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Travel to Shiretoko Peninsula|Undisturbed World Heritage Nature and Animal Life

Shiretoko eagle Hokkaido

Shiretoko Peninsula, which means “end of the earth” in the Ainu language, is a peninsula jutting out into the Sea of Okhotsk in the northeastern part of Hokkaido.

The Shiretoko Peninsula is a pristine natural environment, home to wild animals such as Ezo deer, foxes, brown bears, and cranes.

The Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 2005.

This article introduces the nature and sightseeing spots of Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido.


About Shiretoko Peninsula

Topography of Shiretoko Peninsula

The Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido is 25 kilometers wide and 70 kilometers long. The Shiretoko Mountain Range forms the backbone of the peninsula.

The highest mountain on the Shiretoko peninsula is Mount Rausu, at 1660 meters above sea level. The next highest mountain on the Shiretoko Peninsula is Rausu at 1660 meters, followed by Iouzan at 1562 meters and Shiretoko-dake at 1254 meters.

Because of its high latitude, Shiretoko has hemlines growing at an altitude of 700 meters. The mountain pine is an alpine plant of the pine family that can only be seen at an altitude of 2,500 meters in Honshu.


Steller’s sea eagle coming to Shiretoko for the winter

The Sea of Okhotsk, which includes the Shiretoko Peninsula, is the southernmost place in the northern hemisphere where drift ice flows. Every year from January to February, the ice floes move south, and by March, they cover the entire Shiretoko Peninsula, so all the ships in the harbor have to be pulled ashore.

In winter, Steller’s sea eagles and white-tailed sea eagles descend from Russia and spend the winter in Shiretoko. The Steller’s sea eagle is a bird of prey at the top of the Shiretoko ecosystem.


Shiretoko Peninsula Scenic Spots

Walking the elevated wooden path and above-ground boardwalk of Shiretoko Five Lakes

知床五湖 (Shiretoko Five Lakes) is one of the eight scenic spots on the Shiretoko Peninsula. You can enjoy the nature around the lakes while gazing at the Shiretoko Mountain Range.

In order to preserve the nature of the Shiretoko Five Lakes, a 1.6 km round trip elevated wooden path has been constructed. For safety reasons, the path is equipped with a 7,000 volt power line to protect against brown bears.

There is also an above-ground trail where visitors can take a guided tour.


Shiretoko Goko Field House Access

Before exploring the Shiretoko Five Lakes, you can stop by the Shiretoko Gogo Field House for a briefing.

Access 2 hours drive from Memanbetsu Airport
Opening hours 7:30~18:00
URL Official website
Parking Available (free of charge)


Take a cruise ship to Cape Shiretoko

There is no land route to Shiretoko Misaki, which is located at the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula. Therefore, the best way to see Cape Shiretoko is to take a sightseeing ferry.

The Shiretoko sightseeing ferry departs from Utoro Port, and takes you to Shiretoko by sea via the Frepe Falls and Kamuiwakka Falls. and then proceed to Cape Shiretoko by sea.

On the way, you can observe brown bears and other wild animals from the boat.


A summary of sightseeing to the Shiretoko Peninsula

Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula is covered with drift ice in winter, and has a unique ecosystem. Be sure to visit Shiretoko to see the unique scenery and animals that can only be found here.


Other sightseeing spots in Hokkaido

There are many nature parks in Hokkaido where you can enjoy nature to the fullest, including the Shiretoko Peninsula.



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