Memanbetsu Airport is just a 1 hour and 40 minute flight from Tokyo, but its location in the Okhotsk region of northeastern Hokkaido is like a different world, with a completely different climate and topography and unspoiled nature as far as the eye can see.
After stopping for lunch in Abashiri, visit the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples and learn about the indigenous Ainu people and other northern peoples, who have coexisted peacefully with the local wildlife since ancient times.
If youʼre visiting between spring and autumn, you can take a night tour of Shiretoko,where you can spot wildlife from your car and admire the starry sky with no artificial lighting. Finish your first day with a dip in Utoro Hot Springs.
Take a morning cruise around the Shiretoko Peninsula, where you can see brown bears and orcas in summer and eagles swooping over drift ice in winter. Hokkaidoʼs combination of volcanic activity and drift ice makes it the perfect home for brown bears, as well as one of northeast Asiaʼs top spots for whales and orcas with 13 species of whales.
After lunch, head to Teshikaga, where youʼll find nature that appeals to all five senses, from the beautiful sulfur crystals around the crater of Mt. Io to the hot spring by Lake Kussharo where you can dig your own foot bath. Just a stoneʼs throw from your accommodation by Lake Akan is the Akan Ainu Kotan, where you can watch traditional dancing and a fire festival.
Lake Akan is the perfect spot for nature watching, with a rich ecosystem including brown bears, Yezo deer and around 150 species of birds. Each season brings exciting new ways to explore the lake ‒ go canoeing or take a cruise in sum mer, or walk on the frozen lake in winter.
In the afternoon, visit Akan International Crane Center to see the famous red-crowned crane. This elegant bird has been considered lucky since ancient times, and appears in many paintings and folk tales. Eastern Hokkaido is one of the craneʼs main homes, and this center has made a vital contribution to efforts to conserve the local crane population, providing a shining example of sustainable tourism and offering a rare opportunity to see this iconic bird up close.
- Flight to Memanbetsu Airport
- Lunch in Abashiri
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples, Abashiri
- Stay at Utoro Onsen
- Shiretoko Peninsula cruise, Utoro/Shari
Lunch in Shari
Visit Mt. Io and sand baths, Teshikaga
Ainu Kotan (Traditional dancing, fire festival), Akan
- Stay at Akan Onsen
- Lake Akan Nature walk
Lunch by Lake Akan
Akan International Crane Center
- Return flight from Tancho Kushiro Airport