Japan's largest high moor. The highland plateau is covered with some 400 shallow pools, crowds of creeping pine trees, and virgin forests of beech trees.
Oze was made famous by its mention in one of Japan's most popular songs, Natsu-no-omoide, or Summer Memories. Oze, named for its high moor, straddles Fukushima, Gunma and Niigata prefectures. The area includes the Oze-ga-hara Field and Oze-ga-numa Pond, and is surrounded by mountains such as Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take, the highest in the Tohoku region, Mt. Keizuru-yama, and Mt. Shibutsu-san. The area used to be a part of Nikko National Park, but in August 2007 Mt. Aizu-Komagatake, Mt. Tashiro-yama and Mt. Taishaku-san and their surroundings were added, and the resulting area was designated as Oze National Park, becoming the 29th national park in Japan.
Oze is set on a plateau that ranges in elevation from 1,400-1,700 meters above sea level, and is the largest high moor in Japan. It was created by the lava flowing from Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take that dammed up the Tadami-gawa River. About 400 shallow pools are scattered here and there. Rare bog plants such as 'mizubasho' (Japanese skunk cabbage) and 'nikko-kisuge' (yellow alpine lily) grow in abundance, and floating islands of peat spread out across the water surface. Creeping pines growing in stands and virgin forests of beech trees stretch to the nearby mountains.
Trails of wooden walkways are laid out through the patches of bog plants to serve as hiking paths, and mountain huts are also available. Lots of hikers visit there, especially when the blossoms of mizubasho and nikko-kisuge are at their best and when the leaves of the trees turn to red in fall. On the upper stream of the Kita-Tadami-gawa River, whose source is in Oze, there are many scenic spots such as the grand falls of Sanjo-no-taki.
[Rail] 120 min from Aizu-kogen-ozeguchi Station (Aizu-Kinugawa Line) by bus, and then to the starting point for a climb (Numayama-toge Pass) by shuttle bus.