Shiretoko National Park - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist

Shiretoko National Park

Unspoiled nature, wild bears and whale cruises on Japan's northern tip.

About Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park a major national park on UNESCO's World Heritage List. It is located on a peninsula at the very top of Hokkaido's northeastern tip. Here you will find some of the most unspoilt nature in all of Japan - landscapes that can make most people lose their breath.

Almost as far north as you can get in Japan
Take your time to enjoy the many opportunities to hike between stunning waterfalls, snow-covered mountains and outstanding vantage points. There is rich wildlife with several endangered species, and it is not uncommon to encounter many animals on your way to one of the waterfalls. Guided tours in smaller groups depart several times an hour during the peak season, and you have the opportunity to reserve a place in advance on the national park's official website. From the Shiretoko Peninsula, there is also the opportunity to go on whale or bear watching cruises (from the cities of Rausu or Utoro, respectively). If you come here in the winter, you can experience the unique phenomenon of drift ice. Large flakes of ice from the Arctic Circle flow south and past this area. A good way to experience this is by taking an icebreaker cruise. You can even rent a wetsuit and jump in the icy waters!

Other attractions in Shiretoko National Park
If you are staying in the area, the small town of Utoro Onsen can be recommended. Utoro Onsen is known for its hot springs ('onsen' in Japanese). The best way to enjoy them is to spend the night at a 'ryokan' (Japanese inn), as there are many in the area.

NOTE: Please note that during the summer you are not allowed to walk around the national park without a guide, as there are many bears with cubs in the area. Guided tours can be booked on the national park's official website.

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