Are you at the end of the earth or in paradise?
Experience another world in Nemuro/Notsuke

Nemuro and Notsuke on the eastern side of east Hokkaido are known as Japan’s last undiscovered area.
The sight of ancient forests and what looks like the end of the earth is actually a paradise for wild animals.
This is a deep Hokkaido journey to be enjoyed by experienced travelers.

Be moved by the miraculous nature of Lake Furen and Shunkunitai!

Even for east Hokkaido, the eastern side facing the Nemuro Channel is particularly rich in nature. Foremost in this area is Lake Furen, which is located at the base of the Nemuro peninsula, and the 8km sandbank of Shunkunitai that separates Lake Furen and the Nemuro bay.

Another name for Shunkunitai is “Miracle Island.” Plants and other vegetation have blossomed on this area formed by sand brought along by the ocean current. Moreover, it houses diverse natural species, most of which are still in their rare ancient form.

On the nature watching tour in Shunkunitai operated by local nature tour company “Nemuro Nature Center,” a variety of amazing scenes will appear that truly are miraculous, including sand banks, wetlands, grassy fields, forests and tidal flats. One of Shunkunitai’s standout features is the virgin Sakhalin spruce grove growing on the moss, where the rich atmosphere of this ancient forest will make you sit up straight.

Wooden footpaths in Shunkunitai have been damaged by typhoons, so the path to the Sakhalin spruce grove has now closed. However, if you put on a pair of boots and go along with a guide, it is possible to enter the forest without using the path, which is another reason why we recommend this tour company.

In addition to Shunkunitai, there are also nature tours that explore the wider Lake Furen area. Lake Furen/Shunkunitai, which houses a diversity of flora, is a paradise for flowers and wild animals, and on the tour you may meet a herd of Ezo deer or an Ezo red fox. There are also countless historical sights related to the indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido, including a number of Chashi fortifications.

We cannot leave out wild birds when talking about the miraculous nature of Lake Furen and Shunkunitai. This is Japan’s foremost area for wild birds where more than half of the species in Japan can be observed. On the Nemuro Nature Center bird watching tour, a guide, who keeps a constant watch on the movement of birds, will lead you to the best spot for that day. The best time of year is the middle of November, when the birds that stay for winter can be seen alongside the birds that will soon leave. It is an opportunity to observe a dream scenario in which whooper swans and ducks cover the lake, while sea eagles and white-tailed eagles watch on from the skies, and Japanese red cranes loiter in the wetlands.

Visit the following webpages for these courses.

Reserve this nature watching tour

Visit the following webpages for these courses.

Reserve this bird watching tour

Walking through a desolate scene as the Notsuke peninsula comes to an end

The Notsuke peninsula juts out like a hook between the Shiretoko Peninsula and the Nemuro Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido. This peninsula is also an accumulation of sand transported by the ocean current, and it has similar attractions to Lake Furen/Shunkunitai, including diverse seasonal flowers and an abundance of wild birds.

The foremost highlight of Notsuke is Todowara. This desolate region that looks like the ends of the Earth is an area where subsidence has caused the withering trees, including Sakhalin firs and other virgin trees, to become submerged. This deathly scene really draws people in. This scene will one day disappear as weathering continues to progress among these decaying trees.

The Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center organizes guided tours of the Notsuke peninsula centering on Todowara. The route between the starting point at the Nature Center and Todowara is famous for flowers, so the following scene of Todowara feels even more desolate.

On the Notsuke peninsula, there is an area of withered Mongolian oak tree forests, which is known as Narawara. The Notsuke Peninsula Nature Club offers a popular “Notsuke Peninsula Hitomawari Course,” which will take you to Todowara on a sightseeing boat with outstanding views of Notsuke Bay before visiting Narawara (entrance is not allowed but it can be viewed from the outside) and the Genseikaen wild flower preserve, as well as a popular tour on a small boat known as a sculling boat where you will discover the secret attractions of Notsuke Peninsula and Notsuke Bay. The sculling boat, which can reach shoals that the sightseeing boat cannot approach, will give you an up-close view of both sea and land.

These tours close temporarily at the end of October, but the winter nature tours held between January and March are not to be missed. There are also popular walking tours that start on fresh snow fields and end in the desolate snowy landscape of Todowara and tours where you can observe sea eagles and white-tailed eagles up close.

Experience the magnificence of Hokkaido from foot paths

In recent years, foot paths have become more and more common in Japan. Foot paths originate in England, where walking and enjoying the sight of forests, rural areas and streets in their natural habitat is a form of leisure. The foot path in Nemuro, which was opened in 2003, is one of Japan’s pioneering foot paths. The course was established by local dairy farmers who talked of the amazing scenery in their own farms and who mutually agreed that more people should enjoy it. This scenery, that fascinates even the local farmers who are familiar with it, provides visitors with a moving experience.

The Nemuro Nature Center, which hosts nature tours in Lake Furen and Shunkunitai, is also the official guide to the Nemuro foot path. All of the walking courses show off the magnificence of Hokkaido.

For example, the Attoko Path takes you past forests that conceal the pioneering history of Hokkaido, including abandoned railroad tracks, through to spacious meadows. This area has been given the name “Mono-omoi ni fukeru oka” (“the hill where you will be lost in thought”), as dairy farmers become deeply immersed in thought from the seat of their tractors at the sight of this picturesque scenery. The expanse of green, which is typical of Hokkaido, leads to a view of the distant Shiretoko mountains and Kunashir Island on days when the weather is fine. Walking in the middle of a meadow is a priceless experience.

There is also a walking course along the seashore on the Bettoga Path. On this walk, your heart will leap at the sight of the uninterrupted views of sea and land, and you will be refreshed by the sight of grazing horses near the beach. You will also feel the breath of animals all around you, including red-crowned cranes. Another attraction on this course is that you can pass through precious ancient forests and wetlands. One feature of the Nemuro foot path is that you can take a peek at the untouched nature between the farms that has not been cultivated.

Reserve this foot path guide

Enjoy a discount stay in Nemuro and Notsuke

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Okhotsk Monbetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

105 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

Nakashibetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

100 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

Kushiro Airport

from Tokyo Haneda Airport

95 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 3※

Osaka Itami Airport

115 minutes

direct flights during July 15-August 31

Memanbetsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

105 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 2※

From Nagoya Chubu Airport

115 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

From Osaka Kansai Airport

125 minutes

Direct flights between mid July and September

*Information correct as of September 30 2016

Displayed information is as of late September 2016.

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