Shiretoko National Park

Rich ecosystems influenced by ice drifts, volcanic mountains and coastal cliffs

The name Shiretoko derives from the Ainu word "siretok," meaning end of the Earth. True to its name, Shiretoko is the most north-easterly point of Japan (excluding the Northern Territories). 

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Shiretoko National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time. 

Park Highlights

Shiretoko National Park is renowned for its majestically precipitous volcanic landscape and its richly diverse wildlife. In particular, the park is home to many large animals, such as the brown bear, killer whale and near-extinct birds of prey. With these creatures at the top of the ecological chain, various wild animals interrelate and thrive below them. 

DON'T MISS

  • Walking on drift ice in winter
  • Views of the Shiretoko Mountain Range from the Shiretoko Goko Lakes
  • Whale watching along the Nemuro Strait

The diversity of these creatures and the links between the ocean, river, and forest ecosystems in the area were recognized in July 2005, when Shiretoko was designated a World Natural Heritage site.

CAPE SHIRETOKO

At the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula, Cape Shiretoko comprises vast grasslands that face the Sea of Okhotsk; tour boat trips allow visitors to enjoy the view from the sea.

SHIRETOKO GOKO LAKES

Visit each of the five magical lakes and marshes scattered through a primeval forest. The deep forests surrounding the lakes, with the Shiretoko Mountain Range rising above, form a landscape representative of Shiretoko.

MT. RAUSU

From the peak of Mt. Rausu there is a magnificent view of the peninsula rising east-west from the ocean. Climbing this mountain is an eight-hour return trip and gorges remain filled with snow until late July, so thorough preparation and planning are necessary. In particular, the route from Rausu is more suited to advanced climbers.

FREPE-NO-TAKI FALLS

Also known as the Maiden’s Tears waterfall, the Frepe-no-taki Falls is caused by underground water spraying out from a crack in the cliff. In winter, it is possible to go to see the frozen waterfall, but it requires snowshoes.

About the Park 

Shiretoko National Park is recognized as a World Natural Heritage site for the following reasons: (1) the blessings brought by the ice drifts; (2) the connection between the ocean and the land linked by the rivers; and (3) the precious wildlife sustained by the ocean, rivers, and forests.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: June 1, 1964
  • Area: 38,636 ha (386.36square kilometers)
  • Location: Hokkaido

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Shiretoko National Park are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you. 
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants. 
  • Do not feed the wild animals. 
  • Hunting is not permitted. 
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking. 
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas. 
  • Stay on the trail.
  • Do not eat while walking along trails and do not cook outdoors. Doing so may attract brown bears.
  • Do not approach and/or excite brown bears.
  • Drive slowly when in the park.
  • Do not interfere with fishing activities.