Fun in the Bandai-Asahi Highlands

There are parks for all moods spread throughout Japan, as the Japanese have culturally maintained a close relationship with nature over the centuries. Some parks are ideal for relaxing to the sound of flowing water and chirping birds, some are ideal for long walks through displays of nature while some are great to get physically active in.

The Bandai-Asahi National Park fits into the lattermost category – it’s definitely more of a park where fun and physical activity are at the forefront of activities. There are many things to do at the park – including, but not limited to, skiing in the winter months, camping and fishing during the summer and playing water sports all year around. The park is fairly easily accessible by bullet train, Shinkansen, from Tokyo. There’s a need to change trains a few times and travel time can take up to 2.5 hours, but the sights to see and things to do in the park make the trip worth it.

There are some geographical landmarks that make the park district from others. Over 100 years ago in 1888, the volcano known as Mt. Bandai-san erupted, spewing forth large amounts of lava. The lava flowed into the Nagase River and led to the creation of several lakes, rivers and other district landscape markings that make the Bandai-Asahi National Park truly unique.

The highlands area wherein the park is located is riddled with small to medium sized ponds and lakes. As with many things Japanese, a group of ponds referred to as the Goshiki-numa, the five-colored ponds, are often considered as the most interesting and fascinating ones. Their formation is unique to the park and their coloring is attributed to volcanic substances dissolving in the water of the ponds over time, making for a truly spectacular sight. The light reflected in the water’s surface changes over time as the angle of the sun changes, allowing it to range from green hues across the color spectrum to light shades of blue and purple. A viewing area for the lakes has been constructed to allow visitors to take in the magnificent sight safely, and is large enough to easily spend an hour on walking about.

Summer and fall are the two definite seasons to visit Bandai-Asahi National Park. Nature will be in full bloom and the greatest amount of wildlife, especially native birds, can be seen during these times of year. Those who wish to experience the Japanese form of snowshoeing should pay a visit in the winter months and enjoy the thick layers of snow covering the Japanese Alps.

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