Shishamonai Falls

シシャモナイ滝 | Sisam-o-nay

Posted on Oct 27, 2023

Posted on Oct 27, 2023

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1 day(s)





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Shishamonai Falls シシャモナイ滝 is a beautiful 100m-high cascade, flowing directly into the Japan Sea, just south of Kamui-misaki 神威岬 on the Shakotan Peninsula 積丹半島 in southwestern Hokkaido. On foot, access requires some serious roped-up clambering, so most visitors access the falls by kayak or SUP. It's only a short 2.5km paddle from the put-in. In addition to the falls themselves, the area is home to some of Shakotan Peninsula's most beautiful capes, passageways, and sea caves. This area is an excellent way to get a taste of what the Shakotan Peninsula has to offer to the paddler.

We visited this route on Jun 25, 2023


Route Map

Need to know details


Shishamonai Falls are about 8.5km south of Cape Kamui-misaki on the far western side of Shakotan Peninsula in southwestern Hokkaido. The put-in parking area is about a 2.5hr drive west from Sapporo City.

Put-in Location: Google Maps

The Sainokawara Parking area 西の河原駐車帯 is a convenient put-in for this route; the parking area is large and there’s an access tunnel under the road to the rocky beach below. As far as put-ins go, it’s not a walk-in-the-park. The carry to the beach is down a number of flights of concrete stairs, a small rocky drop to the beach, and then over rocks to the shoreline. Unless there’s a strong westerly blowing, however, the put-in cove is usually well protected. You’ll be sharing the put-in with recreational fishers – the main-prize catch in the area is Japanese amberjack/yellowtail.

Take-out Location: Google Maps

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

General notes

A lot is going on in this relatively compact area on the western coast of Shakotan Peninsula. There are deep sea caves, narrow passageways, towering cliffs, a mysterious gravel spit (Sai-no-kawara), and the main event, Shishamonai Falls. Anywhere else, each in their own right would be a spectacle. Therefore, it’s worth taking a whole day to explore both north and south of the put-in parking area.

  • Camping at Shishamonai Falls: Depending on how the season’s wave action has shaped the gravel beach at the falls, it can be possible to find some flat area to bivvy for the night. Water from the falls should be boiled or filtered before consumption (details). The falls area a relatively popular wilderness destination, so visitors should take care to practice leave-no-trace principles.
Route description

Put in at the the Sai-no-kawara parking area beach. We recommend heading north first, heading to Cape Numammae-misaki 沼前岬. At Numamae-misaki, there are passageways, impressive rock spires, and a couple of sea caves to explore.

Just south of the put-in, on the way to Shishamonai Falls, is the impressive Cape Jubo-misaki ジュウボウ岬. Jubo-misaki is characterized by a compact grassy peninsula attached to impressively tall cliff-like rocks by a gravel spit. There’s a wooden shack on the peninsula, reported to house several jizo statues – it’s not possible to get access to the inside of the shack. It’s a somewhat spiritual-feeling place, with rock-piles dotting the landscape. As mentioned above, this area is popular among anglers aiming to catch large yellowtail ブリ, either off the rocks near the majestic Cape Jubo-misaki ジュウボウ岬, or off kayaks further out.

Sea kayakers will undoubtedly carry on to the falls by paddling around the exposed outer shoreline of Jubo-misaki. SUP paddlers will often short-cut this exposed seciton by portaging across the narrow spit on Sai-no-kawara.

Between Jubo-misaki and the falls is an impressively tall section of cliffs, popular among adventurous rock climbers. There is a rock arch and two deep sea caves along this stretch of cliffs. Carry on another 1km or so, and you’ll round a small rocky point to suddenly see Shishamonai Falls appear in a beautifully sheltered cove. Return the way you came.

Route Timing
Trip time: 5hrs 0min

If only paddling to and from the falls, this paddle can be done with in a couple of hours. It’s worth exploring the caves and passageways north of the falls too, though, so this area is worthy of a full day of exploring and relaxing.


Public transport:

In summer, the southern side of Kamui-misaki is serviced by a public bus from Iwanai Town 岩内町 to Kamui-misaki, run by Chuo Bus – the Kamoenai Line 神恵内線. There’s a bus stop at the recommended take out for this route; the Sainokawara Bus Stop 西の河原バス停 (location). Google Maps has good up-to-date timetabling information. The buses only run between April and October.

By car: 

There is plenty of parking in the Sainokawara Parking area, here.

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 Otaru-Kamui Misaki 小樽—神威岬 yachting chart covers the Shakotan Peninsula in 1:150,000 scale. It’s available as a physical chart (Y-Chart H-119W – buy online). Another option is the S-Guide for Otaru (DH811W-06), available as PDF download (buy online here). The scale is spotty though, with only the main fishing ports included in small scale. The JHA/Japan Coast Guard 1:200,000 nautical chart for this area is Mashike Ko to Iwanai Ko (W28 – buy online). A printed 1:50,000 scale bathymetric chart (Kamui Misaki; 6324-3) is available here.

Print: 1:25,000 TOPOMAP+
Niseko Backcountry map: Buy on | See companion site for more purchase options
Official Topo Map: Kamuimisaki (神威岬) – map no. NK-54-20-9-3

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

Given the close proximity of everything in this area to the put-in, it would be easy to have a false sense of security when paddling in the area. The reality is that the coast in the area is difficult to access on foot, and once you’re at Shishamonai Falls, there’s no practical way out except by returning the way you came on the sea. Hence our ‘Remoteness’ rating of 4/5 – the falls in particular are very remote in their own right. Therefore, getting caught out would be very easy if conditions change. All paddlers should be very aware of weather forecasts before setting off.

Weather forecast weather forecast for Shishamonai Falls

Tide information for Kamui-misaki


Onsen nearby

Shakotan Peninsula is home to a few excellent onsen. There’s the amazing hilltop Misaki-no-yu 岬の湯 (location, 900yen), near the northern tip of Shakotan Peninsula. They have a large relaxation area and offer meals. The sunset views from the outdoor baths are incredible. If you’re heading back to Sapporo, consider the lovely Furubira Onsen 日本海ふるびら温泉しおかぜ (location, 550yen).

Extra Resources

Guide Options

If you’re keen to explore this area with a guide, we recommend getting in touch with AT Kayaks – they can offer tours in English. If your Japanese is up to scratch, Shakotan Kayaks also offers tours in this area.

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Show Full Route Notes Close Route Notes

Route Trip Notes

Haidee’s sister, Kylee, was visiting from New Zealand, so we were keen to show her around some of our favourite sea kayaking locations close to Sapporo City. High on the list, therefore, was Shishamonai Falls – a perfect location to experience some of Shakotan Peninsula’s best coastal scenery, in a small package.

Haidee and I had paddled to Shishamonai Falls previously, but only at the end of a mammoth 26km day from north of Kamui-misaki cape (story here).

Today, with a full day available to explore just the falls and surrounding area, we’d be able to check out the area in a much more relaxing way.

The weather forecast for the day was for only light winds for the entire day. As we pushed off from the rocky put-in, the sea was a typical summer Japan Sea sort of sea.

We first headed north towards Cape Numamae-misaki, to check out the caves and passageways there.

We then headed back south, past the put-in, and landed on Sai-no-kawara Spit next to Cape Jubo-misaki. There was the most perfect sea breeze blowing, and the temperature was just right.

After a quick lunch of onigiri rice balls, we carried on towards Shishamonai Falls.

Along the way, we stopped in at the caves at the bottom of the towering cliffs forming a natural barrier between Sai-no-kawara and the falls.

As always, the falls took us by surprise, suddenly appearing out of nowhere as we rounded a rocky cape.

Landing at the Shishamonai Cove, Haidee and Kylee went straight for the falls. 

Once we’d had our fill of the falls, we headed straight back to the put-in. Great day out!

Comments | Queries | Reports

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Shishamonai Falls Difficulty Rating





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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.