A visit to Shiretoko National Park in Hokkaido, Japan

The Shiretoko Peninsula on the north east tip of Hokkaido, the northernmost Japanese island, is designated a World Natural Heritage Site. The narrow spit of land that juts out into the Sea of Okhotsk is home to a huge variety of wildlife while the surrounding waters provide some of the world’s best whale watching.

Sadly an incoming typhoon put paid to our chances of a boat trip to look for whales but our day driving around the peninsula offered plenty of rewarding sights. I’ll leave this as a picture post for now and will write up the details of our visit to the park in the coming weeks. It is enough to say that in almost any other part of the world Shiretoko would attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, such are the natural attractions on offer. Here in this remote region of Japan, apart from a modest flow of domestic tourists the area remains relatively untouched.

Early morning photographers at Oshinkoshin Falls

Early morning photographers at Oshinkoshin Falls

Shiretoko Five Lakes

Shiretoko Five Lakes - we were given strict bear warnings before setting out

Shiretoko Five Lakes

Shiretoko Five Lakes - another popular photo stop

Shiretoko Five Lakes

Shiretoko Five Lakes - Elevated Boardwalk

Fox in Shiretoko National Park

Fox in Shiretoko National Park - he didn't seem bothered at all by our car

A deer in Shiretoko National Park

This deer in Shiretoko National Park casually crossed the road in front of us

Kamuiwakka Falls, Shiretoko

Climbing Kamuiwakka Falls, Shiretoko - the water pours from a hot spring above

Kamuiwakka Falls, Shiretoko

Kamuiwakka Falls, Shiretoko - a lovely climb through water that got warmer the higher we went

Shiretoko National Park

Shiretoko is one of Japan's last wilderness areas (if you ignore the coaches of tourists passing through)

Rausu on the east coast of Shiretoko  Peninsula

Rausu on the east coast of Shiretoko Peninsula - a great place for whale watching (so they say)

Geyser near Rausu town in Shiretoko

Geyser near Rausu town in Shiretoko - erupts roughly once an hour (maybe less punctual than a Japanese train though)

Crossing the Shiretoko Pass

Driving through the clouds - Crossing the Shiretoko Pass

Author Information

Freelance travel writer

Comments are closed.