"The Shiretoko Peninsula"
The power of World Natural Heritage sites from the deck of a cruiser!
"Godzilla Rock Sightseeing" is located in Shari Town Utoro, and has started offering cruise tours. Godzilla Rock, by the way, is the name of a large, nearby rock formation. Its name in Ainu is "Utoruchikushi" (or Utoro), and was said to be an omen of sorts. I decided to take a trip out into the water and capture a few photos for you all!
▲ This is "Godzilla Rock." It kind of does resemble the real thing!
When we departed, we were a bit disappointed at how foggy it was, but the staff reassured us, "The weather will probably clear up when we get to open sea." So we set off into the deep green sea to start our tour.
We quickly came upon our first sightseeing spot, the "Tears of the Maiden" waterfall.
▲ The two streams of water that form the "Tears of the Maiden" stay right up against the rocks as they fall down. The cruiser couldn't get very close because the size of the inlet.
For awhile after that, all we could see were sharp black rocks creating intimidating coastal cliffs. Regrettably, I wasn't able to get any pictures because of the fog. At their highest point, the rocks reached 200 meters. We couldn't see the top, but even the foggy view packed quite a punch.
▲ I was also able to see the "Hot Waterfall Kamuiwakka." This site is viewable on inland tours, so I'm sure some of our readers will know about it. The heated water flows out from the inside of a sulfur mountain, creating a splendid estuary atmosphere.
Later on the weather did clear up, just like the staff said. As we entered open waters we spotted Mt. Iozan floating above the clouds.
▲ This is Mt. Iozan, part of the Shiretoko Mountain Range, peeking over the clouds.
▲ This is the "Io Waterfall” which looks beautiful during autumn.
▲ These columns were created when lava flowed into, and was rapidly cooled by, the ocean waters. A spectacular scene of natural art.
▲ Along one side of the river I spotted a bear trying to catch a salmon. Sorry for the distance, can you spot it? His head is poking up from the rocks at the edge of the coast...
▲ There was a "Banya" located in the Rusha gulf. It seems that many bears also like to visit this spot. They've both gotten used to each other and now seem to be enjoying a peaceful coexistence.
▲ This is Tako Rock (or octopus rock). Many octopus are caught around this area, hence the name.
▲ This is "Kashuni Waterfall," and is called the most beautiful waterfall along the Shiretoko Penesula by many. This waterfall is unique because here the fresh river water falls directly into the ocean.
We finally arrived at our destination, the tip of the Shiretoko Peninsula. For some reason I had the image of a thick primeval forest being at this spot, but it was actually quite flat.
▲ I had imagined a more rugged sight, but it was quite calm.
▲ As we came closer, the Shiretokomisaki Lighthouse came into view.
During the cruise our guide would provide us with hilarious commentary when announcing the sights. It was really a great time and while these pictures give you a good idea of the sights, they can't compare with the experience of seeing them in person. The cruise is quite special, giving you a unique view of the tip of the peninsula, so if you plan on visiting Shiretoko in the future, please consider taking a tour!
▲ The staff of Godzilla Rock Sightseeing.
"This year's season ends on November 15th. Then, after a short break, we will start up our drift ice tours in February. Guests will wear dry suits and have a chance to walk along the top of the ice floe! We will also be offering a drift ice cruise at our Rausu Shop location."
Godzilla Rock Sightseeing〈ゴジラ岩観光〉
TEL : 0152-24-3060
Location : Higashi 50, Utoro, Shari-cho
- Shiretoko Peninsula Utoro Cruise : 4/15-11/15
- Shiretoko Peninsula Drift Ice Cruise (Rausu) : 2/1-4/10
Price : Utoro Cruise-Coast Course (About 3 hours) 8,000 Yen for one adult.
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Fukko)
(Photographs provided by Isao Kawamura)