From the Nemuro Peninsula to the Shiretoko Peninsula across the vast Konsen Plateau, this coastal route offers a rewarding road trip. The highlight is the Notsuke Peninsula, Japan’s longest sandbank juts up into the ocean.
Nemuro-Shiretoko Seaside Line
DURATION: 5.5 hours +
BEST TIME: Mid June to early October / January to March for winter wonderland
PLAN YOUR OWN TOUR
Furen-ko ›› Spending a few hours exploring around this nature-rich lake by boats or scenic boardwalks.
Odaito & Notsuke Peninsula ›› Wandering Japan’s longest sandbank and see the lovely seals from a cruise ship.
Shibetsu ›› Strolling the Po-gawa Historical Place Forest Park and Shibetsu Salmon Park.
Japan’s most eastern mainland city, Nemuro is in the closest position to the 1150km-long Chishima Islands that stretches from Eastern Hokkaido to Kamchatka. Nature-rich, the 60km-long Nemuro Peninsula is a perfect place for birdwatching, wildlife cruising, footpath hiking and dining on fresh seafood.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From Nemuro Station bus terminal, Nemuro Kotsu (nemurokotsu.com) operates a few local buses for Attoko and airport shuttle buses for Nakashibetsu via Attoko.
The 59-sq-km lagoon Furen-ko is the natural highlight of Nemuro, providing sanctuary for 330 species of birds, including sea eagles, whooper swans and tancho (Japanese crane). Shunkunitai (春国岱) is a 8km-long scenic sandbank separates the Nemuro Bay and Furen-ko.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Both local and airport shuttle buses stop at Tobai (東梅) near Shunkunitai sandbank and the Michi-no-eki Swan 44 Nemuro (道の駅スワン44ねむろ) on the lakeside.
On the western edge of Nemuro on the JR Hanasaki Line, Attoko is a starting point of the 10.5km circumference footpath goes along the disused railway track, through the forest and pleasant pastures.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› From Attoko Station (厚床駅前), there are several local and airport shuttle buses for Nakashibetsu via Betsukai. If you take a bus from Ito Bokujo-mae (伊藤牧場前) on the footpath, raise your hand on the road.
Okuyuki’s wooden ekiteisho (駅逓所) was built in 1910 as a Hokkaido-style relay station with a ryokan, a post office and horses. It has eight guest rooms and historical artefacts. You will find two old train stations near here.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Both local and airport shuttle buses stop here.
Betsukai (also called Bekkai to locals) is two times larger than Tokyo’s 23 wards. Some 15,000 people and 120,000 cows (!) living this grand-scale town.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Betsukai Purato (別海ぷらと) is the town’s main bus terminal and all buses for Nakashibetsu stop here. The municipal bus (別海町地域生活バス尾岱沼線) operates buses from Betsukai Purato to Odaito’s Higashi Kominkan public hall (東公民館: 2-3 daily except Sun & holiday / 1hr).
Odaito is a small fishing village on the western shores of the Notsuke Bay. If you are super lucky, you may see the square-shaped sun on a winter morning from the shores.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Odaito bus stop is near the main intersection of the town on Route 244. Akan Bus (www.akanbus.co.jp) operates a weekday morning bus to Shibetsu (20min). There is also a seasonal daytime bus to Shibetsu (mid Jul-mid Aug).
Notsuke Peninsula 野付半島
Notsuke Peninsula is a 28km-long, shrimp-shaped sandbank arcing out into the Nemuro Strait. Reaching just a few meters above sea level, much of the landscape is covered with decayed Japanese oaks and Sakhalin firs by the erosion of sea water. On a clear day, the island of Kunashiri-to is visible over the strait.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› In summer (mid Jul-mid Aug), the best way to take a cruise is buying the Todowara-go combined ticket (トドワラ号セット券) that sells at the Odaito tourist information center, Shibetsu and Kushiro bus terminals. The Todowara-go runs from Shibetsu to the Notsuke Peninsula Nature Center, then heads to Odaito continue to Hakuchodai (白鳥台). There are no direct buses to Notsuke Peninsula during the off-season.
This fishing town is a gateway to the Notsuke and Shiretoko peninsulas facing the Nemuro Strait. There are a few attractions worth visiting around the town center.
TRAVEL BY BUS ›› Akan Bus operates buses to Shibetsu terminal (標津ターミナル) from Kushiro (2.5hrs) and Shibecha (2hrs 10min) via Nakashibetsu (30min). Some buses from Kushiro to Shibetsu continue to Rausu (1hr). Rausu Hon-cho (羅臼本町) bus stop is conveniently located behind the michi-no-eki in the town center.
This busy fishing town on the Eastern Shiretoko is well-worth visiting for marine life, onsen and seafood lovers. We recommend you to spend two days in the town and enjoy cruising, bathing or trekking.
CONNECTIONS ›› Rausu bus station (羅臼営業所) is located in the west side of town center on Route 334. From mid June to early October, buses run from Rausu to Utoro (ウトロ: 4 daily / 50min) pass through the dynamic Shiretoko Pass.