Shiretoko National Park is often called the last pristine land to be left in Japan. Severe weather conditions and the natural lay of the land have left the area with a pristine appearance. Shiretoko with its row of volcanic mountains is the easternmost of Hokkaido’s national parks. Most of the coastal areas of the peninsula are cliffs and strangely shaped crags. This area is one of the last unexplored regions of Japan. You can see ice floats drifting along the coast in the winter. The park also features birds, alpine plants, and quiet little lakes lying within its forest. Abashiri, on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, is surrounded by lakes and wetlands.
On June 1st, 1964, it was designated as a national park of the Japanese most eastern northern end. For this peninsula, a possible area is many approaching to from sea only. Then, a weather is severe.
Therefore, an original crude range that an interference of a human being doesn’t reach spreads. In order to defend this valuable nature, 50% of a national park also is designated by a special protection district. Shiretoko is called a national park to represent Japanese primitive nature.
Area: 38,633 ha (inside special protection district 19,362 ha)
Visitor center: Rausu Visitor Center
Access to Shiretoko National Park: By train – 6hrs 54min (11850 yen) to JR Shiretoko Shari Station from Sapporo Station By car – 534 km to Shari from Sapporo (Buses run from Shari to Utoro and Rausu)
By plane – 45min (14500 yen) to Memambetsu Airport from New Chitose Airport
Figure: Mt.Rausudake (Mt.Rausu) is the highest peak of Shiretoko peninsula.
A strong volcanic activity and drift ice made Shiretoko peninsula. For a volcanic activity steep mountain are equivalent to try as making it, a drift ice shaved a beach. For a width, from rausu to utoro scantly 16 km. The environment that a steep mountain and sea are put together in made up Shiretoko unique nature.
This rocky peninsula extends 63 kilometers out from the northeast coast of Hokkaido. There is no road to the tip of the rocky peninsula, and the only transportation to the cape area is by the ferry, which runs between Utoro on the north shore and Rausu on the south. An unmanned lighthouse stands at the tip of Cape Shiretoko, and small fishermen’s huts are scattered around the base of the cape. Shiretoko also has five lakes located in the virgin forest at the foot of the Shiretoko Mountain Range. There is a 2.4-kilometer hiking path that encircles the lakes. Nearby, the Kamui Wakka Falls are 32 meters high and two meters wide. Hot spring water pours out from the rock walls and mixes with river water as it spills over these falls.
At western foot of the Shiretoko Mountains lie the “Shiretoko Five Lakes,” which are surrounded by primeval forests. These are small lakes that have remained on the lava plateau. The first to the fifth lakes lie along a 3-km promenade. It takes approximately one hour to visit these five lakes on foot. The largest is the second lake. At the third lake, colonies of skunk cabbages bloom in May. This area is inhabited by numerous wild animals, and entry is sometimes prohibited due to appearances of bears.
The upper part of the peninsula, which has been designated a national park, is touted as the only spot in Japan where the natural beauty remains completely untouched. The only way to view the rugged coast, steep cliffs and many waterfalls is from sightseeing boats, which start from Utoro and cruise around the cape. Utoro is located on the northwestern coast of the peninsula. It functions as the gateway to the northern part of Shiretoko. The village of Rausu is a tourism base, fishing center and home to the Rausu hot springs. You can see Kunashiri Island across the Nemuro Straits.
Figure: A bird’s eye view of Shiretoko national park (left), Cliff in Iwaobetsu reflecting the sunset (middle) and Shiretoko Range running straight in the Peninsula – View from the ridge near Mt. lou (right)
Access to Shiretoko Peninsula: 55 minutes by Shari bus from Shari Bus Terminal to Utoro Onsen, 10 minute walk to Utoro Port.
The city of Abashiri spreads out around the mouth of the Abashiri River, on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk. The port is always alive with boats coming and going to the northern seas to catch salmon and trout.
Access to Abashiri: By Train: 7hrs 15 min by limited express from JR Sapporo Station to JR Abashiri Station
By Plain: 45 minutes from new Chitose Airport to Memambetsu Airport
- Highest peak of the Shiretoko peninsula selected as one of the best 100 mountain in Japan.
- Height above sea level 1,661 m.
- Highest peak of Shiretoko peninsula is “rausu mountain”
- A rausu mountain to rise highly at the center of the Shiretoko peninsula to stick out on sea, can see it from Abashiri and distance Nemuro also.
- From the top of a mountain of a rausu mountain, look like a boundary as ohotuku sea and Nemuro channel and kunashiri island spread on a foot origin for Shiretoko peninsula. There is a mountain climbing road on the side of utoro side and rausu respectively.
Figure: Shiretoko-goko Lakes in late autumn & Mt. Rausu having its first snowfall (left), Kashuni Waterfall plunging into the sea (middle) and Drift ice covering a great extent of the seas (right)
Shiretoko mountain range 2nd peak (1,562 m). You can run right across it from a rausu mountain to Mt.Iousan. You can walk while seeing sea of ohotuku and Nemuro channel on right and left of a ridgeline.
Mountain climbing course
- Even rausutaira under a rausu mountain ascends from utoro or rausu.
- You can run right across a ridgeline from rausu Osamu to Mt.Iousan.
- You can climb down a mountain from Mt.Iousan to a path through a forest near kamuiwakka. It is good, if you do a camp in rausutaira and Mt.Mitumine hutatuike as being 2 day itineraries.
Shiretoko chain of mountains
Between Mt.Rausu and Mt.iousan
Wetland located 750 m above sea level where rare alpine plants thrive. Damp ground takes and encloses Lake rausu and another small lake swamp group. Lake rausu becomes a treasury of an alpine plant.
Waterfall of Kumagoe (Kumagoe-no-taki)
Kumagoe Waterfall is located at the entrance on the way of Shiretoko Crosscut Road for about 30 minutes. Because bears used to come and go across the waterfall in old times, it was named “Kumagoe Waterfall.” The roads are maintained. The Nature observation course is a short 20-minute round trip, this trekking course takes you to some wonderful yet little known places. The perfect way to stretch your legs and experience the World Natural Heritage!
An active geyser periodically blows hot water from the ground. One of Hokkaido’s designated natural monuments, the geyser is located approximately 3km from the town centre in the Shiretoko Pass direction, on the right riverbank of the “Hatsudensho Kawa” river (electricity generation river).
A grass of plateau formed spreads for a cape. There countlessly is a road of a bear.
Shiretoko Pass Both sides of Shiretoko peninsula are visible from Shiretoko pass, at a height of 740 m above sea level.
Hikari Goke (luminous moss)
Hikari Goke (luminous moss) is found in the Makkaushi caves in Shiretoko. On the Rausu side there are Hikari-goke cave, Seseki Onsen and Kunashiri Tenboto
Largest roost of a Steller’s sea-eagle and White-tailed eagle. Before the sun ascends eagle pass an appearance to fly at the same time is made to be impressed. Don’t enter the inner part of a gorge.
A road finishes to be in this place. There are hot springs that have a view of sea on a beach.
The island of kunashiri is located to the east of Rausu, in the Nemuro channel. It is located to be parallel to Shiretoko peninsula, range and enters a visibility continuously from a beach line of rausu and shibetu. It is a distance of 15 ? from a peninsula with a field of first near shibetu.
From February to about March, drift ice flows South from the Ohotuku sea through the Nemuro channel, passing Shiretoko cape.
This is Hokkaido’s largest lake and is separated from the Sea of Okhotsk by a long narrow sandbar. This lake is inhabited by many saltwater fish, and is famous for its abundant scallops and oysters.
Hilly areas draped with fields of natural flowers surround this oval lake, north of Abashiri on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk.
Enjoy and learn about the Brown bear, Steller’s sea-eagle and white-tailed eagle, Shika deer, Bird’s song and Spring flower. In winter, many steller’s sea-eagle and white-tailed eagle gather on rausu. A place where an eagle that a length of a wing exceeds 2 meters gathers is rare in the world. A white-tailed eagle breeds in Shiretoko peninsula.
Shiretoko Peninsula and Essential Contact Information For Shiretoko World Natural Heritage