Bestowed with natural jewels, Shiretoko Peninsula is one of the best destinations in Eastern Hokkaido, officially designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site (Natural Site) in 2005.
Shiretoko comes from the word "Sir etok" from Ainu language, which means "Horizon at the edge of the earth". Ainu is a native tribe that inhabits Hokkaido.
Its mountain ranges are covered with virgin forests. There are also numerous pristine waterfalls hiding on its rainforests such as Kamuiwakka hot falls, Kashuni waterfall, Frepe waterfall (also called "Virgin's tears" beacuse the water pours out of a cliff into the sea from a height of 100 meters) and the Oshinkoshin waterfall.
The starting points of tourists are the towns of Utoro and rauso on the eastern side of the peninsula. Visitors can see the whole peninsula and its cliffs by boarding a sightseeing boat that departs from Utoro Port.
The Shiretoko-Goko lakes (also known as "five lakes or five jewels") is also one of the attractions in the site, these are small lakes surrounded by a virgin forest. You can walk around these five lakes in about an hour.
There are also many souvenir shops and restaurants around Godzilla Rock (Utoro) where you can enjoy shopping or eating. The Utoro Shirietoku Michi-no-Eki not only provides information about Shiretoko but also has shops that sell Shiretoko Shari Brand products.
Starting at Shiretoko-Shari Station, take a route bus or taxi going Utoro, about 50 minutes by bus and 45 minutes by taxi. From Utoro, sightseeing boat cruises are operated, it sails along the north coast of the peninsula. It takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to visit Cape Shiretoko, and it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to visit around Mount Iou.
If you are interested in observing the untouched natural environment of Shiretoko Peninsula, you can join a cruising tour wherein you can glimpse the hidden scenic points such as spectacular waterfalls and rugged rocks that you would never see on inland routes.
There are also cruises that provide tours for watching wild dolphins, whales, killer whales, etc. Shiretoko is also famous for its flora and fauna, including some endangered and scarce species. If you visit, you may witness living representatives of unknown natural lives.
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