on in the cafe/bar of the lodge. At night we heard thunder and rain.

Breakfast was served at 5:30 AM. It was raining heavily, with no sign of stopping soon. Options, Sanjo waterfalls (a group did try to go but turned back) and Mt. Shibutsu were out of the question! We waited, then gathered outside by 8:00 AM, and started walking by 8:30, taking the Toudenkoya route to Yamanohana. Families with the kids were advised to take the same straight route that we had come the previous day. We walked slowly, but there were fewer breaks in the rain, so we reached Yamanohana by noon. We had all (including the energetic kinds!) gathered at Hatomachitoge by 1:30 PM! We took shuttle buses to reach the car parking by 2:30 PM.

We then went to an onsen on a hill with a wonderful view of a valley, 花の駅・片品 花咲の湯. We had dinner at about 6:30 PM in a large and crowded service area of Kan-etsu expressway. And headed back to Tsukuba.

I attach some pictures, contributed by several participants.
More pictures can be seen at an album created by Afshan, to which other participants have uploaded their pictures.

I would like to thank all the participants for joining this hike and make it enjoyable! I would especially like to thank Yoshi (who did not come this time) for reserving the lodge and conveying our frequent (change of) requests to the lodge until the last moment and Afshan for taking care of finances (collecting lodging charges and checking in procedures, collecting and accounting the transportation costs, etc.), and, of course all the drivers!

Thank you everyone,