Green hills, distant mountains, broad marshes, and tall trees. Onuma Park is such a beautiful slice of Japan’s great outdoors, it feels like Totoro might appear at any moment.
A Summer Visit to the Forests of Arayu-Fuji
In Tochigi’s Nasushiobara area, 200km northeast of the famous Mount Fuji, another mountain shares the name, called Arayu-Fuji. And on this other Fuji’s eastern side is a quiet wetland, with fields of long grass growing from marshy ponds, and tranquil groves of trees. This little patch of greenery is called Onuma Park, or Onuma Enchi (大沼園地).
Onuma Park is actually known to make as a spot for viewing autumn leaves, or “koyo” (紅葉), and many trek out to the park when the weather cools every fall. But summer in Onuma Park has its own charms, and its own group of fans. The Nasu area is known as a summer getaway spot, and like much of the region, the park’s high altitude and fresh greenery help keep the weather cool and breezy. At Onuma Park, little green frogs hop through the wet marshy grass, and different species of dragonfly buzz through the air throughout the season. One of those dragonfly varieties is the world’s smallest, the “scarlet dwarf”!
Entering the World of Ghibli
The wooden walkways at Onuma Park lead you on a path alongside tall grasses and through the hushed forest, until the trees come to a sudden stop. Like walking through a magical portal, the bright sky opens up revealing a dazzling panorama of the unique Onuma marshlands. Despite the warm sunlight, the breeze, wafting out over the marsh water and the cool green grass, keeps things cool. In such pleasant weather, you might find yourself wanting to take pictures of every angle, to try and bring a little of this natural vista home with you.
If Totoro followed you out of the forest and went to take a dip in the water, would it really be all that surprising?
Name: Onuma Park / Onuma-Enchi (大沼園地)
Address: 1333 Shiobara, Nasushiobara, Tochigi
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