Whale watching off the Rausu coast, Shiretoko

Japan's Far East
8 Day Wildlife & Adventure Tour

Multi-day Guided Hiking, Canoeing & Wildlife Tour in Eastern Hokkaido


An intrepid journey covering three National Parks in Eastern Hokkaido. Experience the best of our outdoors, wildlife & culture on this multi-day guided hiking, canoeing & wildlife tour.

  • Tour Duration

    8 Days
  • Minimum Travellers

    4 People
  • Accommodation

    7 Nights
  • Tour Starts

    Kushiro, Hokkaido
  • Included Meals

    7 Breakfasts
    4 Lunches
    7 Dinners
  • Tour Finishes

    Kushiro, Hokkaido

Tour Highlights

  • Explore deep into Japan’s Far East region, home to three national parks: Kushiro-shitsugen National Park, Akan Mashu National Park, and Shiretoko National Park.
  • Wildlife cruises with a chance to see brown bear, seabirds & marine mammals off the Rausu coast.
  • Canoeing on Lake Kussharo to observe volcanic hot spots.
  • Meet and share meals with local fishermen, nature guides & conservation activists.

About Japan’s Far East

Hokkaido’s far east region is often described as the last unexplored frontier of Japan. The area is an ideal place to get in touch with mother nature and observe the flora and fauna which are unique to Hokkaido.
On this tour, we travel through a trio of National Parks that stand in eastern Hokkaido: the wetland park of Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland, Lakes Akan–Mashu, and the wild Shiretoko Peninsula. The latter is also designated as a Natural Heritage Site in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
During the journey, we will also introduce you to local treasures, including the cuisine enjoyed by local fishermen and the people who devote their lives to conserving the wetland and its inhabitants. Come join us on this tour and meet the wildlife and charming local people who live in harmony with nature.

Who is this tour for?

  • Active travellers who enjoy walking for 3 to 5 hours a day.
  • Curious travellers who enjoy a mixture of activities & sightseeing and learning about the regions they visit.
  • Adventurous travellers who enjoy rural hospitality staying in Japanese style accommodations with natural hot springs on site.

Japan’s Far East Wildlife & Adventure Tour
Itinerary at a Glance

*B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
Day 1 (D)
Meet your group in Kushiro City
Day 2 (B, L, D)
Guided walking at Lake Akan & Guided walking to Mount Iōzan
Day 3 (B, L, D)
Guided canoeing on Lake Kussharo & Transfer to Utoro, Shiretoko
Day 4 (B, L, D)
Guided walking at Shiretoko Five Lakes & Brown bear cruise in Rausu
Day 5 (B, D)
Marine wildlife watching cruise in Rausu
Day 6 (B, D)
Transfer to Yoroushi Onsen & Guided hiking in Nakashibetsu
Day 7 (B, L, D)
Seafood lunch & Guided canoeing on the Kiritappu Wetland
Day 8 (B)
Transfer to Kushiro & farewells

Tour Inclusions

Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 7 nights accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Guided walking & Ainu culture tour at Lake Akan
  • Guided canoeing tour on Lake Kussharo
  • Brown bear watching cruise in Rausu
  • Marine wildlife watching cruise in Rausu
  • Admission to Shiretoko Five Lakes
  • Guided canoeing tour on the Kiritappu Wetland
  • All transport as described in the itinerary
  • English speaking local guide(s)

Not included

Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Airfare
  • 2 Lunches
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks with included meals

Meet your guide

  1. Day 1 Meet your group in Kushiro City

    We will meet between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm in Kushiro City. We can arrange to pick you up from the airport at around 1:00 pm or from the railway station at around 1:30 pm. Once the group assembles in Kushiro, we’ll spend some time getting to know each other, discuss the programme for our upcoming adventure then set off for a short hike on the Kushiro Wetland walkway.

    Registered as a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance), Kushiro Shitsugen Wetland is the largest wetland remaining in Japan today. With an area of 22,070 ha (54,500 acres), it is larger than our capital city Tokyo! After we enjoy the views of the vast wetland, we will travel by van for half an hour to Tsurui Village, where we spend our first night.

    Included meals
    – Dinner
    – Hotel in Tsurui
    – Walking
    Walking distance
    – 2.5km / 1.6miles (1.5 hours)

  2. Day 2 Guided walking at Lake Akan & to Mount Iōzan

    After breakfast at hotel, we will head for Lake Akan in the Akan–Mashu National Park. Lake Akan is a hot spot for hiking, fishing, bathing in hot springs, as the lake is located between the majestic Mt Oakandake and Mt Meakandake volcanic peaks. It is also a cultural hub for Ainu, the indigenous people of Northern Japan, where you find a variety of handcraft shops and galleries on the main street of the village.

    Here we will be joined by a local Ainu guide who will take us for a leisurely walk destined for a ”bokke”, the site where we see the bubbling mud on the shore of Lake Akan. While we walk we hear folklore stories and learn about the culture and customs of Ainu who worship the wildlife and have lived in harmony with the nature.

    After lunch in the Akan village, we travel onto Kawayu Onsen. In Japanese kawa means river & yu means hot water and as true to its name, there is a hot water river running through the village centre of Kawayu. We will hike to the source of the thermal springs that feed the river, Mt Iōzan, on an easy 2.5 km/1.6 miles trail from Kawayu village.

    A young active volcano, Mt Iōzan has steam constantly discharging from its fumaroles, which provide spectacular views. Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people named this mountain ”Atosanupuri”, which means ”naked mountain” due to no vegetation growing on its slopes.

    We will return on the same trail back to our vehicle in Kawayu Onsen, and drive 10 mins to our accommodation at Lake Kussharo. We will enjoy our meal and bathing in hot springs at our accommodation tonight.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    – Lodge at Lake Kussharo
    – Walking
    Walking distance
    – 7.5km / 4.2miles (3 hours)

  3. Day 3 Guided canoeing on Lake Kussharo & Transfer to Shiretoko

    We will spend the morning exploring Lake Kussharo by canoe. We will get started at the foot of Wakoto Hanto, a small peninsula that was once an island floating in the lake.

    It is easy to imagine the Wakoto Peninsula being formed by volcanic activity, as we explore the peninsula in our canoes we will witness steam vents and hot springs surging from the ground on the shore. We will have morning tea when we land near ”Oyakotsu Jigoku”, where we will cook eggs in the geothermal steam!

    After we enjoy an outdoor lunch, we have a 1.5 hours drive northeast to Shiretoko, which in the Ainu language means ”the land’s end”. We call in to the Shiretoko World Heritage Centre in Utoro before settling into our accommodation.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    – Hotel in Utoro Shiretoko
    – Canoeing (3 hours)

  4. Day 4 Walking at Shiretoko Five Lakes & Brown bear cruise in Rausu

    Surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk, most of the Shiretoko Peninsula has been preserved as a National Park since 1964 and was also designated as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.

    Approximately 7,000 people live on this Peninsula, but their homes are concentrated in two towns: Utoro on the northern side, and Rausu on the southern side. The rest of the peninsula remains untouched and is a habitat for wildlife, such as Brown bears, Japanese deers, Red foxes, Eurasian red squirrels. Needless to say, the marine and bird life are also rich in diversity.

    This morning, we explore Shiretoko on land, walking to Shiretoko Five Lakes. We will receive a mini-lecture before heading into the territory of Brown bears. We aim to complete the entire walkway to visit all five of the lakes, unless the walkway is closed due to a bear on the trail.

    In the afternoon, we cross over the Shiretoko Pass to Rausu, a thriving fishing village. We’ll board on a local fisherman’s boat for 2.5 hours to explore the southern coast of the peninsula from the sea. If we are lucky we may spot a Brown bear or two wandering in search of food, often salmon in the autumn months. We make Rausu our home for the next two nights.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    – Walking
    Walking istance
    – 3km / 1.9miles (1.5 hours)

  5. Day 5 Marine wildlife watching cruise in Rausu

    The Rausu coast also features a deep ocean trench, making it a favourite home for marine mammals such as Sperm whales and Dall’s porpoises. This morning we board on a larger boat than yesterday to journey further offshore to try and spot these sea mammals and sea birds.

    The afternoon is free for everyone to enjoy some free time: relaxing in your room or exploring Rausu town on foot. If you are an onsen lover, we can head out together to either Aidomari Onsen or Kuma-No-Yu, which are free outdoor onsens looked after by the local communities. We regroup in the evening and dine out in town.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Dinner
    – Lodge in Rausu Shiretoko
    – Boat cruise (2.5 hours)

  6. Day 6 Transfer to Yoroushi Onsen & Guided hiking in Nakashibetsu

    This morning we travel by van for 1.5 hours down the southern coast of the Shiretoko Peninsula, heading for Yoroushi Onsen, a peaceful hot spring village nestled in the forest near Nakashibetsu.

    We will explore the area by foot, with the option of hiking either near Mt Moanyama (356m / 1,168ft) or up Mt Risuke (787m / 2582ft) set behind Lake Mashu, depending on the weather and the hiking levels of the group.

    The relatively flat trail near Mt Moanyama is maintained by the local farming community and provides a unique walking experience amid the ranches. The climb to Mt Risuke is more strenuous, but the view of Lake Mashu from the top is well worth the exercise. We will enjoy picnic lunch during our walking/hiking.

    On returning to our accommodation, you can enjoy soaking in the outdoor onsen listening to the sounds of the river and surrounding nature.

    Tonight’s accommodation will also be popular with bird lovers, as Blakiston’s fish owls visit from time to time to feed along the river running by our accommodation.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Dinner
    – Ryokan in Yoroushi Onsen
    – Hiking
    Hiking distance
    – 4.5 km / 2.8 miles (3 hours)

  7. Day 7 Seafood lunch & guided canoeing in Kiritappu Wetland

    Today we have an easy morning as we travel south in the van for 1.5 hours to Hamanaka Town, a prosperous fishing and dairy farming town located on the southern coast of Hokkaido. We call into scenic Cape Kiritappu, where we can spot wild sea otters if we are lucky.

    * We will then meet up with local fishing families and share a hands-on lunch with them. We will prepare sea urchins and make ”dashi”, kelp stock used for making miso soup. We will enjoy this seafood lunch with the local families, fuelling up for our afternoon canoeing on the Kiritappu Wetland.*

    * Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to have the social lunch and will instead enjoy a seafood lunch at Kiritappu in our group.

    Although the scale of the wetlands in Kiritappu is not as significant as those in Kushiro, its narrow river channels are fantastic for canoeing. We will float peacefully through the wetland and experience the ecosystem up close.

    Tonight we either overnight at a lodge in Hamanka or at a hotel in Kushiro depending on the room requirements of the group.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    – Lodge in Hamanaka
    – Canoeing (2 hours)

  8. Day 8 Transfer to Kushiro & farewells

    We say goodbye to our host and then drive 1.5 hours to Kushiro City to complete the tour. We can drop you off at either Kushiro JR Station at around 11:00 am or Kushiro Airport at 11:30 am.

    Included meals
    – Breakfast
    No Activity

Travel to the Meeting Point

We will meet at either Kushiro Station or Kushiro Airport (KUH) between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm on the first day. The airport shuttle bus for downtown Kushiro is scheduled to connect with all incoming flights, departing within 10 to 25 mins after arrival. The cost is 950 yen per person, and it takes 45 mins to Kushiro Station. If you wish to stay in Kushiro the night before, we are more than happy to assist you with booking your pre-tour accommodation.

If you are flying into Kushiro Airport (KUH) from Tokyo on the first day, please make sure you reserve an early morning flight that arrives at KUH before 12:30 pm, which allows us to pick you up from the airport on the day.

An alternative to flying is to travel by  train (Japan Railway, abbr. JR), which travels 6 times a day between Sapporo and Kushiro. The best connecting train to join this tour is the one which departs Sapporo at 8:51 am and arrives at Kushiro at 1:20 pm. The cost is 9,990 yen for a reserved seat.  Upon booking, please let us know your travel plans to Kushiro, and we will confirm in detail where and what time we will meet on the first day.

You can search train timetable in English on Japan Transit Planner website.

Japan’s Far East Wildlife & Adventure Tour Accommodation

DAY 1 Hotel in Tsurui Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 2 Lodge in Lake Kussharo Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 3 Hotel in Utoro Shiretoko Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 4 Lodge in Rausu Shiretoko Ensuite NA
DAY 5 Lodge in Rausu Shiretoko Ensuite NA
DAY 6 Ryokan in Yoroushi Onsen Ensuite Onsen spa
DAY 7 Lodge in Hamanaka Shared bathroom Spa

What to Bring on your Japan’s Far East Wildlife & Adventure Tour


  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Adequate footwear for hiking
  • Footwear that you don’t mind getting wet for canoeing
  • Fleece or down jacket (even in the summer the temperature can drop below 10˚C/50˚F)
  • Thermal layers top & bottom
  • Base layers top & bottom
  • Gloves, beanie, and items to keep you warm
  • Sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
  • Water bottle or hydration system of more than 1L
  • Quick-dry hand towel
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medications
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Backpack with enough capacity to carry all of the above
  • Enough face masks for the number of travel days (available to purchase locally)
  • Eco-friendly shopping bag and any other item to reduce single-use plastic waste
  • Travel insurance
  • Passport
  • Cash in Japanese yen. Small restaurants and shops in rural parts of Japan do not accept credit cards. Lunch in general costs 1,000-1,500 yen and dinner 2,000-3,000 yen. You can withdraw cash from an ATM at a post office and 7-eleven convenience stores.


  • Walking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Dry bag
  • Motion sickness pills for the boat ride (available to purchase locally)
  • Cellphone power bank
  • Travel SIM
  • Familiar snacks to eat during activities
  • Camera

We supply

  • First aid kit
  • Safety equipment

Please note that you will be asked to show your passport when checking in accomodation in Japan. It is a requirement for accommodation providers to take a photocopy of the passport of international visitors.

What to bring on your Hokkaido Hiking tour graphic

Dates Trip Status Twin Price (PP) Single Price (PP)  
May 28, 2023 - June 4, 2023
Twin Price (PP): ¥388,000
Single Price (PP): ¥415,000
July 2, 2023 - July 9, 2023
Twin Price (PP): ¥388,000
Single Price (PP): ¥415,000
July 31, 2023 - August 7, 2023
Twin Price (PP): ¥388,000
Single Price (PP): ¥415,000
September 3, 2023 - September 10, 2023
Twin Price (PP): ¥388,000
Single Price (PP): ¥415,000
September 24, 2023 - October 1, 2023
Twin Price (PP): ¥388,000
Single Price (PP): ¥415,000