Shiretoko National Park is one of the biggest Japanese natural parks, and is located in Shiretoko Peninsula, the easternmost part of Hokkaido. Up to three fourth of the peninsula are unreachable by land transportation. A lot of flora and fauna can be found in the park, and the best known animal living here is Japan’s largest brown bear. In 2005, the peninsula has been appointed as world heritage by UNESCO, due to its ecosystem and biodiversity.
On the eastern side of the peninsula, there are towns of Utoro and Rausu, that serve as the starting points for tourists. Visitors can see the whole of the peninsula and its cliffs by boarding a sightseeing boat that departs from Utoro Port.
Sightseeing course of MS Aurora Boat
Many companies offer visitors boat sightseeing cruises from mid-April to mid-November. The trip starts from Utoro and goes along the western shoreline to Shiretoko Cape, or just a halfway. Various sizes of boats are available, smaller boats allow you to get closer to the shore and have a better view. If you are lucky enough, you can see Ezo Deers, Brown Bears, Ezo Red Foxes,or even dolphins.
Shiretoko Pass (知床峠, Shiretoko Tōge) is road that connects Utoro with Rausu. It is located at 728 meters above the sea level, and the highest point of the route gives you a beautiful view of vegetation and Mount Rausu.
By walking about twenty minutes from Shiretoko Nature Center, you can see an amazing waterfall filled willed with underground water. The water falls from a point partway up a 100-meter high cliff into the Sea of Okhotsk. The waterfall can also be seen from a sightseeing boat. While walking along the trail, you can feel the breeze and have a clear view of magnificent landscape.
Shiretoko Goko Lakes is a set of five big and smaller lakes surrounded by virgin forest. There is an 800 meter wooden elevated trail leading to the lake. You can have amazing views along the trail, and after you reach the first lake, you will be able to see the claw marks made by brown bears and even the holes bored by woodpeckers!