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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

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 the highest peak of the range—Rausu-dake—standing at a towering 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

Autumn 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 JT Shiretoko Shari Station, take the bus bound to Shiretoko Utoro Onsen, then change to the Shari Bus, riding to Shiretoko Goko or Shiretoko Ohashi Station. From either of those stations, the nature center is approximately 10-minutes by foot. The entire trip takes approximately one hour.

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World Heritage