Nature lovers and wildlife-watchers will feel at ease at Japan’s largest wetland behind the port town of Kushiro. At the winding rivers collide with lakes, you will see elegant tancho (Japanese cranes) in abundance. This area was the bottom of the ocean in ancient times.
Location 8km north of Kushiro
Highlights Hosooka Viewpoint, Sarubo Viewpoint
Tourist Information Hosooka Visitors Lounge (細岡ビジターズラウンジ): Tel 0154-40-4455 / Near Hosooka Viewpoint (see below), 22-9 Takkobu, Kushiro-cho / 9am-5pm Apr & May, to 6pm Jun-Sep, to 4pm Oct & Nov, 10am-4pm Dec-Mar / Closed 31 Dec-5 Jan
01 SCENIC VIEWPOINT
This popular viewpoint is open throughout year and easily accessible on foot from JR Kushiro-shitsugen Station (10-minute). You can see the wetlands and meandering streams from here. The Hosooka Visitors Lounge near the viewpoint has a cafe.
02 SCENIC VIEWPOINT
A 20-minute walk north of JR Toro Station along Route 391, the wooden steps lead to the viewing platform of Sarubo where the panorama of lakes and marshes. From the viewpoint, a walkway leads to Sarurun Viewpoint (サルルン展望台) and the hidden 79m trigonometrical point (三角点: sankaku-ten).
03 SCENIC VIEWPOINT
Kottaro Shitsugen Viewpoint
If you are driving on unpaved Prefectural Road 1060 across Kushiro Shitsugen between Toro and Eastern Tsurui, stop by this hilltop viewpoint over the wetland’s deep north.
KUSHIRO SHITSUGEN MAP
JR Senmo Line (釧網本線), between Kushiro and Abashiri, runs east side of the wetlands along the serene river of Kushiro-gawa (釧路川). For the fine views, sit on the left side heading from Kushiro. You may find it a convenient stopover to look over the wetlands and lakes.
From June to late September, Kushiro Shitsugen Norokko Train (釧路湿原ノロッコ号) has two daily runs slowly from Kushiro to Toro (50min / ¥640), stopping at Kushiro-shitsugen (23min / ¥440).