At the gateway of both the Shiretoko and Notsuke peninsulas, Nemuro Region’s Shibetsu (標津町) is best known for its fresh salmon. There are a few attractions worth visiting around the town center.
Shibetsu Salmon Aquarium
標津サーモン科学館 / 1-1 N1W6 / 9.30am-5pm Feb-Nov / Closed Wed Feb-Mar & Oct-Nov / ¥650 / s-salmon.com
Shibetsu is a mecca for salmon fishing in Eastern Hokkaido, this riverside aquarium has 17 species of salmon in tanks. You can climb to the observation tower for views of surrounding wetlands and Kunashiri-to. The museum is about 1.5km west of the bus terminal and closed in the off-seasons. It is a short walk from the Salmon Park-iriguchi (サーモンパーク入口) stop on the Shibecha-Shibetsu bus route.
02 LOCAL HISTORY
Po-gawa Historical Place Forest Park
ポー川史跡自然公園 / Po-gawa Shiseki Shizen Koen / 2784 Ichajin / 9am-5pm 29 Apr-23 Nov / Admission ¥330 / www.shibetsutown.jp/shisetsu/art_culture
About 3km north of Shibetsu on Route 244, Po-gawa is a 630-hectare nature reserve dates back to 10,000 years ago. An on-site visitor center showcases find from the archaeological digs, including tools and artefacts. There is also an outdoor collection of reconstructed old local buildings in the adjoining historical village.
From the visitor center, you can explore to the Ichajin-Karikariusu Ruins (伊茶仁カリカリウス遺跡) in the hillside forest by walk or a free rental bicycle, through the wetland of Shibetsu Shitsugen (標津湿原). More than 2500 pit dwelling sites, dating from BC 8000 to AD 1200, were found in this ruins. At least 1.5 hours for explore the park.
Buses for Rausu from Kushiro via Shibetsu can drop you off at the Po-gawa Shiseki-koen-mae (ポー川史跡公園前). Note that the historical village, walks for the wetland and ruins require a ¥320 admission ticket, which you can buy at the visitor center.
03 LOCAL HISTORY
Old Nemuro-Shibetsu Station
Opposite Shibetsu bus terminal was the site of Old Nemuro-Shibetsu Station, you will find a turntable and a steam locomotive.
From here a 10km-long almost straight rail trail runs on the disused JR Line (旧標津線) between old Nemuro-Shibetsu and Kawakita stations, across the windproof forest. Old Kawakita Station (旧川北駅) is on the Shibecha-Shibetsu bus route.
Akan Bus operates buses to Shibetsu from the following:
Kushiro (2-5 daily / 2.5hrs) via Nakashibetsu (30min)
Shibecha Station (3-4 daily / 2hrs 10min) via Nakashibetsu (3-6 daily / 40min, Kawakita and the Salmon Park
Rausu (2-4 daily / 1hr)