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Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park

Land area: 39,772 ha
Designated on March 27, 2015

Photo: Mt. Myoko, from Imori-Ike pond

Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park came into being on March 27, 2015. The Myoko and Togakushi areas had previously been part of the Joshin’etsukogen National Park, but were designated as a separate, independent park.

These areas were designated as a new park primarily because their landscape differs from the landscape in the Joshin'etsukogen National Park and their usage is different from the way in which the area to the east is used.

The area of the park is 39,772 ha, making it of medium size among Japan’s national parks. Within this area, however, are numerous mountains including both volcanoes such as Mt. Iizunayama, Mt. Kurohimeyama, and Mt. Myokosan and non-volcanic mountains such as Mt. Togakushiyama and Mt. Amakazariyama. One of the area’s mountains, Mt. Yakeyama, is still active as a volcano.

In addition to these mountains, moreover, the region features plateaus and wetlands unfolding at their bases to create diverse vistas. It is for these reasons that the park is promoted as “A cluster of volcanic and non-volcanic mountains—peaks and lakes forged by Mother Nature in harmonious combination .” The area is also known for its wetland scenery, including Lake Nojiriko, and for the fossils of Palaeoloxodon naumanni prehistoric elephants that are found there.

Flora

Map: Myoko-Togakushi Renzan

This region is located just where the two climatic zones of the Pacific and the Japan Sea meet, and it encompasses significant differences in elevation, so the range of its flora is diverse. At high altitude there is a comparatively narrow belt of Siberian dwarf pine (Pinus pumila), along with snow-patch vegetation, then lower down is a subalpine belt of coniferous forest, leading to deciduous broad-leaved forests including Japanese beech (Fagus crenata) at the bottom. Nestling at the foot of Mt. Hiuchiyama there is a large marsh called the Garden of Tengu, where a wide variety of plants are found, including large clusters of primroses (Primula cuneifolia). Other marshes include Koyaike Marsh, where flora including the same primroses can be seen.

Examples of plants unique to this region are barberry (Ranzania japonica) and monkshood (Aconitum nipponicum)

Fauna

Photo: Soba Buckwheat Field at Togakushi
[Soba Buckwheat Field at Togakushi]

A diverse range of fauna can be observed within the bounds of the park, most notably large mammals such as the Japanese serow (goat-antelope) and Asian black bear. There are also many varieties of birds: Golden eagles and mountain hawk eagles inhabit the park, while the rock ptarmigan living in the Kubiki Mountain Range are significant as they comprise Japan’s most northerly population of rock ptarmigan.

Park Use

Photo: Lake Nojiri and Mt.Kurohime,Mt.Myoko
[Lake Nojiri and Mt.Kurohime,Mt.Myoko]

In terms of how the park is used, the Otari Onsen hot spring district is designated as a developed area. Other recreational sites include Sasagamine Plateau and Imori-ike Pond in the Myoko area, as well as Togakushijinja Shrine in the Togakushi area. All these locations are popular with skiers in the winter.

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