Alpine Flowers of Tohoku

Every month highlights different beauties

By Malcome Larcens    - 2 min read

Most visitor to Japan come to enjoy the popular tourist destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. Little known to most tourists is that about 80% of the country is mountainous area. Those mountains provide immense beauty and are great places to explore. Here is a chance to get fit, enjoy the great outdoors and explore the paths less traveled along the way you'll come across some incredibly beautiful flowers, plants and amazing vistas.

Here are a few of the flowers that you can expect to find along the way. Tohoku is the northern part of the main island of Honshu. It's colder than the rest of island. The first flowers appear in March in lower elevations. Some of them push their way through the melting snow. And as the snow melts, you can find flowers in higher elevations. Some of them are found in very limited areas, others are found all over Tohoku and beyound.

Another great feature of Tohoku is the extra space available. The population is much lower than the Tokyo or Osaka region. Thanks to that, there are a lot of pristine areas to explore. You can find short hikes of just a few hours to hikes of several days. There are several mountain cabins where you can spend the night when going on longer hikes. Some of them are also available in winter as well. If you are thinking of hiking in winter, I would recommend to go with a guide that knows the local area well. The weather can change drastically very quickly.

This year, we had a very special treat, bamboo flowers. Bamboo blooms only once every 80 to 120 years interval depending on the species. I was very fortunate to see some of the dwarf bamboo in bloom. I don't think that I'll live long enough to see it again in my life.

Strap on your boots, grab your backpack and start exploring Wild Japan. There's a world of beauty beckoning you!

Getting there

These flowers are found in Tohoku . I recommend the application Yamap. You can download trail maps and use them offline. It's very useful since most of the trails will be in poor cellular reception areas.

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Malcome Larcens

Malcome Larcens @malcome.larcens

I grew up in Quebec, Canada and studied electronics in college, never worked in that field. Moved to Vancouver in the early 80's where I found my real passion, cooking. I ran my own restaurant for 14 years after that worked as a financial advisor for 4 years, I really enjoyed that too but we had to move to Japan for family reasons. After moving to Japan I started teaching English and French. I enjoy teaching too but most of all I enjoy challenges, moving here was challenging but really interesting. Another challenge that I had been thinking about for about 20 years was renovating a house, so for the last 2 years that is what I have been doing. I bought a 25 year old house and am bringing it to modern standards in terms of comfort and earthquake strength. In my time off I like cycling, hiking and snowboarding in winter. Of course I still enjoy cooking. Hope you like my articles.