- September 12th, 2017
[Lake Rausu in Shiretoko Peninsula] Hiking Can Be Enjoyed in Old Phantom Lake
Lake Rausu (羅臼湖) is a freshwater lake at 740 m above sea level at the foot of Mt. Chinishiridake (知西別岳), and the perimeter is about 4 km, and the maximum depth is 2 m, and is the largest lake in the Shiretoko National Park. The lake used to be called a phantom lake because creeping pines growing thickly and a lot of bears had been kept people away. But trails are built at present, and are opened to hikers from June to October, so even beginner hikers can enjoy hiking. Except the Lake Rausu, there are 5 ponds (from Ichi-no-Numa Pond (一の沼) to Go-no-Numa Pond (五の沼)) and Menashi-Boyodai Lookout (目梨望遥台), and various sceneries such as a snow scenery in a spring, a fresh green in a summer and fall foliage in an autumn can be enjoyed. * Unfortunately, a trail to the Ichi-no-Numa Pond is not built, but hikers can see from the Ni-no-Numa Pond (二の沼) to the Go-no-Numa Pond along the trails. Admission free.
Trekking Map of Lake Rausu (羅臼湖のトレッキングマップ) in Japanese is here
The distance from an entrance to the Lake Rausu is 2.8km. It takes from an hour and a half to 2 hours each way. A Hygrophyte and an alpine plant can be enjoyed because trails are built on high moor. The trails are rough and some muddy paths, so that visitors had better wear rain boots or hiking boots. Water requirement, too. I brought a 500ml pet bottle with the water, but I felt that the water was not enough a little. Do not bring strong smell food and drink because those attract bears. In addition, a restroom is not built here, so the visitors should bring a portable toilet If needed. The rain boots, a bear spray and the portable toilet can be rented at Rausu Visitor Center (羅臼ビジターセンター). The distance is around 18 km away from the center of Rausu, and the distance is around 20 km away from the center of Utoro, and a restraunt, a cafe and a convenience store are not built around here. Shiretoko Pass (知床峠) is relatively near here.
Shiretoko Pass (知床峠) is a popular viewing point at 738 m above sea level between Rausu town and Shari town in Shiretoko Peninsula, and is located around the top of National Route 334 (the common name is Shiretoko Crossing Road (知床横断道路)) connecting Utoro with Rausu, the length of 27 km in total, with some sharp curves. Good views of Kunashiri Island (国後島) and Mt. Rausudake (羅臼岳) can be seen if the weather is fine. The place has sometimes foggy days, and you are lucky if the weather is fine. Observatory decks, a public restroom and a parking lot are built on the site. The parking lot is used for Lake Rausu hikers, too. * It takes 20-30 minutes from here to an entrance of the lake on foot. Admission free. The parking lot is free of charge. The road is closed to traffic from early November to late April. Read More
By the way, a nonstop bus, Eagle Liner (イーグルライナー), runs between Sapporo and Utoro.
Shiretoko National Park
Shiretoko National Park (知床国立公園) at the northeastern edge of Japan main land is a national park between Shari town and Rausu town in the the northeastern part of Hokkaido. Most northern part of Shiretoko Peninsula has been desinged as the national park since 1964, and has also been designed World Natural Heritage Site, one of only 4 world natural heritage sites in Japan, since 2005. In the national park, there are Shiretoko Mountain Range (知床連山) such as Mt. Rausudake (羅臼岳), Mt. Chinishibetsudake (知西別岳), Mt. Iou (硫黄山) and Mt. Shiretokodake (知床岳), and here is a tourist attraction on behalf of Hokkaido containing some hot spring places such as Aidomari Onsen (相泊温泉), Seseki Onsen (瀬石温泉), Rausu Onsen (羅臼温泉) and Iwaobetsu Onsen (岩尾別温泉). The Shiretoko National Park is roughly divided into 2 areas, Shari Area and Rausu Area. The area is about 39,000 ha in total. A deep forest that wild animals such as Brown Bears, Yezo Deers and Blakiston's Hish-owls inhabit, Steep cliffs with about 100 m in height that separet the sea from mountains, the sea that marine life such as Salmons and Whales swim in, and those closely related to each other create great nature views. Because the Shiretoko means "The end of the earth" in Ainu language, I can understand the reason that it is said to be an unexplored region. Read More
Lake Rausu Trip
A parking lot (Parking is prohibited on a road) is not built near a trailhead, so ordinary hikers park their cars at Shiretoko Pass (知床峠), and take the bus for Rausu at Shiretokotoge (知床峠) bus stop, and get off the bus at Rausuko-Iruguchi (羅臼湖入口) bus stop. A bus fare was JPY 210. The hikers take a bus ticket when they get on the bus, and pay the money when they get off. In the case of walking, it takes around 20-30 minutes from the Shiretoko Pass to the Rausuko-Iruguchi, and the hikers had better beware of the bears. By the way, it took me around 40 minutes on foot on the way back. The rain boots were heavy, and I was tired with an upslope.
Shari (斜里) Bus timetable is here
The trailhead to the Lake Rausu is nearby the Rausuko-Iriguchi (bus for Utoro) bus stop. A hiking registration box is built, so the hikers should write their names, starting hiking time, and they should write finishing hiking time when they come back here.
When I visited here in September 2017, the Ni-no-Numa Pond ran dry under the influence of low rainfall unfortunately . But maybe it was a rare scenery.
My most favorite pond is San-no-Numa (三の沼) Pond. Mt. Rausudake and the pond are just good size. Taking a rest is very comfortable while looking at the scenery.
Yon-no-Numa Pond (四の沼) is beside a wooden path.
Go-no-Numa Pond (五の沼) is the largest pond in the 5 ponds.
A observation deck with entering capacity of about 10 people is built around the Lake Rausu, and the Lake Rausu and Mt. Chinishibetsudake (知西別岳) can be viewed there. A nature guide happened to be there said "Deers and bears sometimes swim the lake, and those landing on a small island can be seen if you are lucky". The nature guide was well-informed, so I think that you might as well join a guided tour. By the way, to eat food is prohibited on the trails because of attracting the bears, but the hikers can have a lunch here. Here is the end of the trails, so the hikers turn back to the trailhead.
The separation of the trail to Menashi-Boyodai Lookout (目梨望遥台) is near the Ni-no-Numa Pond. I went up on the creeping pines on my way, and it was just lke the adventure playground. It took about 15 minutes each way. 360-degree view can be enjoyed here. It is marvelous! I have no way out if I run into the bear. But the scenery was very comfortable.
There is no particular dangerous spot, so even beginner hikers can enjoy themselves. But a few hikers come because of less convenient for transportation and the bears. I think that few people is one of attractions. In addition, the hikers happened to be there told me "There is a high possibility the hikers run into the bears in the early morning". Therefore, maybe the bus timetable is a time zone for avoiding the bears.
Atmosphere of Lake Rausu Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Admission fee||Free of charge|
|Parking lot||No parking facilities * Visitors can park their cars at Shiretoko pass parking lot. But it takes about 20-50 minutes on foot.|
|Business hours||Open 24 hours|
|Regular closing day||From early October to late April|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||757 403 397*17|
List of Accommodations
Refer to following websites for the accommodations around the Lake Rausu. You can get information regarding online reviews and photos.
A page of Shiretoko National Park is here
Shiretoko National Park
By the way, Club Tourism (クラブツーリズム), a Japanese tour travel agency, provides various types of tours such as day trip tours or ordinary tours. In the case of bus tours, tourists do not drive their cars themselves, so they can savor alcohol. Choosen tourist attractions are national parks such as Rishiri and Rebun, Shiretoko, and popular tourist places such as Furano and Biei, and some activities such as hiking and fruit picking are also enjoyed depending on seasons. If you are interested in tour trips, you should visit the club tourism's website for details.
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