Did you know that Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, occupies about a quarter of the country's total surface area by itself?
With such a vast area to explore, visitors can certainly expect to encounter a number of attractive natural sights here that can't be found in Honshu, the main island of Japan. This is especially true in summer when nature is in full swing!
Some must-visit scenic spots in Hokkaido that fall into this category are the sea and mountains of Shiretoko, the clear and beautiful Lake Shikotsu, the breathtaking lavender fields of Furano, as well as the award-winning Tokachi Millennium Forest, just to name a few.
What are some of the more unique features of these places that make them worth making a summer trip down for? You're about to find out!

1. Shiretoko from the sea: Splendid nature from a unique point of view

(Image: PIXTA)

Let's begin our journey from the sea of Shiretoko. The peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 due to its unique ecosystem is a result of having flora and fauna from the area's land, rivers, and sea closely interlinked with one another.
Shiretoko Peninsula is located on the eastern edge of Hokkaido. It is home to many rare plants and animals – some of which are endangered – and the natural landscape here changes appearances during each of the four seasons.
The abundance of wildlife available for observation here throughout the year has continued to captivate the attention of many nature-lovers from around the world.
Getting to Shiretoko
The fastest way to get to Shiretoko is via airplane. Memanbetsu Airport is the airport nearest to Shiretoko. A flight there from Shin-Chitose would take about 45 minutes. After that, it's a two-hour drive from Memanbetsu Airport to Utoro, the harbor town of Shiretoko.
If you intend to travel by train, the nearest station to the peninsula is Shiretokoshari Station on the JR Lines, where you can then drive or transfer to a bus that will take you to Utoro. The journey should take about one hour.

(Image: PIXTA)

Scenic spots abound in Shiretoko all year round, but if you'll be visiting during summer, the one activity you absolutely must try is the cruise ship tour that will take you around the peninsula on water.
Where else can you feel the breeze on your face as you take in the sights from the sea? From aboard the ship, you'll be able to see sheer cliffs and waterfalls that aren't visible from inland.
On good days, there may even be a bear or two frolicking around along the…

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