Posted on Oct 23, 2023

Posted on Oct 23, 2023

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1 day(s)





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Cape Shirepa 尻羽岬 is a prominent cape at the southwestern end of Akkeshi Bay 厚岸湾 in eastern Hokkaido. The outer Pacific Ocean side of the cape consists of towering cliffs and bluffs. Hokake-iwa 帆かけ岩 awaits with its torii gate perched precariously on top of the rock, as the base of the rock gets battered by the heavy Pacfic swells. Expect to see seals, deer, and sea eagles on the sheltered approach to the cape proper.

We visited this route on Sep 06, 2023


Route Map

Need to know details


Cape Shirepa is at the southwestern edge of the expansive Akkeshi Bay in eastern Hokkaido. From Sapporo, it’s about a 5-hour drive to reach the put-in. It’s on the Pacific coast of far east Hokkaido, only a stone’s throw from Russia.

Put-in Location: Google Maps

The most convenient put-in for paddling to Cape Shirepa is arguably the beach outside Sempoji fishing port 仙鳳趾漁港, here. This will allow for a relatively sheltered paddle southeast to the cape, with paddlers only exposed to the open ocean for the last little poke out from the cape at the end. Be aware, however, that the beach can have dumpy waves, and the area is somewhat of a fishing-waste dumping wasteland. It is what it is, however. It’s an interesting look into little-seen Hokkaido local fishing culture and practices. The waves get less dumpy the further south along the beach you go, so have a look around to find the most suitable spot to launch.

Take-out Location: Google Maps

The take-out is the same as the put-in.

General notes

Cape Shirepa isn’t high on the list for many sea kayakers, but it makes for a worthy excursion if you’re in the Akkeshi area. The approach to the cape is beautifully protected from open-ocean swells, and paddlers can choose how much exposure they want to the open ocean once at the cape proper. On the approach, expect seals and sea eagles. If conditions do allow it, it is absolutely worthwhile paddling a few hundred meters west along the exposed Pacific coast. The swells are thick and heavy, the cliffs and bluffs are towering, and Hokake-iwa Shrine – just a torii gate is visible from the water – is delightfully photogenic.

  • Naming: The name ‘Shirepa’ comes from the indigenous Hokkaido Ainu language. Sir means ‘cliffed’, pa means ‘cape’ (source).


Route description

Launch off the beach at Senposhi port and head southeast along the coast towards the cape. After about 3km, you’ll arrive at an old deserted bay with a few old fishing cabins. Just southeast of the bay is a small stream cascading into the sea. From there, it’s another 3km to the cape, passing several small waterfalls along the way. There are small protected beaches along the way suitable for landing on for a break.

To round the cape, paddlers will need to find a 100m-wide clear channel of less rowdy water, flanked by reef breaks to the east and shore breaks to the west. This channel is usually easy to see. Once on the Pacific side of the cape, paddlers will be fully exposed to the heavy Pacific swell that characterises eastern Hokkaido’s shoreline. So long as it’s not too windy, this swell is usually perfectly manageable.

It’s possible to paddle to Kushiro along this coast from Cape Shirepa, a distance of around 40km. For this daytrip, however, paddling about 1km west from the cape, past Hokake-iwa Shrine to the first main headland and back should suffice for getting a feel of the dramatic coastline around here. Return the way you came.

Route Timing
Trip time: 4hrs 0min


Public transport:

There is no public transport to this route.

By car: 

There is plenty of parking at the gravel beach on the outside of Senposhi port here. Note that this area is used mainly by oyster and fishing operation staff, so do try to park in a way that doesn’t block access.

Physical maps

Japanese-language ENCs are available on the Japanese-language new pec smart smartphone app (Android | iPhone). 960yen per month for a subscription.


The Akkeshi 厚岸 S-Guide (DH810W-06) is available as PDF download (buy online here). The JHA/Japan Coast Guard 1:40,000 nautical chart for this area is Akkeshi-wan 厚岸湾 (W25 – buy online).

Official Topo Map: Shirepamisaki (尻羽岬) – map no. NK-55-32-3-3
Official Topo Map 2: Senpoji (仙鳳趾) – map no.

NOTE: The official 1/25000 topo map(s) above can be purchased for 350yen from Kinokuniya bookstore next to Sapporo Station or online (in Japanese).

route safety

The approach to the cape along the protected Akkeshi Bay southwestern coast is relatively easy. Beyond the cape on the Pacific Ocean, however, paddlers will be very exposed to the open ocean. Carefully check the weather before setting off, and make conservative decisions when deciding to round the cape or not.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Cape Shirepa

Tide information for Akkeshi


Onsen nearby

Akkeshi has a real lack of onsen in the immediate area. The only public bath in the town is Kiraku-yu 喜楽湯 (location, 490yen). While you might be tempted to shun the place because it is not a natural hot spring, we would still highly recommend visiting at least once. It’s one of the few very traditional sento 銭湯 public baths in Hokkaido, so it’s very worthwhile to visit. If you’re heading further east anyway though, we would recommend Kiritappu Hotspring Yuyu 霧多布温泉ゆうゆ (location, 500yen). This large facility has a restaurant, a large relaxation area, indoor/outdoor pools, and sauna (cold plunge pool included). Kiritappu is about 1hr drive east of Cape Shirepa. If you’re heading west to Kushiro, we recommend the large Taiki-yu Onsen Harutori Baths 大喜湯 春採店 in the east of the city (location, 490yen). They have a large indoor bathing area, sauna, cold plunge pool, and an outdoor pool.

Extra Resources
No extra English resources that we know of. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments.

Guide Options

If you’d like to paddle around Shirepa Cape, consider contacting Ashida-san from Land’s Edge in Hamanaka. It’s a long shot, as he doesn’t have any set tour packages that include this area, but depending on his schedule, he might be able to sort something out. At the very least, you’ll likely need to demonstrate that you have considerable sea kayaking experience.

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Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

The previous day, Haidee and I paddled around Daikoku Island, an island that forms the eastern natural breakwater of Akkeshi Bay. Today, we would be paddling to Cape Shirepa, the large cape protecting the bay from the southwest.

We didn’t know much about the cape, having only seen one report of an around-Japan kayaker paddling around it many years ago.

As such, we didn’t have a firm location for where to put in. A Google Satellite search suggested that the beach on the outer breakwater of Senposhi Port could be a possibility, so on the morning of our paddle we went to take a look.

The gravel road leading to the beach felt all very private, so I stopped in a an oyster processing shed to ask if it was OK to drive down to the beach and launch our kayaks. 

“Well yes that’s fine,” the young woman replied. “But…”

She had trailed off in her answer, so I replied “is it a private road?”

“No, you can drive down it,” she replied.

I didn’t want to press it too hard, so I thanked her and drove down to the beach.

Once we were there, I could see why perhaps she was standoff-ish about us launching our kayaks from the beach. It was a somewhat ugly beach, with large temporary-looking sandbags piled up along the beach. Small dumpy waves churned up old, fine seaweed onto the beach. Perhaps at the end of her “but…” was “it’s not particularly pretty”.

However, the beach would serve our needs, so we unloaded quickly to get on our way.

The day was overcast and grey. The coast was uninspiring for a while, but it soon became more engaging once we approached an old deserted bay with a few dilapidated fishing shacks. A small stream cascaded into the sea.

A little further on, Haidee spotted two large white-tailed eagles. They circled us as if to get an idea of what we were.

30 minutes later, we finally made it to Cape Shirepa. Large breaking waves curled up along the shallow reef extending eastwards from the cape. For a while, we wondered if we’d have a clear path through them.

However, as we neared the cape proper, we saw there was a clear channel between the tip of the cape and the breakers.

We timidly paddled through the channel and out to the grand exposed Pacific Coast.

The photos don’t express it well, but we were now paddling up and down high crests and deep troughs of a large swell.

About 500m along the coast was Hokake-iwa Shrine, it’s torii gate, standing precariously on a lonesome column of rock, contrasted against the sky.

It was the cliffs that were the most impressive. High, sometimes grassy, sometimes rocky cliffs lined the coast as far as the eye could see. The heavy Pacific swell crashed hard into the rocky shore.

We paddled about one kilometer along the Pacific coast to the first headland beyond Hokake-iwa Shrine before turning around and heading back.

The coast further west looked inviting, and I made a mental note that it would make for an excellent overnight mission – Akkeshi to Kushiro.

Near the base of the rock pillar that housed the shrine were a group of seals, heads bobbing in the crashing surf, looking our way.

The large swell was unnerving at times, but we knew we were relatively close to shelter – the cape and the protected coast behind it was only a short paddle away.

We paddled past Hokake-iwa Shrine once more, and picked our way through the breakers along the reef to the sheltered inner bay.

A few kilometers from the cape, Haidee spied the eagles again. 

Perhaps it was the way the light was falling on the coast from this direction, but the greens felt deeper and greener on the way back along the coast.

The coastal features themselves also appeared more engaging on the return.

We hadn’t expected a great deal from this paddle. We’d hoped for some spectacular cliffs and some feeling of exposure on the Pacific coast proper. We got that. But we also got more than expected – some eagles, some seals, and some nice enough waterfalls along the way too.

Overall, paddling for these two days in the Akkeshi area has ignited a desire in my belly to do a longer paddle along this far eastern Pacific coast. 

Comments | Queries | Reports

Done this route to Cape Shirepa, or other waterways nearby? Thinking of doing it? Please post any feedback, reports, or queries here. Thanks!

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Cape Shirepa Difficulty Rating





Vertical Gain



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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.