Eastern Hokkaido is well known for its lush natural environment. Situated in this area, the Shiretoko National Park is designated as a World Natural Heritage Site and particularly worth a visit.
Lakes of different sizes, numbered from one to five, are interspersed within the deep forests of the Shiretoko Peninsula. View the lakes as well as the Shiretoko mountain range as you stroll along pathways or elevated boardwalks. And if you're lucky you may even spy a wild red fox or Yezo deer. Beautiful flowers adorn the lakes and surroundings from early to mid-summer.
A shuttle bus runs from the Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal between Aug 1 and Aug 25 (subject to variation), providing easy access.
Shiretoko National park is about 2 hours 10 minutes via the Shiretoko Airport Liner from Memanbetsu Airport to the Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal, then 20 minutes by taxi to the park.
Routes around the Shiretoko Goko Lakes
(1) Ground pathways
There are two courses available: the 1.6-km Short Loop, which takes about 40 minutes, and the 3-km Long Loop, taking around 1 hour 30 minutes. The Long Loop runs alongside all five lakes, while the Short Loop allows visitors to take a gentle stroll via a shortcut in the long course, taking in two of the lakes.
Reservations may be required for lectures and guided tours depending on the season, so be sure to check in advance.
- Wildlife preservation period: from the park's opening day to May 9, and from August 1 to October 20
After purchasing a ticket (250 JPY) at the machine in the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House, fill in an application form and hand it to reception. The walk will start after a 10-minute lecture on safety precautions regarding brown bears.
- Brown bear active season: May 10–July 13
Only guided tours are available during this period because of the danger of brown bears appearing in the area. Tours are conducted by several companies and require advance booking. Prices and walking times vary between tour companies, though generally tours for the Long Loop cost 5,000 JPY for 3 hours and tours for the Short Loop cost 2,500 JPY for 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Unrestricted admission: from October 21 to the park closing
Visitors are free to walk through the park without lectures or guided tours.
(2) Elevated wooden boardwalk
A wooden path about 800 m long elevated 2 to 4 m above the ground. A 1.6 km round trip along the path takes about 40 minutes. This route only passes one lake on this route, but the observation deck in the middle of the path offers a spectacular view of the Shiretoko mountain range. Feel free to amble along the boardwalk without the need to book.
What to Wear and Bring
You are recommended to wear long-sleeved tops and long pants as well as comfortable shoes. Carrying a small rucksack keeps both hands free, and is ideal for bringing drinking water and rain gear. There is no shade along the pathways, so don't forget to wear a hat.
Be sure to take any waste out of the park with you, and remember that you are prohibited from bringing in any food or drinks other than water.
Village character rock 549, Ubetsu according to the Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido larger section of a village distant sound, 099-4100
- Nearest Station
･ Senmo Main Line
- Phone Number
0152-24-3323Available languagesonly in Japanese
7:30am - 6:30pm
※Open 7:30am–6:30pm between April 20 and November 8 (Open from 8:30am between October 21 and November 8. Times vary depending on the season)
※Open every day during visiting season
- Public Site
- Official Site