Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島) is located in the eastern part of Hokkaido (北海道). It is said to be the last unexplored region in Japan which is still abundant in virgin forests. It is popular for its waterfall kingdom that can be seen while on board a sightseeing boat. There are also cliffs stretching for many miles in this area. If you’d like to fully enjoy the place, it would be best to visit representative spots. Here are three of the enjoyable ones to try!
Cape Puyuni is a popular place for great views and stunning sunsets. It is located on the northern coast of Shiretoko Peninsula and is also famous for the first arrival of drift ice during winter.
On clear days, you can see the Sea of Okhotsk (オホーツク海), a marginal sea of the Western Pacific Ocean, from Cape Puyuni. You can also see Utoro (ウトロ) Harbor, which is very attractive due to the large rocks sitting in the sea.
If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to see mountains as far as Akan National Park (阿寒国立公園), which is popular for its three lakes. Catch the beautiful sunset at this place when nighttime falls. The place is open all year round so you can visit it anytime you want.
There are so many waterfalls in Shiretoko but the most delicate of them all is Furepe Waterfall, thus the name, “Maiden’s Tears.” You can experience watching the falls by boat or by following its 2-kilometer trail where you can see great cliffs. You may also witness wild animals passing by such as birds, deer, and foxes.
During winter, you can trek to this waterfall by cross-country skiing or by wearing snow shoes. It will take you about 20 minutes to walk from the Shiretoko National Park Nature Center (知床自然センター).
Furepe Waterfall is also considered as one of the eight beautiful sites of Shiretoko.
The name “Oronkoiwa” comes from an ethnic group called “Oronko” people. They used to live in this area, which has a rock elevated at a height of 60 meters. This rock has a staircase consisting of 170 steps leading to a summit, which gives you a breathtaking view. You can see the rocky reef below which dissolves in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Oronkoiwa Rock is open for viewing from late April to December when there is no snow. This is also a place where you can see several slaty-backed gulls which contribute to the place’s natural sound. You can also enjoy the beautiful sunset here.
During wintertime, there’s an event called “The Aurora Fantasy” where the aurora from the night sky of Shiretoko in 1958 is recreated. It’s a fun experience as you get to enjoy dynamic music, smokes, and beams of light.
Visiting these three natural places in Shiretoko Peninsula can be one of your most unforgettable experiences in Japan. There are many cultural heritage sites and areas of exceptional beauty in the country and Shiretoko is just one of them. The place also has high-quality hot springs and hotels you can check out if you’d prefer to stay for a longer time.