Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park is abundant with wildlife and surrounded by ancient wilderness.
Shiretoko National Park was designated a national park in 1964, and in 2005 was registered as a Natural World Heritage Site. The park extends from the center of the Shiretoko Peninsula to the tip, Cape Shiretoko. It covers approximately 40,000 hectares, and the surrounding waters.
Within Shiretoko’s ancient nature, you’ll find beaches where drift ice washes ashore, old growth forests, beautiful streams, pristine lakes, and marshes. The food chain of fauna, with Yezo brown bears at the top, have been and continue to be interlinked through the vast circulation of sea, river, and forest. If you are lucky enough, you may even encounter some endangered wild birds, like Blakiston’s fish owl, or the spectacled guillemot.
Shiretoko Pass, at elevation 728 meters, sits on the summit of the Shiretoko Scenic Byway. This pass connects from the Sea of Okhotsk side to the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula. Mt. Rausu, listed as one of the “One Hundred Mountains of Japan,” stands in the distance beyond the sea of creeping pines. As you head from the pass towards Rausu, you can see one of the four Kuril Islands, Kunashir Island. If you’re interested in reading about the history and nature of Shiretoko, we recommend stopping by the Shiretoko National Park Rausu Visitor Center.
There are two ways to explore the Shiretoko Five Lakes. One is to go down the trail that leads to all five lakes, while the other is an 800-meter-long raised boardwalk leading to a lookout point. From here you can view the first lake, Lake Ikko, and it is also a great trail for viewing wildlife.
The Shiretoko National Park Nature Center is the base for preserving Shiretoko’s nature, and providing visitors with valuable information. It is also the hub for various nature activities and tours. Because Shiretoko is a Natural World Heritage Site, we ask that visitors be mindful while exploring the area, to ensure the preservation of this valuable natural environment.