Updated: Oct 27
I took a required lecture at the Shiretoko Field House, so I started walking right away.
Ichiko of Shiretoko Gohu (1st lake)
There are 3 walking routes, and you can't change the path once you start walking.
Shortest 1.6km: Only Ichiko (1st lake) can be seen. Travel back and forth on a safe elevated wooden path. Wheelchair accessible.
Small loop 1.6km: You can see Ichiko (1st lake) and Niko (2nd lake). The first half is a mountain road. In the second half, walk on the elevated wooden path.
Large loop 3km: Course to see all five lakes. The first 2km is a mountain road, and the chances of encountering bears are the highest among 3 routes.
In conclusion, I think it was good to choose a small loop of 1.6km. Most people head for the large loop, so there is no one on the small loop mountain path. At the observation area of Niko (2nd lake), I rejoined the people who went to the big loop.
To be honest, Niko (2nd lake) is almost invisible from the walking path. There are no signs of birds, perhaps because of the season. I didn't even see common animals such as Ezo squirrels and red foxes.
Even when I search for images on the internet of these lakes, almost all the pictures that appear are of Ichiko (1st lake). My guess is that the other 3, 4, 5 lakes don't have much of a view.
I said that it's not worth seeing other than Ichiko (1st lake), but I'm not anti Shiretoko lakes. The area around Lake Ichiko is like nothing I've ever seen, and it's worth coming just for this lake alone.
The view from the elevated wooden path that stretches for about 1km is unparalleled. The contrast between the sea, the lake, the mountains, and the sky is amazing!
Lake Ichiko is wide, but the water depth is surprisingly shallow at 3m. I expected to see a lot of waterbirds, but I only saw a few herons.
The colorful scenery in early autumn is wonderful. I've seen pictures of this place in early winter when snow started to pile up on the mountains, and they looked spectacular too. The snowy mountains are reflected in the lake, creating a magical atmosphere.
There are people who go back and forth only on this elevated wooden path, so the path is divided in the middle to make it a left side walk. It is wide and it does not feel crowded at all.
Well, officials built such a long aerial passage. I'm very impressed. Considering that it is a World Heritage Site, it is good that it is made of wood instead of metal.
I was warned about bears at the field house so much that just finding large brown rocks made me freak out. Even if a bear appears, it is safe because it is an elevated boardwalk. An electric fence is attached to the bottom of the path to prevent bears from entering the elevated boardwalk.
The back of the photo is the entrance of the wooden path. I walked around the small loop slowly and it took me about an hour in total. When you exit from the wooden path, you will come back to the parking lot.
In a short amount of time, we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Next, we will go to the Kunashiri Island side of the Shiretoko Peninsula.
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