8 Spots to Fully Enjoy Shiretoko, One of Japan's Natural World Heritage Sites

Shiretoko Peninsula juts out into the Sea of Okhotsk, and is an area that still has plenty of virgin nature. It was registered as Japan's 3rd and Hokkaido's first Natural World Heritage Site in 2005. Here are some representative spots that are called "Shiretoko's 8 picturesque sights."


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1. Oshinkoshin Falls 


Oshinkoshin Falls is a huge waterfall with a height of 80m and a width of 30m that's near the delta of Charassenai River. "Oshinkoshin" comes from "o-shunku-ushi," meaning "the place where spruce gather" in the language of the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido. It's also called "futabi no taki," "the twin beauty falls" because it splits into two, and is considered one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls. Above the falls is the Oshinko observatory platform, so you can enjoy a stunning sight!

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/oshinkoshin.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Utoronishi, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

2. Oronko Rock


Oronko Rock is a huge rock with a height of 60m. It's said that the name comes from the Oronko, another group of aboriginal people. This rock is overwhelmingly large up close, and you can reach the top by climbing stairs. From there you can enjoy a 360 view including the clear blue Sea of Okhotsk and even the faraway Shiretoko mountain range.

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/oronkoiwa.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Utorohigashi, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

3. Yuuhidai Observatory Deck

The Shiretoko Peninsula's most famous sunset place is here. From this viewing platform in Kokusetsu Shiretoko Campground, you can see a beautiful sunset painting the Sea of Okhotsk orange. During the winter, drift ice covers the Sea of Okhotsk that spreads out from just below you to the horizon for an impressive sight. It's a sight where you can see Shiretoko's beautiful ocean all year round.

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/yuhidai.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Utorokagawa, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

4. Cape Puyuni

This is a popular spot where you can enjoy the scenery and the sunset. Cape Puyuni is a heritage asset part of the World Heritage Site of Shiretoko, and "puyuni" means "a place with holes" in the language of the Ainu. It's a place where you can see Orinko Rock, Utoro Port, and the Akan mountain range, as well as the Sea of Okhotsk with drift ice.

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/puyuni.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Aza-Iwaobetsu, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

5. Furepe Falls

The Furepe Falls are waterfalls that flow into the ocean after welling up from a crevice in a cliff 100m high. The sight is also called "the tears of a maiden." There are popular tours where you can enjoy not just the sight of the falls in winter, but also trekking via cross-country skiing or while wearing snow shoes.

HP: center.shiretoko.or.jp/en/

HP: center.shiretoko.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: Iwaobetsu, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

6. Shiretoko Pass

The Shiretoko Pass is right in the center of the Shiretoko Peninsula. It's a popular photo spot where you can enjoy the scenery, including the grand rise of Mt. Rausu, and if the weather is clear, even to faraway Kunashir Island. In the beginning of spring, there are tours where you can watch people make walls of snow and remove snow, and it's so popular that people from both within and outside of Japan come to participate. However, it is forbidden to enter the pass between late October to late April because of the snow.

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/shiretoko_touge.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Iwaobetsu, Onnebetsu-mura, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

7. Shiretoko Five Lakes

These five beautiful lakes surrounded by virgin forest is one of the main sightseeing areas in Shiretoko. There are paths around the perimeter of the lakes, or you can request a guide at the field house. If you're lucky, you can even see wild animals like red squirrels or Yezo shika deer. However, during the period where brown bears are active (early May to late July), you can only hike in this area as part of a tour, so please be aware.

HP: www.goko.go.jp/english/

HP: www.goko.go.jp/hantai/ (中文)

HP: www.goko.go.jp/index.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Inside Shiretoko National Park, Shari-cho, Hokkaido (Google Map)

8. Kamuiwakka Falls

These falls by the Kamuiwakka River are rare because they're made of hot spring water. There are several waterfalls, but the plunge pool of the first fall is just like an onsen, and bathing there surrounded by nature is a completely special experience! Since the river is at a slight elevation, please wear non-slip shoes that can be wet. Also, you must wear bathing suits to bathe in the water.

HP: www.shiretoko.asia/kamuiwakka.html (Japanese Only)

Address: Onnebetsu-mura, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido (Google Map)

Hokkaido Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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