Day 1 - from Memanbetsu airport to Rausu

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We drove along the coastal road towards the Shiretoko Peninsula and the Shirotoko National Park on the northeastern side of Hokkaido, stopping at the Oshinkoshin Falls for a break.

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Driving from the west coast of the Shiretoko Penisula to the east coast took us over the spectacular Shiretoko Pass. We had to stop the car for a deer waiting at the side of the road. Once she had decided to cross the road, her youngster followed. And just a few yards along, we saw a dark brown bear near the roadside. For much of our travels in this part of Hokkaido, we saw warning signs to look out for deer and bears on the road. We saw a few more deer, but this was the only bear we saw on the whole trip.

The Shiretoko Pass took us up into the clouds to where snow was still visible on the mountain tops. The road was very windy with few stopping places, so we could only stop once in the clouds to take some photos.

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We stayed at the Rausu Daiichi Hotel, which is a classical Japanese hotel with its own onsen. So began the pattern of this trip: we would leave our hotel at 9 am, arrive at next hotel late afternoon, relax in the onsen, have dinner, retire to our rooms, sleep. Some of us even got up before breakfast for another dip in the onsen, but that wasn’t me!

Our dinner here was superb, with many different dishes washed down with some beer or sake.

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Given the location, fish and shell fish featured heavily in the menu, along with some foods we really could not identify.

© Helen Gray 2020