Shiretoko National Park
Vast untouched nature, home to wild animals
Shiretoko National Park was designated as Japan’s 22nd national park in 1964. In 2005, it was further registered as a World Natural Heritage Site. The park spans from the center of the Shiretoko Peninsula to the tip of Cape Shiretoko, including some 40,000 hectares of land and the surrounding ocean regions. Diverse natural environments such as drift ice-inundated shores, the peaks of the Shiretoko Mountains, virgin forests, mountain streams, lakes and marshes are woven together into an unforgettably beautiful landscape. This captivating, untouched nature is also home to Shiretoko’s abundant wildlife. With a little luck, visitors may spot the brown bear, which is only found in Hokkaido, or designated endangered species of birds on the Ministry of the Environment Red List, such as the Blakiston’s fish owl or spectacled guillemot (a type of waterfowl).
According to legend, the Shiretoko Goko Lakes (Five Lakes) were formed when a deity’s hand rested upon the earth. (Source: Goko Lakes Official Website) Each season brings new beauty to the magnificent scenery. The lakes are interconnected by ground-level walking paths, with an elevated wooden promenade leading to an observation deck on one of the lakeshores. For an easy, rewarding visit, take a leisurely stroll along the wooden promenade. The walking paths offer chances to catch a glimpse of wildlife such as brown bears in their natural environment. Visitors are required to sign in for their walks and attend a lecture beforehand at the Shiretoko Goko Field House, which serves as a base point for both routes.
Shiretoko National Park has park-wide rules, as well as and area-specific rules. These rules are designed to protect not only visitors, but also the nature and wildlife of Shiretoko. Visitors will surely agree that manners are important when visiting the territory of wildlife which resides in untouched nature. This knowledge helps us to live alongside our natural environment. Before departing on your trip, please be sure to confirm the rules at the Ministry of the Environment’s “National Parks” website.
Daisetsuzan National Park
Daisetsuzan National Park is Japan’s largest national park, with an area approximately equal to that of the entire prefecture of Kanagawa. Fields of alpine flowers come into bloom during the fleeting summer, and swiftly-arriving autumn covers the mountains in bright crimson. Countless animals make their habitats here.
Kushiro Shitsugen National Park
Kushiro Shitsugen National Park is home to Japan’s first Wetlands of International Importance designated under the Ramsar Convention. This region is a habitat to remarkable species such as the red-crested crane, a Special Natural Monument of Japan, and the Siberian salamander, said to be “survivors of the ice age”. Let’s visit the homes of this wonderful wildlife.
Akan National Park
Akan National Park owes its existence to volcanoes. Abundant forests spread around three caldera lakes and mountains, some of which still vent volcanic smoke. Thanks to this volcanic activity, the area is home to wonderful hot springs, perfect for a soak while contemplating the workings and power of nature.