FAQ

  • ■ About the Shiretoko Goko Lakes
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    What kind of facilities are at Shiretoko Goko Lakes?

    We have created (2) walking access routes to ensure your safety and maximize the viewing experience.
    There are two buildings, the Field House of the Shiretoko Goko Lakes is located at the entrance of the Ground Pathways. Visitors can do procedures and take a lecture. The park service center has a rest space and sells souvenirs and snacks. Parking for 100 cars are available (charges apply).

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    When is the opening period for the Shiretoko Goko Lakes?

    The opening season is in accordance with the opening period of the Hokkaido prefectural road of the Shiretoko park line.
    The road opening is from mid-April to mid-November.

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    Is a rest area available that offers snacks or food?

    Snacks are sold at the Park Service Center. Visitors are allowed to eat their own food at the center.

    It is prohibited to bring food along the pathways unless it is completely sealed. Even candy and gum odors can attract bears. Be careful not to drop sealed food on the pathways.
    Visitors are allowed to drink water or tea, but please refrain from bringing drinks with sugar.

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    What is the possibility of encountering brown bears during walks/tours?

    The Shiretoko Goko Lakes region is the natural habitat for brown bears. Therefore, there is always a possibility to encounter bears. Visitors must be aware and vigilante to not unduly attract bears attention.

    From Spring to Summer, brown bears appear frequently around the lakes. Visitors are allowed to walk the Ground Pathways by joining Guided tours led by registered guides knowledgable about bears in their habitat.
    Use the Elevated Wooden Path if you are overly concerned about bears.

    Dealing with bears »
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    Correspondence for foreign visitors

    Information procedures and updates are written in several foreign languages and is available at the center. Several "English" speaking staff members are available at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House.
    Please contact individual guide agencies regarding "foreign" language tours especially during bear active season.
    The Shiretoko Goko Lakes portal site offers information in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. The reservation sites are also written in all (4) languages.

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    Are pets allowed?

    Unfortunately, for safety reasons, pets are not allowed on the pathways. There is a possibility of encountering bears at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes. Pets might "excite" bears along the Ground Pathways. Violations are punishible under the law.
    Pets are also not allowed on the Elevated Wooden Path as they may excite local wildlife.
    ※Assisted care dogs are NOT PROHIBITED by law but we strongly recommend that they are not used for the aforementioned reason.

  • ■ Elevated Wooden Path
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    Elevated Wooden Path Route

    It is 2-5 m. high and 800 m. long and is freely accessible throughout the season. (no charge) Safe, due to the installation of an electric fence. Wheelchair-friendly because it is barrier free. It can be used safely throughout the season and extends to the 1st lake (no charge).
    ※ The Elevated Wooden Path only leads to the 1st lake. The Ground Pathway is only connected to the Elevated Wooden Path at the Lakeside Observatory through a uni-directional gate.

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    What views are available from the Elevated Wooden Path?

    Panoramic views of the Shiretoko Mountain Range, The Sea of Okhotsk and the 1st Lake, are easily visible from the Renzan, Okokku and Lakeside ovservatories along the Elevated Wooden Path.

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    Course Guide

    Distance to the Lakeside Observatory is approx. 800 m. And takes about (20) minutes one-way.
    A round trip to Renzan Observatory takes about (15) minutes and Okokku Observatory about (30) minutes.

  • ■ Ground Pathways
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    Ground Pathways' Routes

    The Ground Pathways traverse the (5) lakes through the primeval forest. Visitation Guidelines, Rules, and Fees apply during the Eco Preservation Awareness Season, Bears Active Season and Free Activity Seasons. During this period, un-escorted tours are allowed once the (10) minute lecture is completed at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House (fees apply). Should bears appear, the Ground Pathways will be closed for safety.

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    What can visitors see along the Ground Pathways?

    During the open season, visitors can see all (5) lakes. In addition to the lakes, local seasonal plants and a dramatic view of the Shiretoko Mountain Range are visible. (Mountain views may not be available due to weather conditions on some days)

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    Course Guide

    Visitors can stroll at their own pace during the Eco Preservation Awareness Season and Free Activity Season. The Long Loop tour takes about (3) hours and the Short Loop about (1.5) hours.
    Registered guides introduce and comment about views and relevant information along the way. The Long Loop tour takes about (3) hours and the Short Loop about (1.5) hours.

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    About the Lecture

    Duration: (10) min. After which admission to the Ground Pathways is allowed.
    While visiting the Shiretoko Goko Lakes, risks may occur along the Ground Pathways especially, possible bear encounters. The tour will begin immediately after the lecture. Therefore, guests should be prepared to depart at that time. Buy water or use the restroom prior to the lecture.
    You are required to attend the lecture prior to every tour along the Ground Pathways as conditions and bear activity is constantly changing. The entrance certification is valid for one full day. However, the lecture must be taken again due to changing information and conditions.

  • ■ Eco Preservation Awareness Season (Opening to May 9th & August 1st to October 20th)
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    What is the Eco Preservation Awarensss Season?

    Un-escorted tours are allowed from Opening - May 9th and August 1st - October 20th. (fees & entrance procedures apply)

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    What procedure is required?

    Purchase a ticket, complete and submit an application at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House. Once completed and approved a "Certification" for admission will be provided. Then you must attend the lecture. The application can be completed at the Field House or downloaded from the Shiretoko Goko Lakes portal site.

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    Do visitors require a reservation?

    Visitors must attend the lecture before touring along the Ground Pathways. It is possible to make a reservation for the lecture. However, a limited number of people can attend without reservations.
    The maximum lecture attendance is (50) persons. (40 reserved & 10 non-reserved) Even during the busy season the "lecture" wait times are between 10 - 20 minutes. Reservations can be made at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Portal Site. Phone reservations are not accepted. Reservations Page »

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    Is it possible to change or cancel a reservation?

    Yes. As a courtesy to others visitors should please make cancellations at least (48) hours prior to your planned visit. Reservations can be updated/changed at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Portal Site. Please contact the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House (TEL: 0152-24-3323) if you have any questions.

  • ■ About the Bears Active Season (May 10th to July 31st)
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    When is the Bears Active Season?

    The Bears Active Season is from May 10th - July 31st. Visitors can tour the Ground Pathways with registered tour guides during this period.

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    What is a registered guide?

    Registered guides are well trained specialists knowledgable on how to avoid and handle encounters with bears. Guides are equipped with radiophones which update bear activity for safety.

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    What procedures do visitors need to follow?

    Visitors are only allowed to join the tour with Shiretoko Goko Lakes' Registered Guides who are trained to deal with bears. Please contact the guides directly to make a reservation.
    Reservation can be made at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Portal Site or contact the registered guides directly using the list.
    Day tickets are available for purchase at the information counter TEL: 080-8293-0343 from 7:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. daily.The Registered Guides List »

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    Is there a tour maximum?

    Yes, the maximum group size for tours is (10) participants. Individuals and groups are welcome. Tours will proceed even with (1) participant but we suggest confirming with the tour operator in the event of changes (i.e. weather etc.) Group reservations could be declined during the peak season.

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    Is it possible to cancel or change a reservation?

    Yes. Please contact the guide company directly.

  • ■ About the Free Activity Season (October 21st to Closing)
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    What is the Free Activity Season?

    Visitors are welcome to tour freely without completing the usual procedures from October 21st to Closing (no charge).

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    What is the procedure visitors need to follow?

    Visitors are welcome to tour freely without completing the usual procedures from October 21st to Closing (no charge). Please get the latest pathway and bear activity updates from the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House prior to your walk. Please contact a staff member if you would like to take a lecture.

  • ■ About Brown Bears
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    What should a visitor do if encountering a bear?

    Please move away from the bear quietly, calmly and slowly. Brown bears are usually not aggressive and should not attack immediately. Be aware that brown bears have a habit of chasing people that are running. It is important to move away from the bear slowly as it is just as surprised as you. If you are with a group, inform all members and return back to the entrance calmly and quietly along the Ground Pathways.
    If you see a brown bear, please inform the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House staff.

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    Sould visitors carry a bear bell or whistle?

    When you attend the lecture at the Shiretoko Goko Lakes Field House, we will instruct how to walk as not to attract bears and to make loud voices or clap hands in an emergency encounter.

Shiretoko Goko Lakes Visitor Rule Guidelines

  1. Do not feed the animals in the wild
  2. Do not litter
  3. Do not cook or eat
  4. No Smoking
  5. Keep to prescribed pathways and preserve the marshland and vegetation
  6. Do not bring any plants or animals

Do Not Feed The Animals

Do not feed brown bear and wildlife.
It is our promise to visit Shiretoko.