The Enchanted Forest 幻想の森
Location: Tozawa-mura, Mogami, Yamagata Prefecture
Directions: Turn up the mountain 400m west of JR Takaya Station, before the bridge. The path to the forest takes 15 minutes by car or approximately 1 hour on foot.
Opening times: June to November, the road is impassable during winter.
Enjoy the unique landscape of the Mogami valley by visiting the Enchanted Forest of Tozawa (gensou no mori)! The forest is located part of the way up Mt. Tsuchiyu and is a beautiful scenic destination for hikers of all ages and abilities, with the pathway located a short walk and an even shorter drive from the nearest train station.
Just like in a fairy tale, the cedars are gnarled and twisted into shapes that are unrecognisable from their arrow-straight cousins. Whether the cedars were warped by the elements or by design is a puzzle that modern science has yet to solve. Seeds taken from the Enchanted Forest grow into straight cedars, confounding researchers as to the cause of the trees' incredible shapes and further adding to the mysterious aura of the forest. The cedars, which are hundreds of years old, grow in such a way that they appear like separate, individual trees, although many have grown from a single cedar's branch. Another of the forest's enigmas is the fact that there are cedars growing at all at such a low altitude (240m above sea level), when normally such trees are found only on mountains around 1,800m tall. Coupled with the unsolved mysteries regarding the forest's formation, the twisted and ancient trees put one in mind of 'Fangorn Forest,' featured in the Lord of the Rings franchise. Particularly on misty days, it is very easy to see why it is called the Enchanted Forest.
The Enchanted Forest is a great destination for nature-lovers, photographers and hikers throughout summer and is particularly beautiful during autumn. You can hike up to the forest or drive up as you wish, but please be careful-the steep, curved road is wide enough for only one car to pass at a time.
If you are looking for a place for a picnic or for a walking route, the Enchanted Forest is perfect. The Enchanted Forest is also located a short distance from the Tozawa-mura Mogami River Dock, so why not end your adventure into the woods with a relaxing cruise down the river valley?