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Oze Marsh (1) - July 1988

Location: Nikko National Park
Transportation to Start Point:
By Car: Shibuya - Kanetsu Expressway entrance 1hr 30 mins
Kanetsu Expressway - Togura 2hrs 30 mins
Togura - Oshimizu 15 mins
Walk Duration:
Day 1 (5 hrs 20 mins)
Oshimizu - Ichinose 1 hr
Ichinose - Sanpei Toge 15 mins
Sanpei Toge - Ozenuma 15mins
Ozenuma - Ozenuma Hutte 25 mins
Ozenuma Hutte - Senko Shitsugen 20 mins
Senko Shitsugen - Numajiri Shitsugen 40 mins
Numajiri Shitsugen - Miharashijujiro 1 hrs 40 mins
Day 2 (2hrs 40 mins)
Miharashijujiro - Yamanohana Tashiro 1 hrs 50 mins
Yamanohana Tashiro - Hatomachi Toge 50 mins

Getting there is the first consideration! The drive along the Kanetsu Expressway is realtively easy after the slog of getting from Central Tokyo to the beginning of the Expressway, and within an hour on the Expressway you exit with a yen 2,900 road toll. From there you turn left along Route 120 which is clearly marked (for those who read Japanese!) to Oze. After about 45 minutes on Route 120 you reach Kateshina Village, where the road swings off to the left along Route 401. Within 15 minutes you arrive at Togura, which is the staging post for walks in the Oze area. From Togura to the left is Hatomachi Toge, some 11 km distant and the starting point of the walk from the Oze marsh end. Straight on the road runs for 8 km before terminating at Oshimizu, the starting point of the walk from the Ozenuma end. Bus and taxi services are available to both starting points if you decide to leave your car at Togura.

 

 

A study of the topography of the walk shows the pros and cons of each starting point. Hatomachi Toge is by far the most popular with organised bus tours since you actually walk down in to the Oze marsh, and unless you go on to Ozenuma there is very little climbing to do. On the other hand, entering via Oshimizu takes you to the less populated and picturesque Ozenuma end, and from there you can drop down on to the lower Oze marsh area at your leisure.

Oshimizu car park

Start of the walk at the barrier at the end of the car park

From the car park at Oshimizu the path leads off amongst trees but quickly returns to rough made-up roads until a small loadge at Ichinose is reached within an hour. This first hour is not too stenuous despite the fact that you are climbing all of the time, but you feel a little cheated as you are walking on the road. However after passing over a bridge you swing off to the left as the track enters the densley wooded area and follows the stream up the valley. Climbing along this path over rough stones and tree roots you eventually reach the start of the walking-boards, placed to make the walk easier in the marshy areas.


 

Mick and John Langley

Ozenuma

Soon after this you reach the highest point, Sanpei Toge at 1,762m. The terrain then starts to drop and within 15 minutes you arrive lakeside at Ozenuma, with its picnic tables, lodge and refreshment place. From the lake the path takes off to the right along logs through the marsh until the Ozenuma Hutte area is reached, with its several lodges, campground and visitor centre.

Between Ozenuma and Senko Shitsugen

 

 

From Ozenuma Hutte you take off across a marshy area on logs, taking a sharp left turn gradually climbing up to a good obeservation point to look back towards the lodges. This is a pretty area where the lake meets marsh and is abundant with flowers. More "log-walks" take you past Senko Shitsugen and on to Numajiri Shitsugen at the end of the lake where the Chozo Goya rest place is located. Food and drinks are available here.

Chozo Goya

Mick at Chozo Goya

Deluxe sleeping accommodation for tired walkers!

Departing Chozo Goya towards the lower marsh you continue on logs and eventually start to climb a little until the highest point is reached at Shirasuna Toge. From this point you drop down over rough tracks and poorly logged trails until you eventually come to Miharashijujiro, where the main lodges of the Oze Marsh are located. The lodges are well appointed, with bedding being provided and there is even a small ofuro.

 

Oze Goya

 

Having reached this stage of the walk mumerous logged paths are available to you across the marsh. The direct route to the West to Yamanohana Tashiro takes about an hour and fifty minutes. To the North, the path to Onsen Goya takes 30 minutes, and half way alomg this is a turnoff which leads to Toden Goya and a walk along the less crowded edge of the marsh. Looking back at almost any point you see Hiuchigadake towering at 2,340 meters above the lodges at Miharashijujiro. To the West the marsh is overlooked by Shibutsu Yama at 2,228 meters. The marsh itself stands at a height of 1,410 meters above sea level.

 

 

 

On the Oze marsh looking back towards the lodges, with Hiuchigatake 2,346m in the background