Trip Report

Shiretoko Loop Tour Day 4: Utoro to Five Lakes and back again

Posted on Aug 4, 2012
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Posted on Aug 4, 2012

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Today was supposed to be a ‘rest’ day. Instead we cycled a 30km round-trip to see the famous Five Lakes, right in the heart of Shiretoko National Park. The climb up to the lakes was truly stunning. Wild flowers, and ancient-looking forest. All with the excitement that you might be attacked and torn to pieces by a bear at any moment.

Last updated Oct 8, 2018

Shiretoko Noeijo (Shiretoko Campground) in Utoro (Hokkaido, Japan)

Today was supposed to be a ‘rest’ day. Instead we cycled a 30km round-trip to see the famous Five Lakes, right in the heart of Shiretoko National Park. The climb up to the lakes was truly stunning. Wild flowers, and ancient-looking forest. All with the excitement that you might be attacked and torn to pieces by a bear at any moment.

Bear warning signs on the Shiretoko Highway (Hokkaido, Japan)

Ups and downs on the Shiretoko Highway (Hokkaido, Japan) Wild flowers lining the roads on the Shiretoko Highway (Hokkaido, Japan)

Just to do the 1.5 hour walk, visitors have to take part in a 10 minute lecture on what to do to avoid encounters with grizzly bears, and what to do if you manage to encounter one. The advice taken most to heart, apparently, was to avoid encounters by making noise, such as clapping. For the first five minutes or so of the walk, therefore, you’d hardly know whether you were in a peaceful national forest, or a pentecostal church worship service. Luckily for us, the group quickly dispersed along the track, with us taking up the rear. We were mostly content with Haidee’s dinging bear-bell. This allowed us to enjoy the lakes more or less in peace and quiet.

One of the lakes on the five lake walk on the Shiretoko Peninsula (Hokkaido, Japan)

A mirror lake on the five-lake walk on the Shiretoko Peninsula (Hokkaido, Japan) One of the lakes on the five lake walk on the Shiretoko Peninsula (Hokkaido, Japan)

pano4One of the lakes on the five lake walk on the Shiretoko Peninsula (Hokkaido, Japan)

Route Map


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Distance: about 30km | Time on bikes: | Average speed: | Bears: 0
Financials: Food: 4,623yen | Accommodation: 800yen | Onsen (hotspring): 1000yen

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