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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.