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  • Meoto Cedar
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  • Summit of Mt. Taihei
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  • Display of a natural Akita Cedar at the Nibetsu Forest Museum
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  • Sunlight streaming through the needles of natural Akita Cedars
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  • Inside the Nibetsu Forest Museum
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  • Baldwin steam locomotive
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  • Diesel locomotive
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Nibetsu Recreation Forest (Nibetsu Kokumin-no-Mori)


Elevation Lowest : 200m / Average : 220–300m / Highest : 1,171m (Mt. Taihei's summit)

Nibetsu Recreation Forest ― home of natural Akita Cedar

Nibetsu Recreation Forest ― home of natural Akita Cedar

Newest information
Please visit official tourism websites for the latest updates and information.
movie.jpg  Drone Footage
Flower-viewing (species: Ezo Yamazakura, sargent cherry (Prunus sergentii)) (Includes surrounding area) Autumn leaf viewing (Includes surrounding area) Birdwatching (Includes surrounding area) Paddling / fishing / boating (pond / lake / river) : In the Mt. Taihei Resort Park (Payment required) (Outside the forest) Guided tours (Foreign language support not available) Hands-on forestry / woodworking experience Hot Spring (Outside the forest) Taiheizan Ski Area Opas (no. of trails: 3) (Foreign language signs or pamphlets available) Forest railway ride (In the museum) Forest railway remains (observation only) (Includes surrounding area) : Incline track, etc. Shrine / Temple visit : Miyoshi Shrine on Mt. Taiheizan (Outside the forest)
Geographical/topographical features
The Nibetsu Recreation Forest is in the Mt. Taihei Prefectural Natural Park, and extends across the base of Mt. Taihei almost at the center of Akita Prefecture. It is the headwaters area of the Asahi River, which runs through central Akita City. The mainly-granite bedrock has eroded to create a steep landscape despite the moderate elevation. The wide variety of topography, with valleys and waterfalls large and small, is one of the attractions of the forest.
Historical/cultural features
In 1966, the Forestry Agency designated six areas throughout Japan as Kokumin-no-Mori (forests for citizens) as a Meiji Restoration 100th anniversary project. One of them was Nibetsu Kokumin-no-Mori, which conserved natural Akita Cedar, Akita Prefecture's naturally grown Sugi (Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica (L. f.) D. Don)), and contributes to preserving the landscape while providing a place for recreation (the area was later designated as a Recreation Forest). According to a local legend, En no Gyoja, a mountain ascetic in the Nara period (8th century) who is known as the founder of the Shugendo religion and the founder of sacred sites in various regions, opened a temple on Mt. Taihei. Mt. Taihei has been a sacred mountain and pilgrimage site from ancient times. Near the summit (outside the Recreation Forest) stands “okumiya” (the interior shrine) of Miyoshi Shrine on Mt. Taiheizan, which is famous for the Miyoshi Bonden Festival, also known as "Bonden fighting," which takes place annually in mid-January.
Climate, flora and fauna
The area up to an elevation of 700–800 m is a mixed forest of conifer trees―mainly Akita Cedar―and broad-leaved trees such as Buna (Japanese beech (Fagus crenata Blume)). The broad-leaved forest begins at an elevation of 800 m and mainly consists of Japanese beech and Mizunara (Japanese oak mizu-nara (Quercus crispula Blume)). The scenery is splendid year-round. In the spring, the fresh green leaves of the Japanese beech and the pink flowers of Benizakura (sargent cherry (Cerasus sargentii (Rehder) H.Ohba) decorate the mountain, and in the autumn, colored maple leaves (Acer) are reflected by the river. Nihon Kamoshika (Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus)), which have been designated as a special natural treasure, can sometimes be seen along the Asahi River and the forest roads.
Arboretums and walking trails have been developed around the Nibetsu Forest Museum and volunteer guides offer hospitable and helpful guide services.
The Nibetsu Forest Museum has been constructed largely out of wood, and is a precious museum where you can learn history and experience the forest and forestry. A car from the steam train that formerly ran on the forest railroad is displayed, and the Museum explains the background of the beautiful natural forest of Akita Cedar, known as one of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Forests. Free wood craft activities using acorns and other forest materials are also available.
The walking trails (Seseragi No Michi (600 m / 25 minutes), Meoto-Sugi No Michi (470 m / 25 minutes), and Irodori No Michi (450 m / 25 minutes) include the wooden Meoto Bridge and a suspension bridge over the limpid upper Asahi River. A symbol of the forest―the Meoto Cedar―is also found here. This Japanese cedar has been designated as one of the 100 Giants of the Forest, a list of giant trees selected from national forests as representatives of the area that should be preserved in a sound state for future generations.
Latest Information
Information on temporarily unavailable facilities
There is a signboard announcing the operation status of the Nibetsu Shinrin Museum at the entrance of Nibetsu Forest Road.
Regular events
Family Forest Class (around July)
Programs such as a forest railway exhibition, mushroom exhibition, and craft exhibition are held at the Nibetsu Shinrin Museum.
Warnings (Flora and fauna)
Asian black bear: Tsukinowaguma (Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus)) may be present during the period from May to November. When entering the forest, please carry a bear bell and stay in a group. Check for local information on bear sightings and warnings and follow instructions.
Ticks: Please note that ticks are present in bamboo grass areas. Wearing long sleeves and long trousers is essential.
Nihonyamabiru (land leech (Haemadipsa zeylanica japonica)): Please be careful to avoid land leeches from April through November, particularly on or after a rainy day.Wearing long sleeves and long trousers is essential.
(Land leech repellent is constantly available for free at the Nibetsu Shinrin Museum, so please inquire with the staff.)
Warnings (Dangerous areas)
There is a risk of landslides in some areas.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Free of charge
Opening seasons and hours
The forest is closed when Nibetsu Forest Road is covered with snow (mid-November through late April).
Staffed facilities such as administration buildings
Nibetsu Shinrin Museum
Operating season: April 28 through November 6 (may vary depending on snowfall)
Operating hours: 10am–5pm (April through September), 10am–4pm (October through November)
Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (except for national holidays)
Accommodation options
Hotels and inns in Akita City
Toilets and drinking fountains (No drinking water available / water for emergency available) Toilet (accessible) Footpath / walking trail / nature trail (Includes surrounding area) Walking trail (accessible) Bike trail (Currently impassable) Parking lot (Includes surrounding area) Observation platform Shop (Outside the forest) Restaurant (Outside the forest) Campsite and/or cabins (Outside the forest) Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) (Outside the forest) Specimen forest / Botanic garden (Includes surrounding area) Resource center/Museum Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns) (Outside the forest)
Nibetsu, Akita Prefecture
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • 50 minutes by taxi from Akita Station
<Access from major transport hubs to nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • Tokyo Station → (Akita Shinkansen: about 230 minutes) → Akita Station
By car
  • Tohoku Expressway Akita Chuo IC → (public road, Nibetsu Forest Road: about 50 minutes, 23.6 km) → Nibetsu Shinrin Museum
<Car parking capacity / parking charges>

Free parking for about 15 vehicles (unpaved)

Nearby tourist facilities
  • Akita City Botanical Garden, Mt. Taihei Resort Park (11 km before the Nibetsu Shinrin Museum when driving from Akita Chuo IC)
Management office contact details
Akita District Forest Office
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
“Akitacchi” Akita Convention & Visitors Bureau Website [External link]
Official Tourist Information
Tourism Division, Akita Municipal Office [External link]
Akita Convention & Visitors Bureau [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Akita City Nibetsu Recreation Forest Management Committee
Within the Agricultural Land and Forest Development Division, Akita Municipal Office
Nibetsu Shinrin Museum Volunteer Guide Association

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