Hike – Oze Marsh 尾瀬ケ原

21 01 2011
Oze Marsh and Mt Hiuchigatake

Oze Marsh and Mt Hiuchigatake

Quick Overview

This hike is probably one of the best within a few hours of Tokyo. Oze 尾瀬 is the largest marsh lands in Japan and is very popular during the summer season, but with good reason. It’s famous for skunk cabbages (ugly name, pretty flower) in late May, and autumn colours in late September. It has excellently maintained board walks, and plenty of accommodation within the National Park. A very easy hike, of which the marsh alone could be done as a day trip, but best done overnight so you can see the full beauty and variety of nature Oze 尾瀬 offers.

Distance: 23 km
Duration: 2 days (approx 9 to 10 hours in total)
Difficulty: easy
Season: May to early October
Starting point: Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠
Finishing point: Oshimizu 大清水


A full map of the hike can also be viewed at GPSies

Although this hike is the only major hike in the area, there might not be any maps available at the Oze Visitor Centres so I recommend you buy a map. The Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 14 map is of the region, and is available on Amazon.co.jp. Note, this map is in Japanese, but does include some English and furigana.

The Hike

Day One – Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠 to Miharashi 見晴

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

The bus will terminate in front of a Mountain hut in the car park at Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠. The trail head to Oze marsh 尾瀬ケ原 is signed and easy to find. You will be told to wipe your boots on a mat before walking through a sensor (for counting people) and entering the National Park. The first part of the hike is very easy, downhill on stairs and board walks for about an hour until you reach Yamanohana 山ノ鼻.

Yamanohana 山ノ鼻 has a Visitor Centre which is worth stopping at to pick up a map and up to date information about the weather and facilities in the national park. From here the marsh truly begins. Past the Visitor Centre there is a circular boarded trail on the left, which only takes about 40 minutes to walk if you want to. Or you can start heading further into the marsh by taking the boarded trail on the right.

Following the trail on the right you will see Mt Hiuchigatake 燧ヶ岳 in the distance. The trail will wind through the marshes, over creeks, and through small wooded areas on your way to Miharashi 見晴. Depending on the season, the marshes will be green with flowering white skunk cabbage (late May), yellow alpine lilies (late July), or turning golden with the surrounding mountains covered in an autumn patchwork of colours (late September/early October).

About 40 minutes after leaving Yamanohana 山ノ鼻 there is a branch in the trail, where you can either turn left or continue ahead. Both trails will lead you to the northern end of the marsh, although the trail on the left takes about 2 hours to reach Miharashi 見晴. The map above shows the trail if you continue ahead, and takes 80 minutes to reach Miharashi 見晴. Along both trails you will find benches and some alternative trails, but as long as you keep heading towards Mt Hiuchigatake 燧ヶ岳 you will reach the northern end of the marsh.

Miharashi 見晴 is a good place to stay overnight due to an abundance of mountain huts and fresh water. It is also the starting point of the hike to Lake Oze. All mountain huts offer dinners and breakfast as well as comfortable futons. Some even have baths, although you are unable to use soap. Check out the mountain hut section for details.

Miharashi Huts

Miharashi Huts

Day Two – Miharashi 見晴 to Oshimizu 大清水

Breakfast and check out is early in a mountain hut, so you should have plenty of time to make it to the Oshimizu 大清水 bus stop. From Miharashi 見晴 follow the trail up between the mountain huts. It won’t be very long until you reach a Y intersection. If you have the time and the will, you can head to the peak of Mt Hiuchigatake 燧ヶ岳 on the trail to the left (please look at the Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 14 map for more details), but if you just want to head straight to Lake Oze 尾瀬沼 take the trail on the right. It will take about 2 hours to Lake Oze 尾瀬沼, walking through a forested area and over a low pass.

At Lake Oze 尾瀬沼 you can either walk around the lake in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. The clockwise direction, although a longer distance, is easier and has better maintained board walks. The map above shows the clockwise direction trail.

Lake Oze

Lake Oze

From where you started walking alongside the lake, it will take about an hour to reach the Lake Oze Visitor Centre 尾瀬沼ビジターセンター. There are a few trails branching off, but just stick to the lake and follow the signs.

At Lake Oze Visitor Centre 尾瀬沼ビジターセンター there are more mountain huts, toilets and fresh water. There is also a small gift shop and café where you can stop to get a cup of coffee. Once you are finished there, continue walking on the trail between the mountain huts and head towards Sanpeishita 三平下. It will take about 20 minutes to reach, and it’s where you will leave the lake start back to the bus stop.

At Sanpeishita 三平下 head uphill until you reach Sanpei Pass 三平峠, the highest point on the hike. It should only take about 20 minutes, and from there it’s all downhill. In about 50 minutes you’ll reach the hut at Ichinose 一ノ瀬. From here the trail becomes a forestry road, and is a really easy trek downhill for an hour until you reach the huts, shops, toilets and bus stops at Oshimizu 大清水.

Mountain Huts

This information was current for the 2010 season. Please check the latest Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 14 for up to date phone numbers, or the websites listed.

Prices are a guide only and may vary, but usually include dinner and breakfast. All websites linked are only in Japanese.

Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠

Hatomachitoge Sansou 鳩待峠山荘


approx. 8500 yen

Yamanohana 山ノ鼻

Kokumin Shukusha Oze Lodge 国民宿舎尾瀬ロッジ


approx. 8500 yen

Shibutsu Sansou 至仏山荘


approx. 8500 yen

Yamanohana Goya 山ノ鼻小尾


approx. 8500 yen

Nakatashiro 中田代

Ryuuguu Goya 龍宮小屋


approx. 8500 yen

Yoshipporitashiro ヨシッ堀田代

Touden Goya 東電小屋


approx. 8500 yen

Akatashiro 赤田代

Onsen Goya 温泉小屋


approx. 8500 yen

Motoyu Sansou 元湯山荘


approx. 8500 yen

Miharashi 見晴

Oze Goya 尾瀬小屋



approx. 8500 yen

Daini Chozo Goya 第二長蔵小屋


approx. 8000 yen

Harano Goya 原の小屋



approx. 8500 yen

Hiuchi Goya  燧小屋



approx. 8400 yen

Hinoemata Goya 桧枝岐小屋



approx. 8500 yen

Yashiro Goya 弥四郎小屋



approx. 8400 yen

Ozenuma Visitor Centre 尾瀬沼ビジターセンター

Ozenuma Hutte 尾瀬沼ヒュッテ



approx. 8500 yen

Chozo Goya 長蔵小屋


approx. 8000 yen

Sanpeishita 三平下

Ozenuma Sansou 尾瀬沼山荘


approx. 8500 yen

Oshimizu 大清水

Oshimizu Goya  大清水小屋


approx. 6825 yen

Monomi Goya 物見小屋


approx. 6825 yen

To and From

There are a number of different ways to reach Oze during the season.

By Bus
During the hiking season Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 runs buses from Shinjuku Station’s New South Exit 新宿駅新南出口 at around 7am and arrive at Tokura 戸倉 and Oshimizu 大清水 around 11am. You can do the hike in reverse from Oshimizu 大清水, or from Tokura 戸倉 you can change bus to Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠. The bus from Shinjuku 新宿 to Tokura 戸倉 or Oshimizu 大清水 costs 3,700 yen one way, and 7,000 yen return. The bus from Tokura 戸倉 to Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠 takes 40 minutes and costs 900 yen. The return bus leaves Oshimizu 大清水 for Shinjuku 新宿 about 3pm. See the Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 homepage (Japanese) for more information.

By Overnight Bus
Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 also runs the above buses overnight. They leave Shinjuku 新宿 around 10pm and arrive at Tokura 戸倉 or Oshimizu 大清水 around 3:30am. Note, the buses from Tokura 戸倉 to Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠 start running approximately at 4:40am. Costs are the same. See the Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 homepage (Japanese) for more information.

By Train and Bus
As always, the following routes are just recommendations. Please use Hyperdia or Jorudan’s Train Route Finder to find the most suitable route for you!

From Tokyo 東京 you can take the Shinkansen to Takasaki 高崎, and then change to the Joetsu Line 上越線 local train to Numata 沼田. By Shinkansen this takes just over an hour and a half, and 5,430 yen. You can also catch the regular train from Ueno 上野 on the Takasaki line 高崎線 to Takasaki 高崎, and change to the Joetsu Line 上越線 as described above. Using the regular train takes about 2 hours and a half and costs 2,520 yen.

From Numata Station 沼田駅 you have to catch a Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 bus to Tokura 戸倉, which takes about an hour and a half and costs 2,100 yen. From Tokura 戸倉 you then catch the same bus mentioned above to Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠. This leg takes 40 minutes and costs 900 yen. On the return from Oshimizu 大清水 you can catch the bus direct to Numata Station 沼田駅, with no need to change at Tokura 戸倉. The return leg takes an hour and 40 minutes and costs 2,200 yen.

Bus timetables are a little tricky to read, but here is the timetable for Numata 沼田 to Tokura 戸倉/Oshimizu 大清水, for Oshimizu 大清水 to Numata 沼田, and Tokura 戸倉 to Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠 (all in Japanese). Please make sure you can reach your bus stop in time to catch a bus home. If you are in doubt the Visitor Centres have the most up-to-date information and can help you with your planning.

By Overnight Train
Tobu Railways 東武鉄道 has an overnight train that runs from Asakusa 浅草 to Aizu Kougen Ozeguchi Station 会津高原尾瀬口駅 at least once a week during the season. The train leaves Asakusa 浅草 at 11:55PM and arrives at Aizu Kougen Ozeguchi Station 会津高原尾瀬口駅 at 3:18AM. From Aizu Kougen Ozeguchi Station 会津高原尾瀬口駅 you catch an Aizu bus 会津バス at 4:20AM and arrive at Numayamatoge 沼山峠 at 6:10AM. This hike will use a different trail, heading south to the Oze Lake Visitor Center 尾瀬沼ビジターセンター from Numayamatoge 沼山峠. Please look at the Mapple 山と高原地図 series number 14 map for the trail. The cost of the overnight train starts at 9,200 yen return, but there are a few options, like catching the return bus from either Oshimizu 大清水 or Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠 instead. The Tobu Railways 東武鉄道 homepage has more details (in Japanese).


Oze National Park Homepage http://www.oze-fnd.or.jp/ This page also has a good English map

Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通 http://www.kan-etsu.net/

Tobu Railways 東武鉄道 Oze Midnight Train http://www.tobu.co.jp/2355oze/plan_ozeyako.html

My Flickr photo set from Oze http://www.flickr.com/photos/michelelisa/sets/72157625063485259/

Map of hike on GPSies http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=jktcwsweidxosdjv

Useful Kanji

Aizu bus 会津バス
Aizu Kougen Ozeguchi Station 会津高原尾瀬口駅
Akatashiro 赤田代
Asakusa 浅草
Hatomachitoge 鳩待峠
Ichinose 一ノ瀬
Joetsu Line 上越線
Kanetsu Kotsu 関越校通
Lake Oze 尾瀬沼
Lake Oze Visitor Centre 尾瀬沼ビジターセンター
Miharashi 見晴
Mt Hiuchigatake 燧ヶ岳
Nakatashiro 中田代
Numata 沼田
Numata Station 沼田駅
Numayamatoge 沼山峠
Oshimizu 大清水
Oze 尾瀬
Oze Marsh 尾瀬ケ原
Sanpei Pass 三平峠
Sanpeishita 三平下
Shinjuku 新宿
Shinjuku Station’s New South Exit 新宿駅新南出口
Takasaki 高崎
Tobu Railways 東武鉄道
Tokura 戸倉
Tokyo 東京
Yamanohana 山ノ鼻
Yoshipporitashiro ヨシッ堀田代

Five photos of Oze

8 11 2010

Okay, so I’m a little snap happy. When I went to Oze in October I took over 200 photos… Which was then narrowed down to the 87 you can see in my Flickr set. And now I’ve chosen my 5 favourites I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, most of the hike is walking through landscape like this. Unfortunately the sun didn’t like me very much on that day, and I wasn’t really able to capture the true colour of the marshlands. It was a much more vibrant orange, which you’ll see in a later photo.

However the partially cloudy conditions meant the reflections in the ponds spotted here and there were quite pretty.

And the Autumn colours were just gorgeous!

And although it was a little wet too, it didn’t take away from the scenery.

Lastly, this photo taken at Oze Lake gives you a better idea of the colour of the marsh grasses. Just beautiful. Autumn is rapidly becoming my favourite season, but next spring don’t be surprised if I start waxing lyrical about the Cherry Blossoms!

Please click on the photos to view larger versions, or check out all my photos on Flickr!

Golden Oze

15 10 2010

Well, even though I have no way of uploading this at the moment of typing, I feel I just have to write down my feelings.
See, right now, at 4:43pm Thursday, I’m sitting in my own room in a mountain hut at the northern end of Oze marsh.
And I am starving, despite having a late lunch at 1. Luckily dinner is at 5:30. And then lights out at 8:30. It feels kinda novel in a way to have no phone reception and plans to go to bed so early, but I’m in a beautiful part of japan, and it also kinda fits.
Oze is just beautiful. I love autumn colors to start with, so that doesn’t hurt, but when I look at the hills around me it’s like a glorious natural patchwork quilt.
And the marsh itself was literally glowing golden in the afternoon sun. Even the boardwalk seemed to complement the setting.
It’s been surprisingly easy to get here and get around. I had worked myself up a bit about the whole having to catch a bus and not having a reservation at this mountain hut. But it all worked out perfectly. I had no reason at all to worry. I just hope tomorrow goes as smoothly.
But I’m sure, just being around this glorious natural beauty will be enough to take away my stresses.
Not looking forward to going back to Tokyo tomorrow night *sigh*