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Beech forest, young greenery around Shinyu Onsen

 I’ll never forget the first time I came across this forest; the sun was gleaming through the young leaves of May and I caught the pinks at the tail end of cherry blossoms. The green was so vibrant that I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve been back every year since to witness it.

Here, at the foot of Mt Kurikoma along National Route 342, you can find towering beech trees. Quercus oak, horse chestnut, katsura and Japanese maple are also abundant along the well-maintained promenade. Ken Kumagai, chairman of the non-profit organization Sukawa Nature Association stated, “It's rare to find a beech forest like this in a place with good transportation access nationwide”. I highly recommend parking your car at Shinyu Onsen and having a stroll on the hiking trails. Or, enjoy the drive through the forest.

On your drive up, you can witness the Former Matsurube Ohashi Bridge Remains, and if you keep continuing up the mountain, there is a spring with amazing water properties called ‘Bunanomegumi’. You will eventually get to Sukawa Onsen, which is the foot of Mt. Kurikoma, famed for its alpine flora in spring/summer and leaves in autumn.

One thing to note when heading up in May is that there may be a road block in two areas (Shinyu and Sukawa Onsen). Up until mid-May on most years, the gates will shut between 5pm~9am (due to nighttime temperature drops-slippery road conditions) so heading up the mountain in daytime hours is not a problem.

Map of the area surrounding Shinyu Onsen Center


Shinyu Onsen Center:


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