Extending through the prefectures of Yamanashi, Tokyo, Saitama and Nagano, this park
claims more than 20 peaks of over 6,557ft, but no volcanoes. Mt.Kobushigatake (8,141ft)
and Mt.Kumotori (6,620ft) offer a new challenge even to the seasoned climber.
Mt.Daibosatsurei (7,311ft), made famous by the novel by Kaizan Nakazato, has routes
both for standard mountain climbing and for hiking. Two of Japan's most beautiful ravines,
Mitake-Shosenkyo and Nishzawa, are beautiful in the lively greens of spring, but their true
splendor comes out in autumn, when the streams reflect unforgettable hues of the leaves
Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, easily accessed from Tokyo area, is an ideal place to
observe over 2,800 plant species and many animals, including deer, monkeys, squirrels,
and a variety of birds, in their natural habitat.
Masutomi is known all over the world as the home of a national recuperative hot spring
with an exceptionally high radium content.
Exciting natural sculpture-steep precipices, giant rocks, and crystal clear streams
running between the shaped rocks- distinguish Mitake- Shosenkyo Ravine as one of
Japan's most gorgeous sites.
This masterpiece was sculpted by the gradual erosion of granite rock by the Arakawa
River flowing from the Okuchichibu Mountains.
Since completion of the Shosenkyo Green Line and the walking path, this spectacular
sight can be enjoyed by everyone in any season.
The rich, emerald water flow, the tiered waterfalls called Nanatsugama-Godan- no- Taki,
and the huge cave called Oketsu formed by the raging water flow are enchanting sights.
You can also enjoy the thrill of crossing the wooden bridge high above the flow. The fresh,
bright green of spring, the rhododendron flowers in summer, and especially, the natural
kaleidoscopic view of the blazing colors of leaves in autumn, coupled with breathtaking
waterfalls, attest to nature's true artistic ways.
|Waterfall, Mt. Mitsumine
Chichibu-Tama- Kai National Park
Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (秩父多摩甲斐国立公園 Chichibu-Tama- Kai-
kokuritsukōen) is a national park in Japan at the intersection of Saitama, Yamanashi,
Nagano and Tokyo prefectures.
Chichibu-Tama-Kai is the least visited of the national parks within easy striking distance
of Tokyo. With eight peaks over 2000m scattered over 1250 km2, there are plenty of
hiking opportunities and ancient shrines to visit.
The most popular access route is on the Seibu Chichibu Line (西部秩父線) from
Ikebukuro in Tokyo to the terminus Chichibu station (75 minutes, ¥1370 via limited
For access to the Oku-Tama region, take the JR Chuo line to terminus Ome (75 minutes),
transferring at Tachikawa if necessary. From here, transfer to the Ome line; a trip to (eg.)
Mitake station from here takes 20 minutes and costs ¥890.
A the region is best known for its hiking, the recommended way of getting around is on
It is possible to hike Mitsumine and Mitake either separately as day trips, or as a full
day's hike along the trail connecting the two.
* Mount Mitsumine (三峰山 Mitsumine- san). Home to the 2000- year-old Mitsumine
Shrine (三峯神社 )on thesummit of this fairly tame 1100m mountain. The easiest
methods of access are via cable car from Chichibu Railway Mitsumine- guchi (¥ 950/1650
one- way/return, every 30 min from 9 AM to 4:30 PM) or direct bus from Seibu Chichibu
station (¥900, 5 daily). Still, you may find it more rewarding to hike up (or down), there
are some nice views and waterfalls along the way and you can pop in at the shrine ryokan
Kounhaku's onsen baths for a refreshing dip afterwards (¥500).
* Mount Mitake (御岳山 Mitake- san). Follows a very similar pattern, with the Musashi-
Mitake Shrine (武蔵御嶽神社) up top. Take a bus from Mitake station to the Mitake
cablecar (10 min, ¥270), then the cable car up to the shrine (¥1090 return).
The park is located on Central Honshu island 50km north- west of Tokyo. The nearest
main towns are Chichibu (10km) and Ome (2km). The park boundaries are found within
the Nagano, Saitama, Gunma and Yamanashi prefectures as well as the Tokyo
metropolitan district. 35°41'- 36°02'N, 138°30'-139°14'E.
Date and History of Establishment
The area was created as a national park on 10 July 1950: designated under the Natural
Parks Law largely as a place of scenic beauty. Development is strictly controlled (Art. 17,
18 and 19 of Natural Parks Law). There are a series of zoned areas including core area
"wilderness zones" and buffer zone "multiple use areas" where limited development is
Area 121,600ha (1,000ha special protected area)
Land Tenure 18,480ha state land, 64,070ha public land, 39,050ha private land
Physical Features The park is located entirely within a mountainous area of Honshu.
Within the boundaries there are over 20 mountain peaks all formed from paleozoic
limestones, the oldest in Japan (Sutherland and Britton, 1980). The Chichibu and Tama
mountain ranges reach a maximum altitude at Mount Kinpu (2,595m), Kokushi (2,592m)
and Kobushi (2,483m) all within the extreme west of the park. These mountains are
largely composed of diorite and granites. High rainfall levels over millions of years have
resulted in steep eroded mountain sides and deep ravines such as Shoshenkyo gorge.
The four main river systems originating in the mountains include those of Fuefuki,
Tanba/Tama, Kawamata and Nakatsu/Arakawa. The topography of the park has traces of
the scouring that occurred during the last Ice Age (IUCN, 1975; Sutherland and Britton,
1980; NCB, 1985).
Climate Temperatures vary from a mean for the hottest month of 20.6°C (August) to -
1.8°C mean for the coldest month (January). Annual precipitation averages 1672mm.
Snow falls during the mid-winter months.
Vegetation The palaeartic vegetation of the park varies from dense coniferous forests of
Japanese cedar Cryptomeria japonica and cypress Chamaecyparis obtusa, in association
with red pine Pinus densiflora, and the firs Abies mariesu and A. veitchii. Other species
include spruce Picea jezoensis var. hondoensis, larch Larix kaempferi and dwarf or
creeping pine Pinus pumila, along with hemlock Tsuga diversifolia and Abies homolepsis
var umbellata (IUCN, 1975). The deciduous forests are typically composed of beech
Fagus crenata, birch Betula tauschii and B. ermanii var. communis, water oak Quercus
crispula, chestnut Castanean crenata, Zelkova serrata, horse- chestnut Aesculus
turbinata and maple Acer (IUCN, 1975; Sutherland and Britton, 1980.
Fauna The rich woodland of the park is largely palaeartic in origin. Mammals include
Asiatic black bear Selenarctos thibetanus japonicus, wild pig Sus scrofa leucomystax,
Honshu sika Cervus nippon centralis and Japanese serow Capricornis crispus (Sutherland
and Britton, 1980). The avifauna includes such species as Honshu copper pheasant
Syrmaticus semerringii scintillans, scops owl Otus scops japonicus, broad- billed roller
Eurystomus orientalis and Japanese robin Erithacus akahige (IUCN, 1975; Sutherland
and Britton, 1980).
Cultural Heritage An important shrine, Mitake, is reputed to have been founded some
1,200 years ago under the protection of the Tokugawashogunate. The treasure house
contains many objects of national importance. A shrine festival, Hinode- matsuri, occurs
in early May every year (Sutherland and Britton, 1980).
Local Human Population The foothills of the park are densely populated and the local
people are largely dependent upon tourism and local agriculture for their livelihood. There
are extensive terraced fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes (Sutherland and Britton,
Visitors and Visitor Facilities The park has up to 8.39 million visitors a yearlargely due
to its close proximity to Tokyo (IUCN, 1975). Access is extremely good and facilities
include hoteld, visitor centres, three museums, mountain and nature trails, mountain
refuges, and camp and picnic sites. Most visitors come for outdoor activities such as
hiking, boating and mountaineering, but visits to the shrines, man made lakes, Chichibu
folk museum and Ohme railway museum are also popular (Sutherland and Britton, 1980).
Scientific Research and Facilities Investigations on the vegetation of the park area
have been undertaken by the Environment Agency (IUCN, 1975).
Management Constraints Due to its close proximity to Tokyo the park is under pressure
from a diversity of sources. Chief amongst the threats are the damming of two major rivers
within the park (at Chichibu and Okutama) to provide hydro-electricity for the Tokyo area
(IUCN, 1975). The cement factories are also having a major environmental impact on the
park at the limestone quarries of Chichibu. The forests are exploited and the more remote
areas are gradually being opened up with forest road construction (IUCN, 1975;
Sutherland and Britton, 1980).
Staff 3 full-time staff (ranger employed by the Environment Agency; two officers of the
Saitama Prefectural Government); one seasonal (warden, Nagano Prefectural
Government) (IUCN, 1975).
Budget In the mid 1970s the budget consisted of a share of the annual allocation of
US$700,000 from the Environment Agency to the National Parks; plus US$70,000 from
Tokyo, Saitama, Yamanashi and Nagano Prefectural Governments (IUCN, 1975)..