Shiretoko (Peninsula)

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Hokkaido Shiretoko | Last Unexplored Region of Japan

Hokkaido Shiretoko | Last Unexplored Region of Japan

The Shiretoko-hanto Peninsula in northeastern Hokkaido is protruding out into the Sea of Okhotsk. To the west lies the Sea of Okhotsk and the Nemuro Straights on the east. It is said to be the last unexplored region of Japan, and consists of steep mountain peaks covered with virgin forests. No roads lead further than about three fourth up the peninsula, and the northern tip can only be viewed from boats or be reached on multi day trekking tours. The peninsula is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears, dear and foxes. Cormorants and white-tailed sea eagles also reside, and the whole area has been designated as a national park. In winter, the peninsula's coast along the Sea of Okhotsk becomes one of the northern hemisphere's southernmost regions to see drift ice. Drifting across the Sea of Okhotsk from northeastern Russia, the ice usually appears along the peninsula by late January and disappears again by early April. The best timing to view the ice is typically around the second half of February. In July 2005, Shiretoko was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the irreplaceable value of the peninsula's ecosystem and biodiversity. Visitors can see the whole of the peninsula and its cliffs by boarding a sightseeing boat that departs from Utoro Port. Shiretoko is also known as a "waterfall kingdom," and many waterfalls can be seen from the sightseeing boat: the warm-water falls, which gives off steam is just one example.


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