Located at the northern edge of Mt. Iwate, this is a vast forest park covering an area of 360 hectares, which is about 80 times the size of Tokyo Dome. The park is home to about 200 species of wild birds and mammals such as black bears and Japanese serows.At the foot of the mountain, a forest of Mongolian oak and beech trees spreads out, and a variety of trees have been planted in this well-maintained park. The tree-lined paths with birch and hydrangea scattered about make for a great atmosphere for a stroll.
Spring: The rows of star magnolia trees planted in the Minna-no Hiroba bloom in unison, and spring ephemerals such as kikuzaki ichige and dogtooth violets are also stunning. The cherry blossoms will be in full bloom around the time of the Golden Week holidays, when as many as 500 cherry trees were be planted, and together with the “couple cherry blossoms,” the area will become a famous cherry blossom viewing spot with the magnificent snow-covered backdrop of Mt. Iwate.
From early summer through mid-summer: The park is famous as a star-gazing spot where the Milky Way can be seen with breathtaking clarity. Around June, the park is filled with the chorus of the cicadas. Later, the sound changes as a different variety of cicada fills the soundscape of the park, the flowers bloom one after another, and you can walk among the large colonies of snakeberry and fairy bells. You can also see fireflies during the Tanabata Festival.
Autumn: This is one of the best spots in Iwate for viewing the autumn leaves, including the Morinohashi Bridge and Matsukawa Valley. The autumn foliage seen from the Morinoohashi Bridge is breathtakingly beautiful as both banks of the Matsukawa River become a valley of blazing autumn leaves. The peak season for autumn foliage is from mid to late October. It sometimes snows during this period, so if you are lucky, you can enjoy the snow and the autumn leaves.
Winter: The landscape is covered with snow. This is not just any snow- it’s perfect powder! Visitors can enjoy following animal tracks and observing winter buds on snowshoes, or play in the snow on skis or sleds. During the coldest part of the winter, the 30-meter-high Nanataki Falls freezes over and becomes an impressive ice falls, attracting many visitors.
Rentals available at Forest-i Foresty Museum (snow season, per day)