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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shiretoko Five Lakes (知床五湖)| Shiretoko

Shiretoko is designated as a national park in 1964, and as a world natural heritage site in 2005. If you want to experience its unspoiled nature, I recommend the Shiretoko Five Lakes, which are a set of five small lakes, and offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and wilderness. 

An 800m-long wooden elevated boardwalk was recently built from the parking lot to the first lake, which allows visitors to enjoy views of the lakes the Sea of Okhotsk, and surrounding mountains without damaging the fragile ecosystem. It is free to use, wheelchair accessible and open for entire season (late April to late November).

Apart from the elevated boardwalk, there are 3km-regular "ground" trail that lead around the beautiful five lakes and take about 40min. to 90 min. to walk on your own.

However, due to the lareg number of visitors here, the access to the nature trail is regulated as follows (from 2011).

May 10 to July 31:
During the bear activity season, visitors have to join a tour group led by a licensed nature guide. The guide cost is around 5,000 yen and ten people can join one group. The admission fee is 500 yen per person.

August 1 to October 20:
As bears are not active in this season, visitors can walk on the trail on an individual basis without guides. However they have to take a short lecture (video↓) and the admission fee is 250 yen per person.

The rest of the season:
Visitors can walk on the trail without guides nor admission fees. But the trail may get closed due snow or bear sightings.

There are two one-way hiking courses; a 3km (90 min.) course to all five lakes, and a 1.6km (40 min.) course to the first and the second lakes only.

The trails may be closed due to snow or bear sightings.

This time we chose the short course. Here we go!

This is a second lake! How beautiful it is!

This is a first lake! The mountains are reflected on the lake and it is like a picture!

We went back to Shiretoko National Park Nature Center to see shika deer. Behind the facility, there is a photo spot of shika deer. They are "always" spotted there and we can easily take pictures of them.

See! There are several shika deer here!

Look at one of the deer! A crow is on the back!


■Where are "Shiretoko Five Lakes (知床五湖)"?

View Larger Map

■Tour guide information■
Do you need a nationally-licensed English-speaking tour guide when you travel to Hokkaido?
I'll guide you! Plz click here!


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