shiretoko area

Shiretoko (UNESCO) Volcanic landscape home to rare wildlife

Journey the narrow peninsula of Shiretoko, and explore rugged mountains, serene lakes, and gorgeous coastline

Located on the northeastern tip of Hokkaido , the wild nature of Shiretoko was registered as a Natural Heritage site in July 2005. A volcanic mountain range runs down the center of the peninsula and includes the active volcano Mt. Iozan and Mt. Rausu, the highest peak of the range standing at 1,661 meters above sea level. This rugged, untamed landscape, with 100-meter tall coastal cliffsides, is occupied by numerous bird species and fish. Further inland you'll find hiking trails leading to lakes and volcanic plateaus home to an abundance of wildlife.

Highlights

  • Catching a glimpse of rare bird species, which feed off the flourishing marine life
  • Exploring the numerous lakes that have formed around the lava plateaus typical of the region
  • Trekking past waterfalls and rugged cliffsides that stretch along the Sea of Okhotsk

Mountains, lakes and old-growth forest

Shiretoko is bordered by the Sea of Okhotsk to the west and the Nemuro Straits to the east. Volcanic activity has created numerous lakes surrounded by old-growth forest. Enjoy a one-hour hike around the Shiretoko Five Lakes to view the local wildlife, abundant foliage, and pristine mountain terrain. Birdwatchers will find rare avian species such as Blakiston's fish owls, Steller's sea eagles, and white-tailed sea eagles. Marine life also thrives in the area, with the abundant salmon and trout that breed in the sea off Shiretoko acting as an important food resource.

Seasonal journeys

Fall sees the foliage turn crimson red and vivid yellow, and during this period you'll encounter schools of salmon and trout swimming upriver to spawn. As fall turns to winter, drifting ice from further north transforms the Sea of Okhotsk into a white snowfield. Hikers are encouraged to contact the Shiretoko Nature Center to take advantage of guided night tours and daytime treks tailored to bird watching, wild animal tracking, and alpine plant studies.

How to Get There

Access the Shiretoko Nature Center by car, bus, or JR railway from Memanbetsu Airport. From Shiretoko-Shari Station, take the bus bound to Utoro Onsen, then change to Shari Bus, riding to Shiretoko Goko or Shiretoko Ohashi. From either of those stops, the nature center is approximately 10-minutes by foot. The entire trip takes approximately one hour.

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