This area was designated a World Natural Heritage Site in 2005.
Shiretoko is a 63-km-long peninsula in northeastern Hokkaido, jutting out between the Okhorsk Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Mountain ranges, including Mount Onnebetsu-dake, Mount Rausu-dake, Mount Io-zan and Mount Shiretoko-dake, stretch along the center of the peninsula and skirts of the mountains form bluffs along the coast. The name Shiretoko derives from the Ainu word “Shirietoku,” meaning “end of the earth.” Unspoiled nature, such as waterfalls, primeval forests, beautiful lakes and numerous wild birds as well as a myriad of flowers, still exits in this only wild part of Japan.
You may see wild animals. Car collisions with yezo-shika deer sometimes occur. Signs reading “Caution?Brown bears” stand here and there along roads. The brown bear is the biggest land-dwelling mammal in Japan. It runs fast, swims in rivers and climbs trees. It is omnivorous, but prefers eating flesh. In addition to fish, such as salmon and trout, it attacks deer, sheep, poultry, horses and other farm animals, sometimes even people. If you encounter one, it may attack you to protect itself. Thus, you should try to avoid encountering one, but if by any chance you do so, stay calm and step back, keeping your eyes on it, and not raising your voice or running in surprise is important. There are also Steller’s sea eagles, which have a full wing span of 2.5 meters and are Japan’s largest birds of prey, and a white-tailed eagle that is smaller.?
As no roads circle around the peninsula, seeing Shiretoko from the sea is an enjoyable option. Boats from Utoro port bring you to Cape Shiretoko in about three hours. Beautiful scenery, such as the sea itself, waterfalls, primeval forests, bluffs and rocky stretches, spread out before you. Steller’s sea eagles and brown bears might be seen near the shore.