Visit the famous Moss Forest, climb up to the lookout at Taiko Iwa, and/or hike the meandering forest trail over streams, rocks, and roots to visit the old tree called "Bugyo Sugi." We'll take a full day to explore the park
- Official Shiratani Unsuikyo Park Website
- Certified Guide List
- Hiking Notification
- Brochure and Island Map
- Trail Times, Bus Schedule
Content last updated in 2020.
- Experience Level:
- Trail Head Access:
- Bus, Car, or Taxi
- 6~7 Hour, leisurely pace
- Round Trip Distance:
- ~6 km
- Trail Head Elevation:
- 600 m
- Peak Elevation:
- 1050 m
|Strength & Technicality||⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠|
|Weather Cancellations||⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠ (Heavy rain, flooding, rarely road closures)|
For a guided hike to Taiko Iwa (which may or may not insclude the Bugyou Sugi Course), expect to pay ¥10,000~¥250,000 per hiker.
The path near the park entrance consists of a stone sidewalk, a large bolder, and suspension bridges. From there, the main route follows the Kusugawa Trail, an old trail of rocks used by Edo-period loggers. There are slippery roots, rocks, and water-crossings, but it is highly trafficked and regularly maintained trail. Signs of the force of water are everywhere. You'll enjoy crossing brooks and even through a contorted sugi tree. Just beyond the Shiratani Hut you'll encounter one of the most beloved Yaksugi trees, Nanahon Sugi. Be careful not to harm its bark or roots. Drinkable water spring out of the mountain side, and before you know it you are at the spot marked the Moss Forest (signage in Japanese, 2020).
For a half-day hike, you can simply turn around at the Moss Forest and head back the way you came.
Otherwise, continue up the trail to the saddle point called Tsuji Toge. People are probably relaxing and having lunch around here, since you are not allowed to eat lunch at Taiko Iwa. Check out the signs and make sure you understand the route. From Tsuji Toge, it's a short, but intense climb up to Taiko Iwa, where you can gaze out across KosugiDani Valley, which was heavily logged until 1970, towards the central peaks. The world feels a bit like a fish bowl. The weather beyond Taiko Iwa is often different from Shiratani Unsuikyo, so it's difficult to guess in advance if you will have a good view.
On the way back, after passing the hut and going back down through the tree, turn left on the Bugyou Sugi course. This meandering route has a lot more ascent and descent, less traffic, and it floods easily. It should be avoided if significant rainfall is expecteds, so check trail conditions at the park entrance before setting out.
Of course, you can do the trails in the order you like; just hope for misty forests of moss and a clear view from Taiko Iwa, and consider yourself lucky if you get both!
If the big rock at the front of the park is flooded, check the map, and you should see that you can either take the Yayoi Sugi route, or the side route that leads to the second parking lot.
Depending on your carrier, you may have service from Taiko Iwa, and also limited, intermittent cell phone service around the front of the park. There is usually wifi at the park entrance.