|From Tokyo:||3 hr|
|From Sapporo:||4-8 hr|
How to Get There
Shiretoko National Park sits on the Shiretoko Peninsula in northeastern Hokkaido Prefecture. The Shiretoko Peninsula is a World Heritage site noted for having one of the world's richest integrated ecosystems. The park's highlights include five scenic lakes, a hot-spring waterfall and views of drifting sea-ice during winter. Public transportation is somewhat limited, so it's best to rent a car or join a tour to explore the park.
Take a flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Memanbetsu Airport (1 hr 30 min). Utoro, the gateway to the western side of Shiretoko National Park facing the Sea of Okhotsk, is about 100 kilometers from Memanbetsu. During the summer and winter months, a two-hour bus service is available to Utoro. There are also less frequent flights from Haneda to Nakashibetsu Airport (1 hr 40 min). From the airport, you can take a bus (1 hr 10 min) from Akan Bus to Rausu, another small town. Utoro and Rausu are both gateways to the park and serve as excellent bases, though Utoro has more frequent bus services.
Several daily flights link Sapporo's Shin-Chitose Airport with Memanbetsu Airport and a 6-hour highway bus connects Sapporo and Utoro. The bus leaves at around midnight from Sapporo arriving at around 6:00 a.m. at Shari Bus Terminal in Utoro. From Utoro it leaves in the morning and arrives in Sapporo at around 4:30 p.m. It's also possible to reach the park by train, but the journey takes between seven and eight hours, not including connection times. Take the Super Ozora express train from Sapporo to Kushiro Station, change to the JR Senmo Line and alight at Shiretoko-Shari Station. Infrequent buses connect Shiretoko-Shari Station with Utoro; some buses continue to the Shiretoko Five Lakes area.
Limited public transportation options make joining a tour the best option for exploring Shiretoko National Park. Shiretoko Pass (closed in winter) connects Utoro in the west with Rausu in the east; roads also run along the east and west coasts. You'll need to hike or take a boat to see the rest of the park. Utoro offers the easiest access by car to attractions in the west of the park, including Shiretoko Five Lakes, Furepe-no-Taki Falls and Kamuiwakka Falls. Buses also run from Utoro to the attractions on the east coast (10-30 min), but service is infrequent (even more so during the winter). Sightseeing boats, whale- and bird-watching cruises, and drift-ice tours operate out of Rausu.