Shiretoko National ParkSeptember 24, 2017 in Japan
It's a long day driving from Wakkanai to Teshikaga. Much of it is close to the Hokkaido eastern coastline so I'm able to appreciate the scenery. I take a detour to Kitami which turns out to be a complete waste of time.
It tends to start gradually getting dark in Hokkaido after 3 pm so I'm keen to push on. It starts to drizzle and is quite dark when I arrive in Teshikaga. My hotel is around 3 km out of town and is technically Mashu but I manage to find it.
The thing about Teshikaga is that it is quite central to the sights I want to see before I fly out. The first of these is Shiretoko National Park which is on an eastern peninsula.
The way through passes Oshinkoshin Falls, so I stop and take the obligatory photos, sparing you the selfie I took. Then I drive through Utoro on route 334 before heading to the Shiretoko Visitor Centre. There is a track through to Furepe Falls that I take. I pass a notice board that has maps as well as a "bear calendar", which records September bear sightings. The Hokkaido brown bear is believed to be an ancestor of the grizzly bear so it's best to avoid them! Similar strategies to hiking in Canada, bear bells and plenty of noise. Being a Sunday with plenty of hikers around I think I'll be OK.
I drive through to the Shiretoko 5 lakes entry and stroll on the boardwalk. Unfortunately half the boardwalk is closed for maintenance but I still take some decent photos. That's more than can be said for my drive up to Shiretoko Pass. It's supposed to be an extremely scenic viewpoint but pervasive fog (my 2nd nemesis after the Wasabi Octopus) ruins that.
I drive back to the hotel at Mashu and stretch my legs, walking past the local golf course. No bears here either. It's around sunset when I return to the hotel, affording me a final photo.Read more