Land area: 37,200 ha
Designated on August 30, 2007
In 1949, four years after the end of World War II, a beautiful song was played on the radio which brought comfort to many Japanese people. It is a song that admires the beauty of nature symbolized by flowers blooming in a marsh in a place called Oze. Although electric power development was planned in Oze, and there was a tendency for industrial development to take priority over nature in those days, the natural environment in this area has been conserved carefully as a result of the efforts of many people, agencies and organizations.
Oze, which used to be part of Nikko National Park, was separated and designated as an independent national park in August, 2007.At that time, Mt. Aizukomagatake (2,132 m) in the north, and Mt. Tashiroyama (1,971 m) and Mt. Taishakuzan (2,060 m) in the east were newly included in the park.
Oze includes Ozegahara, the largest high moor in the main island, Ozenuma Swamp and Mt. Shibutsusan (2,228 m). It is one of Japan's representative areas of natural beauty and has serene, picturesque landscapes. The area also has special value as a habitat for a variety of swamp plants and insects native to the northern area.
Ozegahara Swamp is located about 1,400 m above sea level and has an area of about 760 ha. It stretches about 6 km east to west, and about 1 km north to south. It is a basin surrounded by mountains, of which high moor accounts for a high percentage. A variety of endangered swamp plants grow here and Ozekohone (Nuphar pumilum var. ozeense), a rare kind of water lily which has the word "oze" in its name, can be seen in ponds. The swamp is also a habitat for rare species of dragonflies. Along the rivers that flow into the swamp, there are narrow bands of woods which give variety to the landscape. The river water that passes through Oze flows into the Tadamigawa River, and then cascades down the Hiranamenotaki Waterfall and the Sanjonotaki Waterfall, which is as high as 90 m.
Ozenuma Swamp is a dammed lake formed by a volcanic eruption. The surface of the lake is 1,662 m above sea level. On the shores, there are communities of skunk cabbages (Lysichiton camtschatcense) and other swamp plants which create a beautiful scene when blooming.
Mt. Shibutsusan is located in the west of Ozegahara. It is noted as a habitat for many rare plants such as Ozeso (Japonolirion osense) which is endemic in Japan. As the increase of climbers in recent years has caused deterioration of the mountain trail and has had a damaging effect on the vegetation, descending the trail on the east side of the mountain is not allowed at present.
From the early to mid 20th century, electric power development was planned many times in Oze and there were repeated fierce debates on the pros and cons. Therefore, it can be said that Oze is the starting point of Japan's nature conservation movement.
In Ozegahara, Japanese shika deer have been causing feeding damage to swamp plants in recent years and implementation of prevention measures is being discussed. Entry of private vehicles is restricted in some areas in the park.
When Oze was designated as an independent national park in 2007, Mt. Aizukomagatake, Mt. Taishakuzan and Mt. Tashiroyama were newly included in the park. From the foot to the mid-slope of the mountains extend natural forests of beeches (Fagus crenata) and other trees. The broad land near the top of Mt. Aizukomagatake is dotted with swamps and ponds, and some snowfield plants grow there. On the top of Mt. Tashiroyama extends a flat, high moor of about 20 ha.
The mountain area was included in Oze National Park because the landscapes of the two areas have common characteristics, and their natural environments and land use are integrated.