Oze is a 1400 to 1600-meter-high basin that straddles the three prefectures of Gunma, Niigata, and Fukushima. Originally part of Nikko National Park, the area was spun off from the park and established as Oze National Park in 2007.
The area is surrounded in all directions by many 2000-meter-class mountains including Mt. Shibutsu (Shibutsu-san) and Mt. Hiuchigatake (Hiuchigatake). Hikers can walk along the boardwalks that extend through marshlands such as Ozegahara and Ozenuma while enjoying the ponds that dot the peat bog landscape, the area’s flowers, and views of the mountains in the background. The area is especially scenic from May to June when the mizubasho (Asian skunk cabbage) are in bloom, in July when the nikkokisuge (Nikko day lily) bloom, and from September to October when the autumn foliage comes in.
There are many trailheads that lead to Oze, including Hatomachi-toge Pass, Fujimi-shita, Oshimizu, Numayama-toge Pass, and Kozo-daira. However, Hatomachi-toge Pass on the Gunma Prefecture side and Numayama-toge Pass on the Fukushima Prefecture side are the most popular due to their convenient public transportation access.
The Oze area is dotted with mountain huts. If you stay overnight at one, you can enjoy stunning sights including the sunrise, sunset, and the morning mist. Each of the huts has limited space, so a reservation is needed. Please note that use of soap for bathing is prohibited in order to protect the environment.
Other mountains in Oze National Park include Mt. Taishaku (Taishaku-san), which is famous for its osabagusa (Pteridophyllum racemosum) flowers that bloom in June, Mt. Tashiro (Tashiro-yama) and Mt. Aizu Komagatake, which are known for its vast marshlands and ponds located near its peak.