The Shiretoko Peninsula is located on the easternmost part of Hokkaido island and juts into the Sea of Okhostk. The peninsula was named by the Ainu as sir etok, which translates as ‘the end of the Earth’ or ‘the place where the Earth protrudes’ and it remains one of Japan’s remotest corners. The area has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the Shiretoko National Park is a haven for wildlife. The National Park’s remoteness means it has some of the finest hiking trails in all of Japan, but hikers do need to take precautions as it is an area with a population of brown bears.

The gateway to the peninsula is the small town of Rausu famed for its seafood which can be enjoyed during a stay at a traditional Ryokan or at local restaurants. The town is an excellent base to embark on the many wildlife watching opportunities in the area including a cruise to see whales and dolphins. As well as marine life there is an abundance of birds to see including Sea Eagles and Blakiston's Fish Owl, the largest owl in the world! There is also the possibility of seeing bears and deer which, unless hiking in the National Park, can usually only be seen whilst on a cruise as a large part of the peninsula is not accessible by road.

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