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Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido

#34 of 264 in Nature in Hokkaido
Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園, Shiretoko Kokuritsu Kōen) covers most of the Shiretoko Peninsula at the northeastern tip of the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. The word "Shiretoko" is derived from an Ainu word "sir etok", meaning "the place where the earth protrudes".

One of the most remote regions in Japan, much of the peninsula is only accessible on foot or by boat. Shiretoko is best known as the home of Japan's largest brown bear population and for offering views of Kunashiri Island, ownership of which Japan and Russia dispute. The park has a hot springs waterfall called Kamuiwakka Falls (カムイワッカの滝, Kamuiwakka-no-taki). Kamui wakka means "water of the gods" in Ainu.

The forests of the park are temperate and subalpine mixed forests; the main tree species include Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinensis), Erman's birch (Betula ermanii) and Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica). Beyond the forest limit there are impenetrable Siberian dwarf pine (Pinus pumila) thickets.

In 2005, UNESCO designated the area a World Heritage Site, advising to develop the property jointly with the Kuril Islands of Russia as a transboundary "World Heritage Peace Park". Shiretoko's listing as Natural Heritage was seen by the Indigenous Ainu as contradicting the long history of Ainu settlement in the park area.
The Shiretoko Park Nature Center is in Shari. It serves as the visitor center and includes a movie about the park, a restaurant, and a gift shop.
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Shiretoko National Park Reviews
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119 reviews
  • On the north east peninsular of Hokkaido, it a bit difficult to reach. But the effort is really worth it, A huge National Park, it has a mountain range on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the...  more »
  • Visited here with a tour group. We had a private snowshoe guide that made it quite fun - I'd never snowshoed before but it was really easy. The trails aren't that long but it's really pretty and...  more »
  • There are real nature apart from human civilizations. Summer is the best season in Shiretoko. It is not so hot even in the august afternoon. In winter you can explore here only by taking part in the tour.
  • It's a gorgeous and unspoilt natural wonderland. There are a great deal of closures due to bears. That is my only complaint. Otherwise, it is beautiful!!

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