Shiretoko Goko (知床五湖 /Shiretoko Five Lakes) is a series of lakes near Mount Io (硫黄山, Iō-zan) a stratovolcano on the Shiretoko Peninsula of Hokkaido. It is located inside the Shiretoko National Park which is on the list of world heritage sites for irreplaceable value of the local ecosystem and biodiversity.

About Shiretoko Five Lakes

Listed as the number one location to visit (Tripadvisor) in Shari Cho, the natural environment, wildlife and scenery of Shiretoko National Park are very peaceful and serene.

If you want to take the long loop or short loop around the lakes, you’ll have to listen to a ten minute lecture, and depending on the season, you may have to reserve for a guided tour.

The long loop takes around 2 and half hour to 3 hours to complete. Take extra care to visit outside the Brown Bear Active Period if you’re worried about higuma (brown bear) attacks.

However, even if you were unable to join a tour, you can still go to the observatories which can be reached from the elevated boardwalk. From there, you can see amazing panoramic views of the First Lake and the epic mountain range around Shiretoko National Park.

A mix of temperate and subalpine forests, you can see fir trees, birch and oak trees in the Shiretoko National Park. Meanwhile, surrounding the park, there are plenty of Siberian dwarf pine thickets. Other wildlife at the park besides brown bears are deers and foxes.

Shiretoko Natural Park Center

Further information on Shiretoko National Park can be found at the Shiretoko National Park Nature Center which also has a giant screen to showcase the Four seasons of Shiretoko (500 yen per adult).

Other than the Shiretoko Five Lakes, the Furepe waterfall and Oshinkoshin Falls nearby are also worth visiting. In Winter, you can ride the Aurora, a cruise from the Abashiri Port to look at drift ice in the Okhotsk Sea.

Spot information

  • Spot name: Shiretoko Five Lakes
  • Street address: Shari-cho, Shari-gun 099-4100, Hokkaido
  • Access: From Abashiri, take a train to Shari. From Shari, you can reach Utoro Hot Spring Area with the Shari bus.