Shirakami-Sanchi (白神山地?, lit. white god mountain area) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Honshū, Japan. This mountainous, unspoiled expanse of virgin forest straddles both Akita and Aomori Prefectures. Of the entire 1,300 km², a tract covering 169.7 km² was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993. Siebold’s beech trees make up a large portion of the forest.

The Shirakami-Sanchi was one of the first sites entered on the World Heritage List in Japan, along with Yakushima, Himeji Castle, and Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area in 1993. The Shirakami-Sanchi is usually said to contain large areas of forest not covered by the World Heritage listing. However the level of preservation in these areas is not as high as in the central listed area. The World Heritage Site area has never been opened to human activity or trails other than mountain climbers’ paths, and is planned to be protected in this state. Permission is needed from Forest Management to enter the heart of the Shirakami-Sanchi. Fishing requires permission from both the Fishing Cooperative and Forest Management.

The beech is usually unsuitable for cultivation of the Shiitake mushroom. Therefore the beech forests have never been disturbed by Shiitake farmers and remain in a state of preservation much greater than that of surrounding forests. Apart from beeches, Katsura, Kalopanax, Japanese Hop-hornbeam and other species of tall deciduous trees are found in the forest.

These triple falls in the World Heritage Site are easily accessible on foot and are a popular sightseeing destination.

Shirakami-Sanchi is bordered on the east by Tsugaru quasi-national park.

Shirakamidake is the highest peak in Shirakami-Sanchi. From the summit, fantastic views over the surrounding country can be seen; however the peak itself is not a part of the World Heritage Site and, as such, permission is not necessary to climb. The summit is equipped with toilet and shelter facilities.

At the foot of the Shi…

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