In the far northeast of Hokkaido, Japan’s most northerly island, lies a rugged finger of land jutting 40 miles (65 km) into the Sea of Okhotsk.
Surprisingly, this peninsula, which is on about the same latitude as the state of Oregon or the French Riviera, freezes over in winter, and the snow remains in its shaded valleys until summer.
A string of volcanoes – one of which, Iouyama, remains active – runs across this wild landscape, where bears live in ancient woodlands, eagles scour clear skies, and sea lions bark on lonely shores. Shiretoko (“the end of the earth”) is Japan’s last wilderness.
Shiretoko Peninsula is located on the easternmost portion of the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, protruding into the Sea of Okhotsk. It is separated from Kunashir Island, which is now occupied by Russia, by the Nemuro Strait.
The name Shiretoko is derived from the Ainu word sir etok, meaning “the end of the Earth” or “the place where the Earth protrudes”. The towns of Rausu and Shari are found on the peninsula.
The Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, in recognition of the peninsula being the southernmost point where sea ice usually forms in the Northern Hemisphere. Wikipedia