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Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park Review
Shiretoko National Park is a World Heritage Site and a highlight of any trip to Hokkaido. If you have the time to get out there, do so. The village of Utoro is the center of visitor activity. It was a simple working fishing village, but now with the World Heritage Site status it has become a boomtown with a large hotel zone built on a bluff above the center.
The spectacular national park on the Shiretoko Peninsula is worlds away from modern Japan: brown bears hook salmon out of tumbling rivers; Blackiston's fish owls and Steller's sea eagles glide the skies; and a steaming hot river tumbles to the sea. However, with World Heritage Site designation came mass tourism. The bid to control and preserve has resulted in strict rules, and limited shuttle-bus access to the last few kilometers of peninsula road—which may give some visitors an unwelcome Jurassic Park feel to the visit.
Most tour buses whisk visitors in and out in 24 hours—with an overnight stay in a big hotel in Utoro's hotel zone and quick photo stops at Shiretoko Five Lakes, the Nature Center, and maybe a boat tour. Time your sightseeing at these places during the noon-1 pm tour lunch break or late in the day, and head for the places off the tour route. The magic of Shiretoko is found just beyond the bus park hordes. Shiretoko is lovely but local weather, even in summer, is fickle. A Shiretoko stay (and hiking plans) can be marred by mists and rain.
If you visit outside the summer crush—June and September are good times—Shiretoko is a remarkable, untouched pocket of wilderness in a heavily industrialized and technologically advanced nation. Note: Some sites close from November to April.
- Address: Shiretoko National Park
- Location: Shiretoko National Park
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We are back, and I am jotting down a few things quickly while my mind is still fresh.
First off: thanks to the many Japanophiles here on Fodors who infected us with their enthusiasm: hawaiiantraveller, Read more
Hokkaido, northern island is an amazing destination. Read more
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