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Shirakami-sanchi Mountain Range

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Shirakami-sanchi Mountain Range

Shirakami-sanchi Mountain Range

The Shirakami-Sanchi is a mountain range that has one of the largest remaining natural beech forests in East Asia. The World Heritage property covers a third of the mountain range. The area features a rough mountainous landscape that cuts through deep gorges and numerous rivers, and a diverse forest environment. It was one of the first properties of Japan to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, which was in 1993.

Shirakami-Sanchi is peppered with valleys and waterfalls, including the Mase Valley, Anmon Falls, and Daira-kyo Gorge, which attracts many anglers and trekkers. It is also home to some of the most unique plants in the world, as well as protected species, including the black woodpecker, black bear, and Japanese serow. Many beech forests around the world lost much of their ecological diversity due to the formation of continental glaciers nearly 2 million years ago. However, these beech forests are particularly prominent for its diverse vegetation, which eluded simplification of earth’s glacial stages. This resulted in a pristine, undisturbed forest without extrinsic development.

Because of its untouched wilderness conditions and undisturbed beech forests, the property is set apart for its rare elements and ecosystem. Its rare bird species and large mammals all function to keep this established system stable and completed. The protected property of Shirakami-Sanchi is the last of the cool-temperate beech forests that once frequented Northern Japan. Thus, the area is extremely valuable in long-term monitoring global climate changes. The property is protected to maintain its pristine forests and elements with little human intervention.