Release | Fumie Sato
Enjoy beautiful cruising in Shiretoko with the “Mt. Io Course” of “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”
The cruising tour in Shiretoko to enjoy the panoramic sceneries from the sea is one of the most popular tourist attractions of sightseeing in Shiretoko.
“Mt. Io Course” of “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” is one of them. The casual and comfortable tour with a big sightseeing ship lets every generation enjoy the tour together.
Table of Contents- What is “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”?
- Where can we get on “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”?
- “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” is a casual and comfortable big sightseeing ship
- The attractions of 1.5 hours “Mt. Io Course”
- Panoramic sceneries can be beautiful in pictures even with smartphones!
- The timetable and fees for each course of “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”
- How to get to Utoro Port from Memanbetsu Airport
What is “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”?“Aurora” is a large sightseeing ship turns into “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” in summer and “Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing & Icebreaker Ship Aurora” in winter.
▲“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”
“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” operates from April 28 to October 25 every year and “Abashiri Drift Ice Sightseeing & Icebreaker Ship Aurora” operates from January 20 to April 3 every year.
Where can we get on “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”?The pier of “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” is Utoro Port in Shari Town.
“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” does not require reservation if there are vacancies, however, during the busy seasons may be crowded, so it’s safe to make reservations in advance either from their website or by phone.
You can purchase the reserved ticket or walk-up tickets at the ticket office before boarding.
▲The ticket office of Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora
You will go to the pier after purchasing the ticket. You can park your vehicles at the municipal parking (fee-charging) if you come with a car or a motorcycle.
▲You can see the parking after passing the tunnel of Oronko Rock in Utoro Port. It’s near the ticket office.
The fee for parking is 400 yen for a car and 100 yen for a motorcycle.
The boarding starts 15 minutes before leaving the port. Make sure you arrive at the pier by the time.
“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” is a casual and comfortable big sightseeing shipThe cruising tours from Utoro Port are popular tourist attractions as people can see the wild nature of the World Heritage site Shiretoko from the sea. However, it is sometimes difficult to pick the right tour and the right ship.
Many questions may come up in the summer vacation season as the number of families which includes children and elderly increase. Would the ship make us get seasick? Are there bathrooms? Can small children board? Questions are endless.
▲Unreserved seats on the second floor (top-left), coffee lounge seats on the second floor (top-right), unreserved seats on the first floor (bottom-left), unreserved seats in front of the first floor (bottom-right).
“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” has comfortable seats, bathrooms, and air-conditioned with few shakes. So anyone can enjoy the trip casually.
▲The special seats in the front of the first-floor gas a panoramic window.
The special seats (50 limited seats) are available with fees, and they offer tickets in the ship after boarding.
- Mt. Io Course: regular ticket fee plus 400 yen
- Cape of Shiretoko Course: regular ticket fee plus 600 yen
▲The observation deck lets you enjoy the panoramic view as much as you want. There are side decks on the first and second floor.
▲The ship equips facilities which only big sightseeing ships can do.
- Free costumes for memorial photos (top-left)
- Coloring sheet for kids (top-right)
- Souvenir shop (bottom-left) and vending machines for drinks
- Bathrooms are on the first and the second floor (bottom-right)
The ship does not shake a lot as it is a big sightseeing ship. However, there are some days when the sea is rough depending on the weather.
Those who tend to get seasickness are advised to take medications before boarding.
The attractions of 1.5 hours “Mt. Io Course”There are two courses provided by “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”: approx. 3 hours 45 minutes “Cape of Shiretoko course” and approx. 1.5 hours “Mt. Io Course”.
“Mt. Io Course” leaves 5 times a day in the busiest vacation periods. (June 1 to September 10)
Although duration is not too long, they offer lots of attractions, so the course is recommended for people who want to quickly get the glance of tourist attractions with other spots and families with children and elderly who are difficult to take a long trip on the sea.
Let me introduce some of the attractions.
▲“Cape Puyuni” - it can be seen from the pier, too.
▲These panoramic sceneries start to appear after passing Cape Puyuni.
Great views continue from here so don’t miss the announcement in the ship and enjoy everything.
It is also nice to check out the pamphlets in the ship before leaving not to miss major sights.
▲“Furepe Waterfall” is also called as Girl’s Tears.
▲“Yunohana Falls” is also called as Man’s Tears.
▲You will see the part of Shiretoko Mountain Range - Mt. Rausu (right), Mt. Mitsumine (middle) and Sashirui Take as the ship moves closer to Iwaobetsu River.
I heard bears often appear in this area so check it out!
▲Iwaobetsu River seen with the zoom lens.
The ship travels in the distance not too far from the land. If the ship encounters a bear, you can see them more clearly if you have a camera with zoom lenses or binoculars.
It seems like there is a high possibility of encountering wild animals such as bears and dolphins according to the calendar. How about using binoculars rental service (fee-charging) in the ship if you want to see wild animals?
▲“Kamuiwakka Falls”. They said bears often appear around here, too.
After passing “Iwaobetsu River”, the ship passes attractions such as Chikapoi, Kokeshi Rock, Over Hang, and Cape Suisho. Then it reaches to the final attractions “Kamuiwakka Falls” and the ship starts to go back.
At this attraction, the ship goes very close to the waterfall and slowly turns back so you can see the endpoint of “Kamuiwakka Falls” which is visible only from the sea.
Panoramic sceneries can be beautiful in pictures even with smartphones!Many of you would want to keep the panoramic sceneries of Shiretoko in pictures or video!
However, you might be thinking that it would be difficult unless you have a camera with zoom lenses, don’t you?
So I took pictures with my smartphones.
▲The picture of “Kamuiwakka Falls” taken with a smartphone.
I took the picture when there was a distance between the ship and the waterfall because I wanted to put Mt. Io. I did not use the zoom for this picture.
▲Another picture was taken with a smartphone but not using zooming. From the left: Mt. Io, Mt. Ochikabake, Mt. Sashirui, Mt. Mitsumine, and Mt. Rausu.
The ship slowly goes away from the land after turning around at “Kamuiwakka Falls”.
The mountains of Shiretoko Mountain Range appears so you can get the dynamic views of mountains, capes, and the sea.
“Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora” runs slowly so tourist can thoroughly enjoy the sceneries of Shiretoko Peninsula. Everyone can take beautiful pictures with their best timing even with a smartphone.
The timetable and fees for each course of “Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora”
The tour operates every day during the season. However, they sometimes cancel or shorten the tour due to the weather and wave situations.
Check out the schedule of the day on their website or by calling.
How to get to Utoro Port from Memanbetsu Airport- Direct Bus “Shiretoko Airport Liner”: Get off at Utoro Onsen Bus Terminal. Approx. 1 hour 10 mins (3,300 yen for one way) operates three times a day (9:10 AM, 2:50 PM, 4:00 PM)
- Rental car: approx. 1 hour 40 mins to 2 hours
Related Links- Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora Official Website
- Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora Operation Schedule (mobile website)
- Shiretoko Sightseeing Ship Aurora Facebook
- Shiretoko Airport Liner
Text, photo / Hokkaido Likers photo writer Fumie Sato
Provided pictures / Doutou Kanko Kaihatsu Corporation
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