Shiretoko peninsula, Hokkaido access guide

Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO
Shiretoko Pass is the highlight of Shiretoko peninsula. (C) JNTO

Shiretoko is one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. There are falls, lakes and onsen. Shiretoko is one of the best place to enjoy the nature of Hokkaido. I will share the information about access Shiretoko.


View How to get Shiretoko in a larger map

Utoro is the biggest town in Shiretoko peninsula. Most of tourists stay overnight there and visit Shiretoko five lakes, falls and enjoy outdoor activities. Rausu is located at the other side of peninsula. You can visit there if you like. Both Utoro and Rausu are connected by bus but it runs summer time only. This road is closed in winter time.

Access from Abashiri via Shiretoko-Shari

Shiretoko cannot be accessed by only train trip. The nearest station is Shiretoko-Shari. Both JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass cover the trip to Shiretoko-Shari. But after arrival at Shiretoko-Shari, you have to take the bus and this bus is not covered by any rail passes.

Shiretoko-Shari is 40 minutes away from Abashiri by JR Senmo line local train. You can take Limited express Okhotsk to get Abashiri or Taisetsu from Sapporo.

Access to Abashiri from Sapporo. Limited Express Okhotsk / Taisetsu

You can find the train timetable of both Limited Express Okhotsk and Senmo line local train at JR Hokkaido official site:

JR Hokkaido official site

You can find the timetable of bus for Shiretoko-Shari to/from Utoro in the link below. Utoro is one of the bases in Shiretoko peninsula.

Shari bus timetable (PDF)

You also can find the timetable of tourist bus. This is a guided bus for overseas tourist. You can visit Shiretoko as day trip by this bus service.

Shari bus English information

Access from Kushiro

You can take JR Senmo line local train from Kushiro to get Shiretoko-Shari. Limited Express Super Ozora connects Sapporo and Kushiro.

Access to Kushiro and Obihiro from Sapporo. Limited Express Super Ozora / Super Tokachi

You also can access Rausu in Shiretoko from Kushiro by bus directly. However the destination is Rausu. Rausu is located at southside of Shiretoko peninsula.

Unfortunately the timetable of the bus service between Kushiro and Rausu is available in Japanese only. You can find it in the link below:

Akan Bus route between Kushiro and Rausu

I hope this post helps you to build your trip plan to Shiretoko.

32 thoughts on “Shiretoko peninsula, Hokkaido access guide”

  1. Hi JR,

    Going to Hokkaido in early June.
    Planning to go to Siretoko for few days.
    Will be travelling with family and will not be driving.
    Since i will not be driving, should i go to this area? Some sites says driving required.
    And is June a good time to here or should i visit somewhere else instead.


  2. Hi there,
    I plan to use the Rhyhyo Train from Abashiri to Shiretoko Shari (945-1040) in Feb 14,2018. but I am not sure if it is worth going to Utoro. Not sure if the bus operates on an hourly basis during winter. I then need to go back the same day. Do you know if it would be worth it?

  3. Planning to visit North Eastern Hokkaido on Dec 27 to Jan 12, 2018. Can we use our 14days JR Pass in N.E. Hokkaido? After Hokkaido trip we will visit Tokyo all the way to Hiroshima… we are group of hobbyist photographers.

    Thank you,

  4. Hi again Takeshi, we are trying to fit the whole Shiretoko in one day following you schedule. We are definetely going to the five lakes but we are not sure about the waterfalls. Which ones do you suggest?

    We are tempted to visit Kamuiwakka falls but we are not sure if it is worth, as I have read the access to the upper part is closed (we wouldnt climb a hard route either)

    And then, Furuppe or Oshinkoshin Falls?

    To visit all of them we should only visit the first lake, so? What is best? What place would you discard?

    Again, my best thanks from Spain

    1. Hi Maria,

      Actually I have never been to both Shiretoko lakes and falls. I’ve been to only Utoro. Please ask it on other site.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Only one week to fly to Japan, and here I am back to your advice. I am having problems finding a rental car in Abashiri due to Obon, I guess, so I am checking the public transportation options to Shire-toko for one day. As we have JR passes we will arrive to Shari Eki to get the bus to Utoro and the likes. Do you think this is possible in a one day excursion from Abashiri? And another question: Is there a free pass to use this buses for a day to be able to visit different spots with a single ticket?

    Once more, thanks in advance and congratulations for your site. It is so helpful.

    1. Hi Maria,

      It’s not impossible. If you take earliest bus and last bus, schedule is like this:
      Abashiri 06:41 – 07:22 Shiretokoshari 08:10 – 09:35 Shiretoko Gogo (five lake) 10:40 – 11:00 Utoro 17:00 – 17:50 Shiretokoshari 18:07 – 18:49 Abashiri

      You can add wherever you want. But only single ticket is available. There are some passes but it covers from Sapporo to Shiretoko. It it obviously too much for you trip.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. This is such a handy site! Thanks for the updates re Hayabusa, by the way. I’m also trying to plan a fairly quick trip to Shiretoko at the end of May. Your info here is great. But I’ve been checking Looks like we just can’t get across the Shiretoko Pass by bus to Rausu then – or even from Utoro to Kamuiwakka Falls. Have I got this wrong?

    1. Hello Dave,
      Thanks for your comment.
      As you asked about the bus to Rausu from Utoto/Shiretoko-Shari, you are right. The summer in Shiretoko is so short. Shiretoko pass is closed during winter time. This is the reason why the bus is not operated during winter.
      You can go Shiretoko five lakes even in winter time. But you cannot go to Rausu and Kamuiwakka falls.
      I will revise my site and mention about the winter schedule.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Yes we did. We did a circuit which included Kushiro Marsh, Akan, lake Mashu, shiretoko and abishiri.

    The sea ice was truly beautiful. It was best at Shietoko, but we had to travel to Abishiri to take a boat out on to the ice. It was cold though.

    I notice you said you live in Canada, but I take it you were originally from Japan.

  8. Thanks for the Article. Love the Website.

    Shiretoko is one of those must see places. I have been twice both in summer and winter and loved it. Go to the 5 lakes and the hot spring waterfall. Truly wild and beautiful.

    Ive traveled in more than 30 countries, but I would have to say that Hokkaido is probably my favourite place.

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